FedEx


  • January 1998: News surfaces that Federal Express is studying Piedmont Triad International Airport and five others as potential sites for a shipping hub to serve the East Coast. The other sites are Raleigh-Durham International Airport; Charlotte/Douglas International Airport; Global Transpark in Kinston; Metro Airport in Columbia, S.C.; and the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport in Greenville, S.C.
  • April 1998: In a draft proposal, North Carolina pledges up to $135 million in incentives to land the proposed FedEx hub. Some observers question whether it will be enough to outbid South Carolina. Residents of some neighborhoods meet with Ted Johnson, the Piedmont Triad International Airport Authority's executive director, saying they are concerned how the proposed hub could affect them.
  • April 13, 1998: FedEx picks PTI for a $300 million air-cargo hub. The company says it will initially employ 750 people, including 225 full-time earning average salaries of $34,000 a year, and build to 1,500 jobs over time. Most will be part-time jobs paying $8 to $10 an hour. PTI says it will seek more than $130 million in airport improvements, including a new runway that runs parallel to the existing main northeast-southwest runway, to support the FedEx project.
  • June 16, 1998: Greensboro City Council endorses FedEx project and offers $218,000 in economic incentives for sewer costs.
  • July 1998: Gov. Jim Hunt signs into law a multimillion-dollar incentives package designed to lure businesses to North Carolina, including millions of dollars in tax breaks for FedEx. The state says it will offer FedEx $115 million in tax credits and exemptions or $79.8 million over 20 years, depending on how the package is calculated.
  • August 1998: High Point City Council endorses the FedEx hub by an 8-1 vote. The city is expected to bear the brunt of FedEx noise, because 95 percent of the flights are scheduled to take off and land in its direction.
  • April 1999: Two companies, MWG-Biotech Inc. and Medi Manufacturing, say the FedEx hub played a role in their decision to locate in the Triad. MWG-Biotech opened a $2.5 million DNA sequencing and research lab in High Point's Piedmont Centre business park. Medi announced it would consolidate operations with its distribution arm and locate in the Rock Creek corporate park in eastern Guilford County.
  • June 18, 1999: For the second time, FedEx delays the proposed opening date for its hub. It was originally targeted for completion in 2003. It was later changed to 2004 and now stands at 2005.
  • January 2000: High Point residents become more involved in the fight against FedEx. In the next few months, they begin canvassing neighborhoods and publicly protesting, hoping to sway people against the hub.
  • Feb. 1, 2000: High Point residents confront the City Council, asking it to withdraw its support for FedEx. Some residents say they will move out of the city if FedEx opens its hub.
  • Feb. 15, 2000: The airport authority votes to buy three tracts of land surrounding the airport, including a $10 million property that could become part of a runway for the proposed hub.
  • April 6, 2000: The Federal Aviation Administration's first draft of an environmental impact statement supports proposals to build a third runway parallel to the airport's northeast-southwest runway.
  • April 17, 2000: FedEx calls off plans for the High Point City Council to tour its Indianapolis hub. FedEx opponents had demanded to be allowed to tag along because the trip is considered a public meeting open to them under North Carolina law, if a majority of council members go. FedEx says it cannot accommodate such an event. There is talk of rescheduling the trip. It never happens.
  • May 9, 2000: Local Sierra Club comes out in opposition of FedEx.
  • May 23, 2000: The FAA holds a public hearing on its hub report at the Greensboro Coliseum. The two sides in the debate repeat much of what they have said for months. Supporters say the hub would be a boon for the region. Critics say the operation will bring a long list of ills, including air pollution, damage to water supplies and traffic congestion.
  • June 19, 2000: The Environmental Protection Agency refuses to endorse any of the proposed hub plans, saying it would rather see no hub built if better alternatives are not available. The EPA says potential airplane noise from the proposed hub has been underestimated.
  • June 19, 2000: In a critique of the FAA's hub study, state environmental regulators say the FedEx hub could damage wetlands and wildlife habits, but would apparently not pose unmanageable problems for Triad air quality.
  • Aug. 2000: State House candidate John Blust, who as a state senator had voted for the state's tax incentives for FedEx, says he now believes the hub belongs in a more rural community such as southern Rockingham County. His opponent, Steve Wood, who has always opposed FedEx, accuses Blust of changing his position to win votes. Blust wins the election.
  • Nov. 7, 2000: FedEx supporter and airport authority member Walt Cockerham loses his seat as a Guilford County commissioner. Precincts near the airport that had once supported Cockerham turned on him. FedEx opponents claim, and Cockerham concedes, that their campaign against Cockerham defeated him.
  • Jan. 25, 2001: FedEx opponents announce they have formed a nonprofit, Alliance for Legal Action, to collect money for anticipated lawsuits seeking to stop the hub. The organization introduces as its attorney Bruce Terris from Washington.
  • Jan. 29, 2001: N.C. Division of Water Quality cancels a public hearing on PTI's request for a water-quality permit related to the hub after FedEx opponents refuse to put away anti-FedEx signs.
  • March 8, 2001: Summerfield Town Council passes resolution opposing FedEx.
  • March 21, 2001: Greensboro Jaycees hold a public forum to discuss FedEx.
