FedEx Express will begin operating daily cargo flights out of San Bernardino International Airport in October, under terms of a new 10-year agreement.
FedEx Corp. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.
The news comes less than a month after the express transportation giant extended its lease at Ontario International Airport another three decades and pledged to make $100 million in improvements there.
San Bernardino Councilwoman Virginia Marquez, whose ward includes the airport, called the partnership “a game changer for the city of San Bernardino and the surrounding region.”
“We’re turning the corner,” she said by phone last week. “We’re on our way to becoming a world-class city. We’ll be seeing a lot of traffic at the airport, which is a dream come true for me. … We’re beginning to see the seeds of what we’d planted some time ago come to fruition.”
Earlier this year, FedEx officials contacted the San Bernardino Airport Authority about expanding their Inland operations, said Mark Gibbs, the airport’s aviation director.
The company will occupy a 57,000-square-foot facility at the airport and could operate four to five flights a week.
FedEx officials declined to comment on the agreement, referring instead to a press release that said, in part, the partnership “will enhance the company’s air cargo network in the region.”
FedEx will hire about 60 employees to assist with daily operations, Gibbs said.
“The region has been growing a lot, particularly in the logistics sector of the economy,” Gibbs added. “[FedEx] has had a presence at Ontario for at least two decades, so it’s natural for them to expand their footprint.”
John Husing, an Inland Empire economist, called the agreement between FedEx and San Bernardino International “a burst to the economy.”
“That whole field of logistics,” he said, “whether it’s airports or trucking or warehousing, it’s our competitive advantage, the thing we have that got us out of the recession. And it’s continuing to create jobs for us.”
San Bernardino International Airport was converted from the former Norton Air Force Base in 1992 and later became certified as a commercial airport by the Federal Aviation Administration.
In March, UPS Inc. started operating five cargo flights a week out of San Bernardino International; the company previously used the airport to transport holiday shipments to its Louisville, Ky., hub.
UPS ranks No. 1 on the for-hire TT100.
In recent years, the airport has added more than 60 acres of concrete ramp, a new 5,000-square-foot cross-dock building with 1.6 acres of secured landside ramp, nearly 100 acres of developable land and specialized cargo equipment.
“We try to make smart investments at the airport,” Gibbs said, “and that has taken commitment from people for many years here. We really do have world-class infrastructure at the airport that we’re quite proud of, and the growing cargo presence at the airport is a testament of that.”