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Airport Cincinnati (USA)- Northern Kentucky

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Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

WMO: 72421

Location of the airport in Northern Kentucky
Airport type Public
Owner Kenton County Airport Board
Operator Kenton County Airport Board
Serves Cincinnati, Ohio
Location 2939 Terminal Drive
Hebron, Kentucky
Hub for
Focus city for

Allegiant Air[2]

Elevation AMSL 896 ft / 273 m
Coordinates 39°0256N 084°4004W / 39.04889°N 84.66778°W / 39.04889; -84.66778
Website www.cvgairport.com
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 12,000 3,658 Asphalt/Concrete
18C/36C 11,000 3,353 Asphalt/Concrete
18L/36R 10,000 3,048 Concrete
18R/36L 8,000 2,438 Concrete
Statistics (2015)
Total passengers 6,316,332
Aircraft operations 133,068
Sources: Airport website[3]

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (IATA: CVGICAO: KCVGFAA LID: CVG), is a public international airport located in Hebron, Kentucky, United States, and serves the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area. Despite being located in Boone County, the airport operations are governed by the neighboring Kenton County Airport Board. The airport's code, CVG, comes from the nearest major city at the time of its opening, Covington, Kentucky, as the airport was built to replace the former Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport, so there were limited airport codes to be used.[4] Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport covers an area of 8,000 acres (32 km2).[5] It is the only airport in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana with nonstop service to Europe. International destinations include Cancún, Freeport, Montego Bay, Paris, Punta Cana, and Toronto. The airport is the 8th largest hub for Delta Air Lines along with Skywest Airlines and GoJet Airlines operating under Delta Connection. Also, the headquarters and main maintenance base for Delta Private Jets is located at the airport. The airport is the largest base for Allegiant Air that is not a vacation destination and is hub for Cincinnati-based Ultimate Air Shuttle. In addition, CVG is also one of three large global hubs for DHL Aviation and DHL Express, ranking 6th in North America and 34th in the world for total cargo operations. The airport is headquarters and hub for Southern Air, which operates flights around the world for DHL Aviation. In total, the airport offers non-stop passenger service to 52 destinations with 197 peak daily departures.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved preliminary funds for site development of the Greater Cincinnati Airport February 11, 1942. This was part of the United States Army Air Corps program to establish training facilities during World War II. At the time, air traffic in the area centered around Lunken Airport just southeast of central Cincinnati.[6] Lunken opened in 1926 and was located in the Ohio River Valley. Due to its location, the airport frequently experienced fog, and the 1937 flood completely submerged its runways and two-story terminal building.[7] While federal officials wanted an airfield site that would not be prone to flooding, Cincinnati officials hoped to build Lunken into the premier airport of the region.[8]

A coalition of officials from Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties in Kentucky took advantage of Cincinnati's short-sightedness and lobbied Congress to build an airfield there.[9] Boone County officials offered a suitable site on the provision that Kenton County paid the acquisition cost. In October 1942, Congress provided $2 million to construct four runways.[6]

The field officially opened August 12, 1944, with the first B-17 bombers beginning practice runs on August 15. As the tide of the war had already turned, the Air Corps only used the field until 1945 before it was declared surplus. On October 27, 1946, a small wooden terminal building opened and the airport prepared for commercial service.[6]

The first commercial flight, on an American Airlines DC-3 from Cleveland, Ohio, landed at the airport January 10, 1947, at 9:53 am. A Delta Air Lines flight followed moments later.[10] The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 97 weekday departures: 37 American, 26 Delta, 24 TWA, 8 Piedmont and 2 Lake Central. As late as November 1959 the airport had four 5,500 ft (1,700 m) runways at 45-degree angles, the northsouth runway eventually being extended into today's runway 18C/36C.

