FedEx Express disclosed additional employment and logistical details Wednesday for its major expansion at Piedmont Triad International Airport.
The company said it will ramp up additional production by Sept. 4, at which time it will begin adding up to 400 management, full-and part-time employees that it announced Aug. 16. The goal is hiring the additional employees by year’s end.
If that workforce level is achieved, it would bring total employment at the hub to more than 800 workers.
That would represent about 53 percent of the 1,500 full- and part-time workforce that the company pledged in its 1998 marketing pitch. That pledge secured its eligibility for up to $142.3 million in state incentives — at the time a record for the state.
The remainder of the update addressed flight operations, which have been a sensitive issue for nearby neighborhoods ever since plans for the hub surfaced in the mid-1990s.
FedEx will add a net total of eight flights, nearly doubling its existing capacity. The company will use Boeing 757 aircraft for the flights, along with two small turboprop feeder aircraft that replace two similar aircraft that currently operate earlier in the day.
“With few exceptions, the hub operations will be limited to four nights per week — Monday through Thursday,” the company said.
The new flights will arrive between 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. and depart between 3 and 4 a.m.
The FAA, in approving the hub operations from an environmental perspective, directed that late-night and overnight flights arrive from and depart to the southwest.
PTI officials said Runway 5R/23L will serve as the primary runway, but any runway may be used at the discretion of air-traffic control. Runway 5R/23L is undergoing an accelerated reconstruction.
FedEx said another positive environmental factor is replacing its Boeing 727 fleet with Boeing 757 aircraft, which are rated as significantly quieter.
FedEx spokesman Jim Masilak said Aug. 16 that the company’s job plans are part of its growth and system strategy.
“The Piedmont Triad region has always been a large market for FedEx Express,” Masilak said. “We have significant pickup and delivery operations at the Greensboro hub that will only grow with this expansion.”
The FedEx expansion comes as Piedmont Triad Partnership officials listed the airport as one of four strategic economic megasites. PTI, however, is limited to aviation-related projects that can pass muster with the FAA.
The airport authority said in June that between 900 and 1,200 acres are being prepped for development following an investment of $120 million for airfield infrastructure. That includes the “Bridge to Commerce” that would open access to additional acreage on the west side of the airport property.
Altogether, the authority says developing those acres into commercial real estate could generate another 16,000 jobs and $1.6 billion in economic impact for the Triad.
After FedEx opened its hub at the airport in 2003, the company then opened a 400,000-square-foot, $110 million facility in nearby Kernersville that employs about 750 workers, Baker said.
The FedEx hub expansion comes on the heels of construction and grading at a planned Amazon fulfillment center in Kernersville, the latest step toward what could be a 1-million-square-foot facility.
The center could employ up to 953 full-time and full-time-equivalent workers.
The proposed Amazon site is near the FedEx Ground operations on Old Greensboro Road in Kernersville. It’s within 10 miles of the FedEx sorting hub at the airport.
Although Piedmont Triad Airport Authority says the airport generates more than 18,500 jobs in the region and $1.3 billion in regional income, none of the major employers around the airport — such as Haeco Americas, Honda Aircraft Co. and BB&T Corp — specifically set up shop because of access to the FedEx sorting hub.
“The presence of FedEx Express on the airport, as well as FedEx Ground in Kernersville, is an incredible asset when we are pursuing aerospace and other companies to locate on the airport or in the Triad region,” said Kevin Baker, the airport’s executive director.
“It provides those involved in economic-development efforts another important logistics differentiator for our region (and serves) as an additional tool when pursuing companies like Honda, HAECO, Cessna Aviation and others.”