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Old 10-04-2005, 09:24 AM   #1  
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Default DHL West Coast air hub to open

DHL to Launch Flights

By Darla Martin Tucker, The Business Press, San Bernardino, Calif.

Oct. 3--A major cargo carrier is expected to begin flights out of March Air Reserve Base Oct. 7 and generate 250 new jobs in Ohio.

DHL Express in Plantation, Fla., in November signed a land and facility lease agreement with developers March GlobalPort LLC and the March Joint Powers Authority to fly cargo jets in and out of March Global Port Airport. The joint powers authority is charged with overseeing development of surplus military land at the base and is overseen by a commission of city and county leaders.

DHL is part of the Deutsche Post World Net company in Bonn, Germany. The air base operation will serve as DHL's West Coast facility and is part of the company's $1.2 billion network expansion, said Richard Gibbs, DHL public relations manager.

DHL will begin operations with a 10-member staff. DHL's hub and line-haul vendor, ABX Air Inc. in Wilmington, Ohio, will hire 250 workers, said Robert Mintz, DHL public relations manager. Available positions include truck dispatch coordinator, storekeeper for stocking parts, electrical technician and line maintenance representative, according to the ABX Web site.

DHL will fly seven planes and seven flights a day to start, and anticipates carrying 22,000 packages a day, Mintz said.

GlobalPort constructed a 305,000-square-foot facility for lease to DHL with plans to expand into 380,000 square feet, managing partner Greg Diodati said.

He declined to reveal his firm's lease terms with the cargo company.

DHL will pay the joint powers authority landing and fuel flow fees, but received a temporary break on those fees as part of their agreement to operate at March, said Phil Rizzo, executive director of the authority.

"I think we'll get a lot of development here," as a result of DHL's presence, Rizzo said.

The arrival of DHL "opens up the possibility of many more firms locating there," regional economist John Husing said. Business attraction efforts can now better compete with San Bernardino and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe intermodal train yard, Ontario International Airport and Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, he said.

DHL may face opposition to its arrival. Riverside Councilman Frank Schiavone reportedly sent a letter to DHL and GlobalPort seeking a delay in the carrier's Oct. 7 start date while officials sort out controversy over an inaccurate flight map GlobalPort created last year. Schiavone is a March joint powers commissioner.

The development firm initially created a flight route map showing DHL flight paths traveling mainly over freeways instead of neighborhoods. However, a consultant GlobalPort hired last year pointed out discrepancies on the map. The company created a new map for the project's first public hearing in September 2004, Diodati said. The new map shows cargo jets will fly over surrounding neighborhoods along flight corridors approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

"I've not seen it yet," Diodati said Sept. 29, in reference to Schiavone's letter.

"I don't know why a year later this is coming to the surface. We're not trying to mislead anyone," he said.

The original map was an internal document, he said. "When we hired the consultants we found out the original map was in error."

The map was reportedly displayed during public meetings last year. "We didn't give anything to the press," but the map may have been displayed at a first public meeting prior to the hearing on Sept. 22, 2004, when the corrected map was submitted, Diodati said.

DHL's Gibbs deferred comment on the flight map controversy to GlobalPort.

Community groups sued last year aiming to halt the air cargo project. However Riverside County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cahraman dismissed the case.
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