UPS considering expansion at Columbia Metro - - Columbia, South Carolina |

UPS considering expansion at Columbia Metro

(Columbia) Feb. 18, 2003 - All the talk of UPS expansion is still very preliminary, but airport officials say getting in early is crucial to get big projects. No one is bigger than United Parcel Service at Columbia Metropolitan Airport with 400 workers and a million dollars in airport fees. Now, UPS is starting to eye Columbia for even more.

Many airlines are struggling to keep afloat, but UPS is holding its own. Columbia is one of five US hubs on the east coast for the company. International flights all go to Louisville. UPS says it is possible some overseas flights could start coming to Columbia.

A UPS spokesman told WIS News 10 on Monday international expansion is a long term option, but it is still in a very early exploratory phase. Airport officials say it would take at least five years just to prepare for such a move.

Nearby residents aren't waiting to react. Tom Freeman considers an issue they have now, "You can hear the big roar and the house shakes."

TJ Freeman, 8-years-old, lives less than a mile from the airport, "All I hear is kinda a little bit of planes going 'brooombroom.'"

Plane noise is an issue, but the Freeman family disagrees over just how much. Mom Jennifer says, "I don't hear them much at all."

Tom, "It is very amazing. All hours of the night, especially with the bigger planes."

Big planes are exactly what UPS flies, and there would be more if expansion becomes reality, which would also bring more possible jobs and more business. Tom may not like the noise, but he does like the idea of a boost to the economy, "This place desperately needs jobs, and it needs to bring people up."

The airport has a long to-do list before UPS could bring in international flights. There would have to be at least one runway expansion to the tune of $50 million or more. Columbia Metro would also need to first get FAA status as an international airport to get international flights.

By Lisa Goddard
updated 7:35am by Chris Rees

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