Louisville's largest employer has reached a milestone at its major air hub. UPS has opened the first phase of a major expansion project. It's ahead of schedule and under budget for the almost billion dollar project.

Mike Mangeot of UPS says, "It allows us to be more efficient because it's a very cost effective way to sort packages."

The UPS Worldport is a place of motion, packages quickly moving from inbound planes to outbound ones.

Speed is important at UPS. From the time a package is unloaded from an aircraft and put back on another aircraft the average time is about 13 minutes and could be as few as eight.

Earlier this year UPS dropped overnight sorting in Dallas and Columbia South Carolina. The expansion in Louisville is part of that plan according to Mangeot, "We have reorganized out in the field and driven a lot more volume into Louisville and that allows us to cut down our operating costs."

All of the numbers here at Worldport are large. There are 150 miles of conveyors here. More than a million packages pass through here every day. The expansion means about a 15 percent increase in capacity. The amount of space under one roof grows from 4 million to more than 5-million square feet, about the size of nine football fields.

Mangeot adds, "UPS operations have grown so much since we located here in 1982; our original building, you could fit 25 of those in Worldport today."

The expansion comes as business is down at UPS due to the recession. But Mangeot says, "Worldport expansion is a great example of our long-term view of the economy, we know that things are challenging right now, we also know things will turn around and we want to be there for our customers when they do."

The entire expansion project is expected to be completed next summer. UPS currently has just over 20,000 employees in Louisville. The company says when business picks up again, perhaps more jobs will be added.