March ARB to lose DHL

Barely 3 years into operations, cargo shipper DHL is closing its west coast hub at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside. The closing comes as the German-based shipper pulls out of the U.S. domestic cargo market. The final flights at March are expected by the end of January 2009.


Officials with both March Global Port, the private developer of the DHL facility, and March Joint Powers Authority, the local government agency overseeing commercial reuses at the base, are unclear what will become of the 262,000 sq. ft. cargo sorting center located at the southern end of the 90-year-old base.

Though the end of DHL’s 8 nightly flights may be good news to the ears of some local residents, it couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Inland region is suffering from some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Losing a long-term, job-creating catalyst like DHL certainly won’t help.

Although we acknowledge — and agree — there were some serious missteps made during the initial landing of DHL at March, we hope the March JPA continues its steadfast search for future airside tenants. But in doing so, it must also work twice as hard in regaining the public’s trust and support.

However, the JPA must not lose sight of the fact its biggest asset is March’s 13,300-foot runway — one of the longest paved runways on the west coast. Simply allowing the DHL facility to transform into non-aviation uses would be a disservice to the entire Inland region — a region striving to keep the next generation of residents from becoming long-range commuters.


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