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Eastern Iowa Airport expands cargo operations to serve booming needs of e-commerce

Wednesday morning airport and public officials broke ground on a new cargo apron to serve UPS, FedEx, and DHL cargo planes. (CBS2/FOX28)

The Eastern Iowa Airport is expanding their cargo operations to meet the needs of the exploding e-commerce industry.

Wednesday they broke ground on a field west of the terminal to make way for a new cargo apron. The parking and unloading area for FedEx, UPS, and DHL cargo planes will be three football fields long and one and a half football fields deep. It will be able to accommodate three planes wingtip-to-wingtip, more than doubling the current cargo capacity. The 10 million dollar project will be funded in large part by an 8.8 million dollar federal grant they received this year.

By the end of the year, they’ll handle 50 percent of the entire state’s air cargo, and are expected to exceed that by the completion of the project in Spring of 2020.

By moving the cargo operations away from the commercial flight area, they’ll have more room for passenger flights as well. CID broke monthly passenger records for seven straight months this year.

The terminal is also expanding. Right now they’re in the third phase of a four-phase indoor expansion that will add 51,000 square feet, two new jetways, a full restaurant and bar, and double the security capacity.

Airport director Marty Lenss said the roughly 50 million dollars worth of construction they’re undergoing is “phenomenal” for the economy.

“Any given day, there’s a hundred people at the airport working in a variety of trades, from electrical, plumbing, roofing, to carpentry,” said Lenss. “All of that project work to date has been awarded to Eastern Iowa companies.”

The rapid growth of passenger numbers has delayed the terminal expansion a bit, but is still expected to be complete within the next couple of years.

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