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Harry & David's to use UPS

Rogue Valley residents might see a cargo plane with United Parcel Service markings in December.

UPS now handles Harry and David's overnight gift pack deliveries, including those formerly shipped by FedEx. When holiday orders peak in the weeks leading up to Christmas the Atlanta-based parcel shipper may fly a DC-8 into town to ferry gift packs to Portland .

I've heard that may happen and we've been planning to accommodate their needs, says Airport Director Bern Case.

The UPS cargo planes are bigger than anything regularly flown into the Rogue Valley, but pale in comparison to the massive Antonov AN-124-100s that shuttle Erickson Air-Crane helicopters in and out of Medford.

The DC-8s, comparable to 165-passenger planes in size, would likely park on the U.S. Forest Service tanker ramp. Case says the part of the deal to keep the tankers here for fire season allows the airport to use the ramps in winter. Case says FedEx, which typically flies single-engine Caravans out of Medford, flew MD-80s last December.

— Dan McFee, divisional manager for Ameriflight, which contracts with UPS, DHL and provides courier service for banks and hospitals, says air cargo out of Medford is generally even for 11 months a year. Then Harry and David's holiday orders create a spike. Last December, for example, Jackson County Airport Authority figures show 392,000 pounds shipped out of Medford, compared to 272,659 pounds in November and 275,464 in January.

Inbound freight uniformly outweighs outbound in Medford. In July, the airport saw a total of 683,978 pounds of cargo ' both inbound and outbound ' by four freight operators in July. That's up 6.6 percent from the 641,330 pounds handled in July 2004. For the year, 4,745,995 pounds of cargo have been handled, up nearly 8 percent through the first seven months of the year, compared to 4,397,690.

June freight was also up 8 percent over June 2004 with 712,023 pounds transferred through the airport.

Ameriflight handled nearly half of Medford's incoming and

outgoing cargo last month. The Burbank, Calif.-based company typically runs a half-dozen flights by Beech 1900s, Swearingen Metro 3s and Piper Chieftains into the Rogue Valley, usually from Portland but also through Klamath Falls, Grants Pass and Roseburg. Its planes make their pickups at Jet Center.

Medford is by far the busiest airport for us by volume in the state outside of Portland, says McFee, whose Portland offices serves two dozen Oregon and southwest Washington cities. Air cargo was growing pretty good before 9-11, then died off. Now it's coming back pretty good.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail Harry & David's to use UPS"business@mailtribune.com