Covering Kentucky

Apr 21, 2013 5:41 PM

Southern Air Moves HQ To Northern Ky. Airport

FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) - Southern Air has chosen to move its headquarters from Connecticut to the airport in northern Kentucky.

Company officials said that among other things, the area had qualified personnel that could be recruited for jobs, especially with the closures over the past year of Comair and air cargo carrier ASTAR.

The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/Yyi9BZ) reports Southern Air, which currently has 115 employees, has moved into ASTAR's former offices and plans to run its global flight operations from there.

State and local officials welcomed the company during an event last week at which Southern Air officials said the company is headed in the right direction after recently emerging from bankruptcy.

"This is one of the final steps in a three-year transformation of Southern Air," said Dan McHugh, the company's chief executive officer.

The company expects to hire 150 full-time workers over the next few years, including flight operations controllers, planners and dispatchers who will make an average of more than $26 an hour.

"We needed to move to a place where we had access to a much greater number of aviation professionals, and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area is fantastic for that," McHugh said. "The teams are coming together."

The company has operated its cargo carriers out of the northern Kentucky airport since 2011, and it has a contract to operate with DHL Express, which operates its North American hub at the airport.

McHugh said Southern Air wants to strengthen its relationship with DHL.

"The global air freight market is not healthy, except for the DHL business," McHugh said. "International supply chains have really been changed since the economic downturn. Inventories are leaner. As they (DHL) grow, we'll grow."

Since opening its hub at the airport in 2009, DHL has invested $105 million in its facility and hired more than 2,000 workers. Some companies have said DHL's presence is one reason they located in the area.

"The same thing is happening here with DHL," Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said. Southern Air's arrival "is another piece of the mosaic."

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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