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Southern Air to Create 150 New Jobs in $3.5 Million Investment

Southern Air's new global headquarters in Florence will create up to 150 jobs with an initial investment of $3.5 million, the company announced Thursday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We have relocated our corporate headquarters to northern Kentucky, where we will be even better positioned to grow profitably, deliver the highest quality services to our global customers, and meet and exceed their air cargo needs,” said Daniel J. McHugh, CEO of Southern Air. “With this relocation, we look forward to building on our strong partnership with DHL Express at its main U.S. hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.” 

It was reported in January that Southern Air would be moving its headquarters to the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson joined company and local government officials for the ceremony. “Northern Kentucky has a talented aviation community, and we know Southern Air will enhance that reputation and grow the talent here even more,” Abramson said. “We’re excited to see 150 jobs and an initial investment of $3.5 million, and we welcome Southern Air’s headquarters to the Commonwealth.” 

Gov. Steve Beshear issued a statement about the news, saying, “This is a proud day for the Commonwealth, with the addition of up to 150 jobs and the global headquarters for Southern Air in Northern Kentucky. We are fortunate to be blessed with an ideal location, but this also serves as a powerful testament to Kentucky’s workforce, quality of life and business climate.”

Founded in 1947, Southern Air serves a customer base that includes some of the world’s largest intercontinental air cargo carriers and government agencies. Southern Air is the first ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) operator in the world to operate the fuel efficient Boeing 777 Freighter and currently operates four such aircraft on an around-the-world basis for global express delivery provider DHL.

On Monday, the company announced that it had emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“We have emerged from this restructuring process with substantially less debt, significantly improved operations and resources, and financial flexibility as a well-capitalized global air cargo carrier," CEO McHugh said in a news release. "...(W)e are wel lpositioned both financially and operationally to continue to build Southern Air for the long-term benefit of our customers, suppliers, business partners, crew members and employees. From our new headquarters at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, our largest air operating hub, we are even better able to grow profitably, delivering the highest quality services to our customers and meeting and  exceeding their air cargo needs.” 

Southern Air entered Chapter 11 on September 28, 2012, and emerged from the process on April 15, 2013, after meeting all closing conditions to the Company’s Plan of Reorganization. The Plan was confirmed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware on March 14, 2013. 

To encourage the investment and job creation in northern Kentucky, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.7 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. 

“Our area is primed for the aeronautical industry, dedicated workforce and great quality of life,” said Sen. John Schickel, of Union. “I am thrilled with Southern Air’s confidence in us.”

“We welcome Southern Air to our community and wish the company every success as a global leader in air cargo transport,” said Rep. Addia K. Wuchner, of Florence. “Our airport not only serves as an international hub for visitors to northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, but CVG’s location and logistics provide the perfect synergy for air cargo businesses to serve both their domestic and global customers. Southern Air’s decision to relocate its headquarters to CVG, along with DHL Express’s main U.S. hub at CVG, provides a great opportunity to forge business alliances and strengthen our region as a shipping hub.”

“The addition of Southern Air to the Florence and northern Kentucky market is a boost for the region. We are pleased to welcome this company to our community and look forward to a lasting relationship,” said Florence Mayor Diane Whalen. “Southern Air joins a thriving group of expanding northern Kentucky companies creating solid jobs for our workforce. We intend to assist in their growth by providing a successful business environment wherever and whenever possible.” 

“Southern Air’s arrival in northern Kentucky has elevated our community to new heights,” said Boone County Judge-Executive and Chairman Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) Gary Moore. “The impact this global cargo carrier brings in concert with DHL’s presence is immense and will have a beneficial ripple effect on the local economy. We sincerely thank Southern Air for its confidence and investment in northern Kentucky.”

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED has announced several major economic development projects in 2013, building on strong momentum from 2012. Recent announcements include:

Earlier Thursday, ZoomEssence announced it will create 20 jobs and invest more than $3 Million in its Northern Kentucky research and development location in Hebron.

ZoomEssence has developed the DriZoom™ process technology for converting liquids to powders at ambient temperature. DriZoom™ is a cost effective process that replaces standard high-temperature spray drying by delivering products with improved efficacy, longer shelf life and improved solubility.

ZoomEssence creates and manufactures powdered flavors and food ingredients, with more than 300 types in various snacks, soups, coffee, tea, and other products. The company also manufactures instant coffee, instant tea, Omega-3 powders, vitamins, and other dry products serving a wide variety of customers. Eleven of the 20 new, full-time jobs at ZoomEssence are considered high-tech and technical support jobs, with an average annual salary of approximately $67,000, excluding benefits. 

“Our disruptive technology was born and developed right here in Kentucky,” said Bob Corbett, CEO of ZoomEssence. “We appreciate the support received from Gov. Beshear, Lt. Gov. Abramson and the entire Kentucky business community. We look forward to many more years of growth, job creation and involvement in our community.” 

Last week, Balluff Inc. and Kentucky officials broke ground on the company's new U.S. headquarters building in Independence. Balluff expects to add 24 new, full-time Kentucky resident jobs and invest $6 million as part of the expansion.

Westpack announced on February 11, 2013 it would make a $4.49 million investment and establish a bottle decorating and packaging manufacturing facility in Covington, Ky. with 63 new jobs.

On February 4, 2013, Newly Weds Foods and Northern Kentucky Tri-ED announced the company would purchase an existing 326,000-square-foot facility located at 4455 Olympic Boulevard in the Circleport Business Park in Erlanger, Boone County, Ky., invest $57 million and create 115 new jobs. 

Northern Kentucky Tri-ED presented 24 companies with 2013 Thoroughbred Awards on March 21 recognizing their location, expansion and job creation in Northern Kentucky. In 2012, DHL Express inaugurated a new 193,000 square foot sorting facility in Boone County, Kentucky at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.  The $47 million expansion helped bring additional jobs to the local community.  DHL currently employs 2,280 staffers at its hub at CVG.