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Air Freight Carriers Help Santa Keep North Dakota Merry At Christmas
December 18, 2006

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A lot of Christmas presents would never reach their destinations in North Dakota on time if it weren't for the state's aviation industry and the air freight carriers serving eight commercial airports from Fargo to Williston.

And that goes for other items such as mail, medical records, legal documents, farm machinery parts and oil field supplies, in addition to holiday packages.

Much of the world is under the misconception that North Dakota is as isolated as a polar bear in the Arctic Circle. That fallacy is disproved daily by the efficiency and effectiveness of the state's air freight companies a vital part of the role of aviation in North Dakota's economic success.

United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express (FEDEX) and DHL Express, along with other smaller delivery firms, serve the state's eight major airports in Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Bismarck, Minot, Dickinson and Williston. Mail order and Internet purchases, along with U.S. mail, are flown by air freight daily to these North Dakota terminals.

December is a particularly busy month for the air cargo companies, according to Gary. R. Ness, director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

"That's when the volume of consumer retail and online purchases increases dramatically," Ness says. "The air freight carriers have to add extra personnel and aircraft to maintain their standard of reliable overnight delivery."

Brent Weisgram, District Field Services Manager of Operations for DHL Express in Fargo, says his company sees increases up to 30 percent in the volume of packages during the week before Christmas.

"We still have the usual volume from our contract customers as well as the additional holiday traffic," he says, "so we add extra workers on demand, as needed. Most of our seasonal help is used for sorting items in our docks are warehouses. We also have a number of on-call drivers ready to go at any time."

Weisgram says the future of the air freight industry is in box parcels rather than letter traffic. "Air freight will handle the packages and the Postal Service will take care of letters and other mail items," he predicts.

Gary Ness credits air freight as a significant economic contributor to North Dakota's economy.

"The direct impact is $10.1 million annually," he says, "with a direct employment of 280 people across the state. The revenue generated by the air freight industry spreads through local economies around North Dakota, creating additional employment, consumer spending and tax revenue, along with an improved lifestyle for our citizens."


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