Clewiston, FL - Airglades International Airport LLC broke ground on a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that will replace the airport’s current general aviation terminal. The $2.1 million, 4,000-square-foot facility is made possible through partnership and coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Hendry County.

Strategically located in a logistics corridor less than 90 miles west of Miami, the development of this facility will designate AIA as an official port of entry to the U.S. and create a major international multimodal logistics complex with far-reaching economic impact.

“The U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility is a milestone achievement for both Airglades and Hendry County, said Frederick C. Ford, president and founder of Airglades International Airport. “This facility serves a critical role in creating a one-stop cargo complex to send and receive perishable goods for all Latin American cargo hubs.”

With the inspection facility and an overall airport expansion, AIA will be able to accept international cargo planes importing perishable goods, offering shorter flight times and reduced travel distances and road congestion throughout the transportation logistics chain. The streamlined chain will consolidate customs locations for timely import inspection and reduce delays of domestic shipments of refrigerated cargo, leading to less spoilage and increased shelf life for perishables such as seafood, produce and flowers to be sold throughout the U.S.

“The Airglades International Airport is a great step toward improved efficiencies in the examination of international flights arriving from South America and beyond for South Florida,” said Diane J. Sabatino, Director of Field Operations for the Miami and Tampa Field Offices for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose officers will facilitate these operations.

South Florida is an established global logistics hub through which more than 83% of all commodities imported by air to the U.S. from the Americas is received and sends more than 79% of all exported commodities from the U.S. to the Americas.

“As a user-fee airport, Airglades and its ability to process these flights will be a catalyst for promoting economic growth and creating job opportunities in Hendry County,” said Sabatino.

The expansion of the airport is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs during the construction phase and the establishment of the Airglades International Airport will create 1,700 long-term jobs for Hendry County and surrounding communities.

“The airport project is a win-win for all of us,” said Hendry County Administrator Jennifer Davis. “This customs facility and the airport will make a significant positive impact in our county, with long-lasting economic development opportunities, including much needed job creation and local tax revenue generation.”