In 2019, Amazon broke ground on the Amazon Air Hub, an 800,000-square-foot facility to support our growing air cargo network. Located at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the centrally located hub is ideally situated to more closely connect us to customers all across the country. Last week, our team officially began operations at the site and welcomed the first of over 2,000 dedicated Amazonians who will bring this $1.5 billion investment in the Northern Kentucky region to life.
As operations started, we celebrated the arrival of the first of many of our Amazon branded aircraft onto our brand-new ramp. By the end of the year, this facility, which spans over 600 acres, will operate a dozen flights per day and process millions of packages every week.
As a former U.S. Navy F/A-18 E/F pilot, I have had the honor of leading many successful operations, and this one is truly special. From the partners who fly our aircraft, to the employees who plan for and manage aircraft loading and unloading, to the system of robotics technology that transports packages across a facility three football stadiums in size—seeing the Amazon Air Hub come alive is like witnessing an operational symphony.
Ryan Swagler, a ramp area manager for Amazon Air, is one of those people who makes that symphony possible. I caught up with her prior to our first aircraft departure to get her perspective on the day. She told me that watching the first plane take off from the new hub was a huge “high-five” moment for her team. Swagler and her team serve a critical role on the ramp, which is the area where aircraft are loaded and unloaded. They marshal, or signal, the aircraft in, load and unload the planes, and then push the aircraft back in preparation for takeoff. While we are only just getting started, I’m already inspired by what the team is doing to support our customers through this site.
What makes this site so unique:
- The People. The pride of this facility is the more than 2,000 employees who will join us over time. Some will transfer from other Amazon sites and grow their careers at the hub in new roles; others are new to the world of air cargo and are learning the ropes. All have access to industry-leading pay and comprehensive benefits, plus a host of other employee resources, such as Career Choice, which supports employees if they wish to pursue a future outside of the company. Our employees are the heart and soul of this operation, and we look forward to sharing more about the people who support our operations here.
- The Technology. The Amazon Air Hub is unlike any other site in our network, equipped with innovative uses of robotics technology to transport and sort packages. The hub features mobile drive units that move packages quickly across the floor, ergonomic workstations that support a comfortable work environment for employees, and our Robin robotic arms that inject packages onto robotic drives. We also designed this facility from the ground up with sustainability in mind, with a solar rooftop panel installation scheduled to take place over the next year. This will be the only installation of its type in our network that will feed all power generated directly into the electrical grid of the local community.
- The Community. We have enjoyed getting to know the people who live here in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas and want to return the hospitality they’ve shown us by inviting them into our facility in the near future. We are also dedicated to addressing the needs of local children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities, and we will share more details soon about our proposed plans in the community.
- The Operations. This facility serves as the hub of operations for an interconnected network of more than 40 sites where Amazon Air exists. It also helps to facilitate the rapid transport of customer packages throughout the U.S., including this area and the surrounding regions. We are devoted to supporting our customers and are humbly proud that this facility will be a reflection of our operational excellence to best serve our customers’ needs.
I’m so thankful for the entire Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, construction contractors and integrators, state and local advocates, our internal Amazon partners, and the Amazon Air team who have worked so diligently to turn this vision into a reality. We are humbled to have made the impossible, possible, and to see this historic milestone for our air cargo network take flight.