In the 1950s, Cincinnati city leaders began pushing for a major expansion of a site in Blue Ash to compete with the Greater Cincinnati Airport and replace Lunken as the city's primary airport.[11] The city purchased Hugh Watson Field in 1955, turning it into Blue Ash Airport.[12] The city's Blue Ash development plans were hampered by community opposition, three failed Hamilton County bond measures,[13] political infighting,[14] and Cincinnati's decision not to participate in the federal airfield program.[15]

Airport diagram for December 1958

Jet age[edit]

On December 16, 1960, the jet age arrived in Cincinnati when a Delta Air Lines Convair 880 from Miami completed the first scheduled jet flight. The airport needed to expand and build more modern terminals and other facilities; the original Terminal A was expanded and renovated. The northsouth runway was extended 3,100 to 8,600 ft (940 to 2,620 m). In 1964, the board approved a $12 million bond to expand the south concourse of Terminal A by 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2) and provide nine gates for TWA, American, and Delta.[6] A new eastwest runway crossing the longer northsouth runway was constructed in 1971 south of the older eastwest runway.

Comair hub[edit]

In 1977, after the Airine Deregulation Act was passed, CVG, like many small airports, lost large numbers of flights, causing David and Raymound Muller to establish Comair. The airline initiated with service to Akron/Canton, Cleveland, and Evansville. In 1981, Comair became a public company, added 30 seat regional jets to its fleet, and began to rapidly expand its destinations. In 1984, Comair became a Delta Connection carrier with Delta's establishment of a hub at CVG. That same year, Comair introduced its first international flights from Cincinanti to Toronto. In 1992, Comair moved into Concourse C, as Delta Air Lines gradullly continued to acquire more of the airlines stock. In 1993, Comair was the launch customer for the Canadair Regional Jet, which it would later operate the largest fleet in the world. By 1999, Comair was the largest regional airline in the country worth over 2 billion, transporting 6 million passengers yearly to 83 destinations on 101 aircraft. Later that year, Delta Air Lines acquired the remaining portion of Comair's stock, causing Comair to solely operate Delta Connection flights.[16]

Delta hub[edit]

In the mid-1980s, Delta created a hub in Cincinnati and constructed Terminal C and D, with a total of 22 gates. In 1992, Delta made Cincinnati its number two hub and spent $500 million constructing Terminal 3 with Concourse A and B, in addition to adding a $50 million Concourse C for Comair. Also, another $350 million was used to expand and construct 4 much longer runways. During the 1990s, Delta operated a large number of mainline flights out of the airport, however during the late 1990s, ramped up Comair's operations, and established Delta Connection. This dramatically increased the aircraft operations from around 300 thousand to 500 thousand yearly aircraft movements. In turn, passenger volumes doubled within a decade from 10 million to 20 million. This expansion prompted the building of runway 18L/36R and the airport began making preparations to construct Concourse D, while adding an expansion to Concourse A and B. At its peak, CVG became Delta's second-largest hub, handling over 670 Delta and Delta Connection flights daily in 2005.[17] Delta built the CVG hub in order to gain a presence in the Midwest, after it had stuck to the southern United States for so long. It was chosen because the city boasted a large number of Fortune 500 companies, and because many midwestern cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and St. Louis already had large hubs. Delta served over 130 destinations with over 450 connection and 220 mainline flights in 2005. The hub served everything from the 64 mile CVG-DAY, to a daily non-stop to Honolulu and Anchorage, to numerous transatlantic destinations including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Munich, ParisOrly, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Rome, and Zurich.[18]

Delta hub cuts[edit]

When Delta went into bankruptcy in September 2005, a large reduction at CVG eliminated most early-morning and night flights.[18] These initial cuts caused additional routes to become unprofitable, causing the frequency of low-volume routes to be further cut from 2006-2007. Planning for the new east/west runway stopped, along with all expansions to current terminals and Terminal 1 was closed due to lack of need. In 2008, Delta merged with Northwest Airlines and cut flight capacity from the Cincinnati hub by 22 percent with an additional 17 percent reduction in 2009.[17] Once Delta acquired Northwest, Comair's older fleet, which was costly as a result of rising oil prices, was cut and replaced with other Delta Connection carriers. In 2010, Delta stabilized CVG operations with 63 destinations between mainline and connection flights.[23]

