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Airport on verge of world stature New runway could make it cargo hub By James Pilcher The Cincinnati Enquirer Two thousand feet of runway may not sound like a lot, but to officials for the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, it could mean the world. A federal transportation official says the addition could help the airport become a major international air-cargo hub. "We want to put Cincinnati on the map on the international air-cargo scene," said Martin T. Whitmer Jr., deputy chief of staff for U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. The expansion "will allow airlines and air-cargo companies to fly large, wide-body aircraft fully loaded with cargo pretty much anywhere in the world." The airport is in the midst of a $252.6 million runway project that includes a 2,000-foot extension to the western end of the east-west runway. The longer runway is scheduled to be operational by the end of this year, and officials say it will allow large jets to reach Eastern Europe and Asia. The longer east-west runway comes at a key time for the airport, which is trying to hold onto one of its main tenants. DHL operates an air-cargo hub locally, but the Brussels-based shipping giant last year purchased the land assets of Airborne Express. That includes the hub and airport in Wilmington, Ohio, about 50 miles northeast of Cincinnati. DHL officials have said they are planning to consolidate the hubs at one location, but have not yet made a decision on which. DHL employs more than 1,800 locally. About 6,500 work at the Wilmington facility, which handles more than five times more volume than the new $220 million Cincinnati DHL hub. Read full article here: http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050219/BIZ01/502190344/-1/