FARGO — "This is a big Day for UPS, a huge day," UPS Northern Plains District President Stephanie Dexter said.
When she says huge, she means 87,000 pounds, twice a day huge.
Starting Nov. 5, a 757 Jet will make two deliveries to Fargo each day, expanding shipping capabilities for the next three years at least. But getting there wasn't a quick process. The airport authority has been working on it for a quarter century.
"The first meeting I had with an airport properties person from UPS was back in March of '92," Fargo Airport Authority director Shawn Dobberstein said. "Constant meetings and discussions we had over many years finally came to this happening today."
Community leaders believe the deal will mean big money for the airport and for retailers.
"To ship materials out of our community is fantastic," Fargo Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney said.
The move makes Fargo a major shipping hub for the area, a role previously designated to Sioux Falls.
"If you order something off of Amazon here tomorrow, it's going to arrive here in cargo and be deployed someplace out into North Dakota, that includes west central and northwestern Minnesota," Dobberstein said.
For customers, it means additional shipping hours and later pickups for packages shipped from Fargo.
It also created 70 new jobs, from part-time handlers to full-time administration positions.
But, according to the airport authority, this big day may just be the beginning. Expansion is already on the mind.
"The goal is to move to a large sort facility with big hangars soon," Dobberstein said.
The inaugural UPS jet flight was piloted Monday night by Grand Forks native Captain Mark Antonenko. The current lease lasts three years.