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State

Amazon stretches its wings above Rockford

ROCKFORD – Amazon announced plans Monday to expand its Amazon Air operation at the Rockford airport.

“We are excited to extend our Amazon Air operation at Chicago Rockford International Airport,” Sarah Rhoads, director of Amazon Air, said in a news release. “We are expanding the operation in Rockford to ensure we have the capacity to continue to fulfill our promise to our customers.”

Amazon Air currently operates out of more than 20 airports across the U.S. The expanded gateway in Rockford, which is expected to open next year, will allow for increased capacity and package sorting.

“We are thrilled to see this expansion,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said, also in the news release. “This says a lot about the investments we have made as a community coupled with the great leadership from the director and board to ensure that our airport continues to be a driving economic force for our community and region.’’

ABX Air began ferrying cargo through Rockford for Amazon in 2016. Air Transport International, an affiliate of ABX, is also routing freight through Rockford for Amazon, as is Atlas Air, another leader in the air cargo industry.

Cargo operators serving Amazon are routing six flights a day through Rockford, and many of the jets are emblazoned with Amazon’s “Prime Air” logo.

The online retail giant is one of the reasons the airport has set records for cargo business 2 years in a row. Nearly 1.4 billion pounds of cargo traveled through the airport in 2017 – a record that was beaten by nearly 22 percent through the first 10 months of this year.

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