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Amazon plans expansion at Rockford airport

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Amazon announces plans to expand its gateway operation at Chicago Rockford International Airport, according to a PR company representing Amazon.

A news release sent Monday says Amazon is growing its investment in the community with an expanded gateway for their Amazon Air planes to strengthen its presence in the central region.

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

13 News spoke to Mike Dunn, Executive Director of the Chicago Rockford International Airport. Dunn told 13 News that Amazon has been working out of the airport for the past year and a half under a different name and their own airline, Amazon Prime Air.

Dunn says Amazon has been operating out of a 72,000 square foot building at the airport. Part of the new expansion calls for an an additional 120,000 square feet being added to the building. That expansion costs $11 million, according to Dunn.

The other part of the expansion was to add to the ramp parking area, where airlines keep their planes. When Amazon arrived, they were able to keep 3 of their aircrafts in the space. After a $10 million expansion of the ramp space, which has already been completed, they can now hold up to 8 aircrafts, according to Dunn.

Dunn also says Amazon is operating out of 20 airports across the country and Rockford is in the top 3. Amazon  Prime Air started off with 2-3 flights of cargo per day, and are already up to 7 flights a day, according to Dunn. He believes this expansion will further increase the amount of flights per day.

”We are thrilled to see this expansion,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “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.”

Mike Dunn says the building expansion will be finished in July of 2019.

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Audrey Moon

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