Plan in place to build cargo hub at Lincoln Airport

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Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 9:17 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It’s a search that started with a study of about 5,000 airports across the country. On Thursday, an agreement was reached to make the Lincoln Airport the home of a new air cargo storage facility with a price tag of up to $65 million.

The project marks another multi-million dollar investment in the airport, but this time it’s all private funds and won’t cost the city, state, or airport authority anything.

The Colorado-based company behind the planned hub, Burrell Aviation, will look to add carriers through lease agreements to bring in goods to a total of about 210,000 square foot of space across multiple new buildings.

“That will be used for cargo processing, cargo handling, clearance of customs, and related logistics uses,” said John Carver, the CEO of Burrell Aviation.

Right now, it’s too early to tell who may be using the space once it’s built, but Carver said he’s hoping to make Lincoln a cargo hub as the delivery industry continues to expand.

“The lockdown really accelerated our own reliance on e-commerce and the expectation of just-in-time delivery,” Carver said. “And, so, that is a dynamic that is shifting the cargo patterns of airlines and logistics firms around the country.”

Those involved in the project said it’s expected to bring about 300 jobs to Lincoln and the surrounding area with projected salaries ranging from $60,000 to $80,000 a year.

“The long term, you know, gains and benefits of having them invest in our community, we’re going to see for years to come,” said Rachel Barth with the Lincoln Airport Authority. “That’s really exciting for us, too.”

The agreement tasks Burrell with sub-leasing the space they build as the airport won’t be involved in those deals, leaving it up to the aviation company to get the development off the ground. Burrell said Thursday it hopes to break ground on the massive project sometime between now and the end of March.

Meanwhile, the Lincoln Airport is in the midst of a $55 million expansion of its main terminal, with the first phase expected to be completed sometime this Spring.