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UPS to start new service from Fargo direct to main hub

FARGO — UPS will start directing flights from Hector International Airport to its main hub Nov. 5 and add 70 jobs here, the company said Thursday, July 26.

For customers, this will mean an extra three hours for drop-off and pick-up because new Boeing 757 jet aircraft will depart Fargo later in the evening, the cargo carrier said.

The new jobs include a mix of part-time and full-time jobs with hiring start in mid-September.

Currently, the carrier routes its traffic through a regional hub in Sioux Falls, S.D., according to Airport Executive Director Shawn Dobberstein. Having direct service in Fargo effectively makes the city a regional hub in its own right.

Dobberstein said, for him, "it doesn't get any better than this." North Dakota is one of a handful of states without UPS jet service, he said.

UPS doesn't now have any of its own aircraft in Fargo. It contracts with other carriers to link Fargo and smaller surrounding communities to Sioux Falls, according to Dobberstein.

The cargo carrier's plan is to start two jet flights a day to its main hub in Louisville, Ky. It also plans to base nine smaller turboprop aircraft in Fargo to link to airports in smaller communities in North Dakota and west central and northwest Minnesota.

Fargo's Airport Authority said UPS' decision was driven by the growing volume and a desire to improve service to the region.

As part of the carrier's change in service it will also lease a 13,000-square-foot hangar in the general aviation area in airport's southeast corner and 2,000 square feet of office and training space in the old terminal building for an initial period of three years, the authority said.

UPS' rival, FedEx, currently operates a similar facility with jet service direct to its Memphis, Tenn., main hub.

UPS's decision was hailed by local officials as a big win for Fargo-Moorhead.

"This will not only have a great economic impact, it will benefit our members and the entire community by raising the level of services available to them," Craig Whitney, president and CEO of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

"As a significant distribution hub, the UPS operation will support existing business and increase our region's ability to attract new business," Joe Raso, president and CEO of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., said in a statement.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney welcomed the new jobs and new service UPS will bring.

Dobberstein said more cargo flights means more revenue for the airport while the carrier rents work space and employee parking and pays for fuel. He said more cargo tonnage also means more federal funding, estimated at $150,000 to $200,000 a year.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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