McALLEN — UPS plans to shift the package-delivery company’s Rio Grande Valley air operations from Harlingen to McAllen starting Feb. 6.
UPS intends to lease a cargo bay at McAllen-Miller International Airport, where a Boeing 757 jet would drop off and pick up packages five days a week, according to a Dec. 7 letter from Peter Levermore, who manages airport properties for UPS, to Matthew Van Valkenburgh, the city’s assistant director of aviation. UPS informed Valley International Airport of the impending change on Tuesday.
“I’ve been told that the vast majority of their business comes from Hidalgo County and they felt like it was a customer service issue,” said Michael Browning, the Harlingen airport’s director of aviation. “They needed to be closer to their customer.”
The UPS jet would land at McAllen-Miller weekdays at 6:15 a.m. and depart weeknights at 9:30 p.m., according to a Dec. 7 memo from city Director of Aviation Phil Brown to City Manager Mike Perez. The jet would land Saturday morning and spend the weekend at McAllen-Miller.
“I can confirm that UPS will open a new gateway in McAllen,” wrote UPS Spokesman Mike Mangeot in an e-mail. “This change is scheduled for early February 2012 and is all about customer service — it will enable later pickup times for our Rio Grande Valley customers.”
The 757 jet will link McAllen to UPS’ international mail hub in Louisville, Kentucky.
“We have worked well over the years with Valley International in Harlingen. We thank them for their service and wish them the best in the future,” Mangeot wrote. “This change is simply about following the packages, and McAllen is a better location for our customers.”
UPS began serious discussions with McAllen about the move two weeks ago, Van Valkenburgh said, and the talks progressed quickly. McAllen and UPS haven’t worked out a lease agreement, which could be presented to the City Commission for approval on Jan. 9, according to the city memo.
The move will bring jobs, better UPS service and another flight to McAllen, Van Valkenburgh said. “It’s a plus, plus, plus across the board.”
Dave Hendricks covers McAllen and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (956) 683-4452.
Follow Dave Hendricks on Twitter: @dmhj