With the first phase of Airglades International Airport (AIA) underway, the surrounding communities are flying high as they continue with the next phase. The final application to the Airport Privatization Pilot program was submitted in June, 2019 and all contenders want a piece of the action as Hendry and Glades counties begin looking at what the future will look like.
Miami International Airport (MIA) is near capacity for in-bound perishable goods; AIA is seeking to challenge the status quo. Once the expansion of the current 5,000 ft. runway is complete, the new 11,000 ft. North-South runway will offer a prime destination for both in-bound and out-bound cargo planes. Envision in-bound cargo planes loaded with flowers, seafood, fruits & vegetables from South and Central America arriving into AIA rather than MIA. Outbound flights could be a mixture of non-perishable high value goods such as electronics and auto parts to be shipped to various Latin American Air Cargo hubs.Perishable suppliers will be able to take advantage of a streamlined logistics chain (in & out) with reduced flight times, reduced fuel, shorter tarmac wait times, and less cold storage chain disruptions. AIA has the needed four-lane highways and rail access required to move goods. The strategic plan includes planes off-loading at Airglades and beginning the haul north, using highways with more available capacity than the highways currently being navigated throughout the Miami-Dade area.
With the surrounding rural communities, land is in abundance for future expansion of warehousing operations and distribution centers, which will include the latest in modern logistics, storage and distribution.
Hendry County and neighboring Glades County have ample real estate to build out, but labor shortages in construction remain a critical issue for these communities with higher than average unemployment rates. The good news is, once AIA is ready to open, there will be over 1,000 available jobs and the majority of the positions to be filled will only require short-term training.
Susan Pareigis is president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance. She served 10 years as president and CEO of the Florida Council of 100 following four years as Gov. Jeb Bush’s appointed secretary of the Agency for Workforce Innovation and was president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Collier County and Lee County Office of Economic Development. Visit www.swfleda.com for more information.