  • March 27, 2001: High Point Mayor Arnold Koonce and councilmen Bill Bencini, Ron Moore, David Wall, Pete Rowe and Chris Whitley call a press conference to say they have concerns about FedEx. But they stop short of opposing the project, as some sources believed they had initially planned. High Point city leaders remain on record as endorsing the hub. In July, Koonce formally announces on a radio talk show that he opposes FedEx.
  • Oct. 5, 2001: A revised air-quality report by the FAA says the hub could create nearly twice as much smog in 2009, its first-year of peak operations, than previously estimated. Still, those amounts would fall within state air-pollution laws.
  • Nov. 6, 2001: Voters in Greensboro re-elect FedEx supporter Keith Holliday as mayor and choose FedEx supporter Florence Gatten to fill a vacancy for City Council District 4, representing northwest Greensboro near the airport. Both candidates soundly defeated opponents who campaigned against the hub.
  • Nov. 9, 2001: The FAA says the final draft of an environmental impact statement, to be released Friday, will say PTI can move ahead with the hub project by building a third runway parallel to its existing northeast-southwest runway. Opponents say they expected as much, and will take the matter to court.
  • Dec. 31, 2001: Federal Aviation Administration publishes its Record of Decision officially approving the hub and qualifying it for federal money.
  • Jan. 17, 2002: FedEx opponents file an appeal of the hub's environmental review process, with the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.
  • Oct. 10, 2002: Airport authority signs 25-year lease with FedEx, calling for the hub to open by June 2009.
  • Jan. 21, 2003: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments.
  • March 7, 2003: FedEx opponents appeal a ruling by the N.C. Environmental Management Commission that PTI can fill in four streams to build the hub. A hearing is scheduled for September in the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings. A previous appeal in state court was referred there.
  • June 23, 2003: N.C. Division of Air Quality holds a public hearing on a permit PTI needs. It says the research shows the hub would not create excessive carbon monoxide pollution.
  • June 24, 2003: High Point Planning and Zoning Commission recommends the City Council send letters to 2,352 homes and apartments declaring their land subject to aircraft noise. Commission also recommends banning new homes and apartments from being built close to the airport, and suggests soundproofing be required in other neighborhoods.
  • July 10, 2003: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denies FedEx opponents' appeal.
  • September 2, 2003: State officials issue a water quality permit.
  • January 16, 2004: Crews begin clearing land to begin site preparation.
  • January 20, 2004: Opponents of the FedEx hub asked a judge to halt construction on the project until their appeal of a state water quality permit has been heard
  • May 10, 2004: A judge grants a summary judgment to PTI and the state - ruling in their favor without a full hearing - on everything related to the water-quality permit except for storm-water management issues.
  • January 2006: Although no work has begun on the sorting hub building, 90 percent of the grade work for the site is complete.
  • February 2006: Blythe Construction wins the $20 million bid to build the taxiway connecting the airport’s current main runway with the third runway being built.
  • October 1, 2006: FedEx prepares to begin building its hub even as state appeals on four lawsuits remain.
  • October 17, 2006: PTI announces opponents will drop their lawsuits for a payment of $15,500.
  • July 2008: Guilford County Commissioners vote 9-2 to approve an incentives package of $952,500 over three years if the FedEx Ground locates here.
  • November 2008: FedEx Ground announces the 12th hub built nationally since 2002 will be build in Greensboro on 125 acres. Greensboro wins over Murfreesboro, Tenn. and Spartanburg, S.C.
  • December 26, 2008: FedEx announces delay of the start of the overnight sorting operations at Piedmont Triad International Airport, until the fall of 2009, citing expected weak demand for 2009.
  • Jan 2009:Announces broad-based cost cuts including a 20 percent pay cut for CEO Smith, a 7.5 to 10 percent cut for other executives and a 5 percent cut for thousands of others. The company also froze retirement plan contributions for a year, among other cost-saving measures. FedEx employs about 290,000 people worldwide.
  • March 2009: Announces the company will cut more jobs and trim wages again, after reporting its fiscal third-quarter profit tumbled 75 percent on sliding revenue.
  • April 2009: The company cut 1,000 jobs worldwide, including 500 in its headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. The company would not say how many jobs are cut at the plant in Winston-Salem.
  • June 2, 2009: A relocated set of 160-170 workers will begin work at the new hub. 170 new employees could be added this fall. Price tag for the entire project is now at more than $500 million.
  • April 2010: FedEx Ground employs 350 terminal workers in Winston-Salem. By 2011, the ground hub expects to employ as many as 800. The Piedmont Triad Airport Authority received an initial grant of $500,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration to implement an aircraft noise compatibility program as the airport prepares for late-night and early-morning aircraft noise.
  • June 12, 2010: Airport dedicates its new 9,000-foot runway. The new $150 million runway is the centerpiece of more than $500 million in projects, which include eight FedEx buildings and a new road system into and around the airport.
  • Jan. 2011: FedEx report: Shipping volume increased by 20 percent — more than 8,800 tons — for the first 11 months of 2010 compared to the first 11 months of 2009. Monthly flights: more than 400; employing 220 workers at the hub.
  • Sep. 2012: Company spokesperson says that operating income for FedEx Express fell 28 percent in the first quarter and major changes will be announced in Oct.



Source: News & Record Archive; Triad Business Journal
Compiled by Diane Lamb, News & Record Researcher

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