Business Increasing At Rickenbacker - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Business Increasing At Rickenbacker

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Franklin County took over Rickenbacker International Airport in 1992. So after more than 20 years, how's it going? Right now, pretty well.

Developers hope to have up to three announcements this year, and hope to restore leisure flights at the airport, which include vacation trips that are generally cheaper.

Experts say that activity at Rickenbacker is a good indication of the state of the economy. Recently, that activity has increased a lot.

"The amount of truck traffic and number of lifts that are going on down there are all on the increase," said David Schimmer, Franklin County's economic development director.

Twenty years of planning, 10 years of prepping, and the last few years of pining for more business is paying off.

Utility lines and roads are in, and bridges, ramps and entrances are complete or close to being finished.

Richenbacker is currently responsible for about 16,000 jobs in Central Ohio, and it's expected that will double in the next 10 years.

On the military side, the KC 135 is being retired, but Richenbacker is one of five bases in the nation under consideration for its replacement plane.

"It's probably one of the largest multimodal complexes in the world," said David Whitaker, vice president of business development with Port Columbus.

Developers said a major announcement will be made in the next four to five months with two to three large events unveiled within the year.

"The number of industrial inquiries we've had in the logistics area has grown exponentially in the last six months, and I always think those always lead to a land deal or lease as a logistics facility," said Schimmer.

"I'll be heading to Asia the first two weeks in April with a colleague in air cargo and we're going to be talking to the industry over there," said Whitaker.

"The reality of it is that you don't have rail transportation and road and air transportation coming together in one place like you do at Rickenbacker. Twin 12,000-foot runways not found any place in the United States," said Schimmer.

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