Amazon Prime
Roll of Amazon Prime packing tape is seen at an Amazon fulfillment center (Photo: Reuters)

Amazon recently broke ground on its biggest economic development project in Northern Kentucky with a surprise appearance from its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

The online retail giant is set to build its long-planned air services hub, estimated to be worth around $1.5 billion. The airport will be used to greatly increase the company's logistics capabilities, allowing it to achieve its long-promised one-day delivery service for Prime customers.

During his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, Bezos explained that the airport will soon allow the company to deliver its packages to customers faster than ever before. Bezos also highlighted the company previously announced plans to move from its two-day delivery services to a one-day delivery service. This service will be provided to Prime members, a subscription service that gives customers unlimited deliveries, and TV and Radio access for a fee of $119 per year.

Following his speech, Bezos jumped into one of the front loaders on the site and proceeded to turn the first pile of dirt. Amazon's vice president for transportation services, Dave Bozeman, even joked to the crowd that Bezos could work on the construction site if he ever decides to leave his job.

The new airport is expected to bring in more than 2,000 jobs once it becomes fully operational. According to the director of Amazon Air, Sarah Rhoads, the facility will greatly enhance their service moving forward, ensuring fast delivery off packages to anyone in the country. Also attending the event were elected officials, business leaders, and other dignitaries, who were gathered at a tent set up on the construction site. Acting as its backdrop, Amazon flew in one of its Amazon Prime Air Boeing 767 jet airplanes and another Boeing 737 800.  

The air services hub is located on the south side of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and will sport various ramps, a tower, and a large sorting facility. Amazon expects the facility to become fully operational sometime in 2021. More than 50 aircraft are expected to be operating out of the hub, sending and receiving various packages throughout the country.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) was able to beat Wilmington Air Park in bidding to house Amazon's air services hub. Plans for the project were initially announced back in 2017.

The public-use international airport currently houses several headquarters, including Amazon Air, DHL Americas, Delta Private Jets, and Southern Air. Since Amazon Air called CVG home, cargo freight flying to and from the airport have more than doubled over the past five years.  With the completion of the new air services hub, that number is expected to grow even more.