Postal service pulls consideration of Reno for air hub |

Postal service pulls consideration of Reno for air hub

Susan Wood

Turning the Reno/Tahoe International Airport into an overnight air delivery hub is no longer up in the air, the Washoe County Airport Authority announced Tuesday. It’s canceled.

Upon its new partnership with competitor Federal Express for overnight mail business, the United States Postal Service has backed away from relocating a facility at the airport as once planned more than a year ago.

The loss represents $600,000 a year in revenues, airport authority spokesman Adam Mayberry said. Still, the monies weren’t included in the airport budget, he added.

The postal service has been using the U.S. Air Force base out of Sacramento as a temporary site, until environmental assessments were made and finalized.

Postal Service spokeswoman Teresa Rudkin said from her Denver office the government agency decided on Reno last August, when it determined a new location for the San Francisco air delivery hub.

Despite the direct and indirect economic windfall to the airport, some Reno residents were unhappy with the choice. They feared the impacts of unwelcomed noise from the nighttime operations.

“This is a blow to the region as a whole because we could market this community and this airport, attracting dot-com companies moving into the area,” Mayberry said.

E-commerce is driving an air cargo boom, and distribution is a primary factor in determining where those companies locate. Air cargo at the Reno airport has increased 7 percent in 2000.

Over the next decade, the Federal Aviation Administration projects a 6.4 percent rise in world air cargo.

“This was strictly a business decision on the part of the USPS. In fact, it is our understanding at this time that the USPS will eventually dismantle all of its air delivery hubs across the United States,” airport authority Executive Director Krys Bart stated.

Rudkin could not confirm this claim.

At some point, Bart anticipates that Fed Ex will pick up the extra load at Reno with quieter aircraft that won’t bother the neighbors.

Come October, other changes on tap at the airport include the following food service companies to move into the airport: McDonald’s, Brew Brothers Cafe, Viva Mexpress, Tahoe Grill and Ritazza Coffees. These new concessionaires operate under the auspices of Compass Group USA, an international organization that serves 71 airports in the United States and Europe. The 10-year contract with these companies was approved by the airport authority’s Board of Trustees last Thursday.

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