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2S www.hpe.com SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2011 THE HIGH POINT ENTERPRISE
www.hpe.com Sunday, July 24, 2011 THE HIGH POInT EnTERPRISE
Soaring to new heights
B R I N G
If you belong to a group that holds conventions somewhere else, help us bring it home! Give us the contact information for the decision maker or meeting planner and you will be entered in drawings for a night on the town! Send your group contact information to Marva Wells, High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau, 300 S. Main St., High Point, NC 27260, or call 336.884.5255 or visit bringithomehighpoint.org. G et involved.
The Bring it Home, High Point! Campaign is conducted by the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau.
THE HIGH POINT ENTERPRISE SuNdAy, July 24, 2011 www.hpe.com
Once a pastoral landing field, PTIA has come a long way By Paul B. Johnson ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
TRIaD â€“ Itâ€™s not often you can point to one moment in time and say that the fate of a facility or area changed in an instant, but April 13, 1998, is such a day for Piedmont Triad International Airport and the region around it. That morning, executives with FedEx Corp. traveled from Memphis, Tenn., to PTIA and announced that FedEx had picked the airport for its latest national cargo hub. As The High Point Enterprise reported in its edition the day after the announcement, â€œPiedmont Triad International Airportâ€™s ship finally came in, via cargo.â€? FedEx picked PTIA after a recruiting battle among five other airports in North and South Carolina. The project for the hub, which opened in the summer of 2009 after a lengthy environmental review by government agencies and years of grading and construction, involved an investment of more than $500 million. The state of North Carolina recruited FedEx with a $115.5 million incentives package, to be paid over a 25-year period, that still ranks among the top 10 incentives packages offered in state history. The hub was announced during one of the longest economic expansions in American history in the 1990s. But it has opened as the Great Recession stymies both the local economy and the devel-
opment of the hub. The projected benefits of the hub havenâ€™t materialized as economic recruiters envisioned 13 years ago, but FedEx kept its pledge to open the hub by the middle of 2009 despite trying economic times. As the overall national and regional economy recovers, so should the FedEx hub expand its operations as workers there sort more packages in better times, said Mike McCully, associate professor of economics at High Point University. FedEx recently projected that the company expects its demand to improve during the second half of this year, McCully said. But having the hub in the Triad will position the region for growth as some type of recovery takes hold, he said. â€œThey are a very strong company, constantly investing for the future,â€? McCully said. The recruitment of FedEx and expansion of PTIA to accommodate the hub adds to the heritage of an airport that got its start in the early 20th century as a landing field in a pasture. What has become PTIA dates from 1927 when Lindley Field was opened on property that at the time was eight miles west of the Greensboro city limit. From its inception, though, the airport sported a regional tie, as it was referred to as Tri-City Airport because of its proximity among High Point, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. One step that airport leaders took in the 1950s
The runways of PTIA are shown in this April 1998 file photograph. cleared the way for future growth of PTIA. The Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, the airportâ€™s governing board, purchased more than 900 acres of land around the airport to secure space for growth. The airport continued to grow over the decades, reflecting population increases and business growth in the Triad. Another key point in the airportâ€™s history happened about 30 years ago. In 1982, the new passenger terminal opened at PTIA, and the airportâ€™s main runway was extended to 10,000 feet in length to handle larger jets. At the time, PTIAâ€™s main runway was the longest in the state, according to the airportâ€™s historical records. In 1983, Marriott International Inc. opened a $16 million, 300-room hotel
HPE | FILE