Many businesses in Cincinnati have urged Delta to restore the service level it had in the late 1990s and early 2000s while some, such as Chiquita Banana, Toyota, and Veritiv have already relocated to cities with more available flights.[24] Flights at CVG are scheduled in morning and afternoon blocks, in which many flights depart around the same time. The only remaining intercontinental service by Delta is a daily evening departure to Paris. In addition to serving the heavy international travel demand of local companies such as P&G and GE Aviation, the daily Paris flight is also sustained in great part because it ferries jet-engine parts between factories in Cincinnati and France due to GE Aviation's presence. Each year the flight carries 4,200,000 pounds (1,900,000 kg) of engine parts.[25] Air France operated flights into CVG for several periods for over a decade before finally terminating the service in 2007. Aeroméxico, Air France and KLM codeshare on Delta's international services out of CVG to Cancun and Paris.[26][27]

In January 2010, Delta's CEO Richard Anderson anticipated that there would be 160170 daily departures in the summer and that the number would not change through at least the fall.[28][29] Delta closed Concourse A in Terminal 3 on May 1, 2010, and consolidated all operations into Concourse B. This resulted in the layoff of more than 800 employees. Delta, however, says that it will maintain the same amount of departures from CVG.[30]

In June 2011, Delta announced that it would cut another 10% of the CVG hub capacity that summer, offering between 145165 daily flights.

In February 2015, Delta announced the ending of flights from New Orleans, San Diego, and Jacksonville. Also, there will be fewer daily departures to Orlando and Fort Myers by the end of summer 2015, but there will be more in the winter of 2015. These cuts result from Delta's replacement of 50-seat connection airplanes with 150200-seat planes. As CVG was once the headquarters and main hub of Comair, Delta's feeder airline until 2012, and still remains a Delta Connection hub, the airport has many of the 50-seat planes, and, until shuffling of planes occurs, the airport will see a temporary reduction in flights. In the end, more seats, but fewer planes, will serve the airport. Routes such as Cincinnati to Detroit will get these larger planes, and serve more customers. This move, which seems to match Delta's statements that Cincinnati will remain a hub, decreases the likelihood that it will be de-hubbed like Memphis. By the end of the summer, Delta will operate 89 peak flights a day, but will serve more passengers, remaining a small, but key hub in Delta's network.[31]

In March 2015, Delta announced another 14% cut at CVG, effective in summer 2015. Service to Madison will be eliminated and to Pittsburgh, Richmond, Baltimore, Toronto, Orlando, Kansas City, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Raleigh-Durham and Minneapolis will be reduced. In August 2015, Delta announced that there will be fewer daily departures to Chicago, but that the number of seats will rise from 300 to 450 a day. Also, flights to Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, Newark and San Francisco will be increased.[32]

Comair ends service[edit]

In July 2012, Delta announced their wholly owned and CVG-based subsidiary, Comair, would cease all operations by October of the same year. However, it said, "the discontinuation of Comair's operations will not result in any significant changes to Delta's network, which has enough flexibility to accommodate these changes".[33] Delta transferred Comair's larger planes to other carriers and retired its 50-seat planes. Endeavor Air (formerly Pinnacle Airlines) now has a maintenance base at the airport and is one of the main third party operators for Delta Air Lines at CVG.

Low-cost service expansion[edit]

CVG has long struggled with high fares due to Delta's dominance at the airport. Since 2013, Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines have been expanding at CVG, finally giving local travelers low fares without having to commute to Dayton, Louisville or Indianapolis. These fares are often 75% less than other airlines at CVG. In 2012 CVG had no weekly low fare flights. As of July 2015, it had 108 weekly flights (about 15 daily) to 17 destinations.[34]

In October 2012, Frontier Airlines announced it would begin service from CVG with a daily flight to Denver. This was the first modern attempt at bringing a low-cost carrier into the CVG region. Shortly there after, Frontier announced it would now offer two daily flights to Denver, and limited weekly service to Trenton/Mercer. Frontier Airlines in August 2014 made the biggest one-time expansion of flights at CVG in nearly a decade, paving the way to make Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport a major operations center for the low-cost carrier. The airline added daily flights to Dallas/Ft Worth and started with four flights per week to Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Phoenix. During this announcement Frontier's CEO announced that the airline is not finished growing at CVG. After this expansion, CVG passengers set a sales record, selling 5,000 seats in the 6 hours after this expansion was announced.[34]

Allegiant Air began service from CVG in 2014 to Orlando and Punta Gorda. Within 2 months of beginning operation, Allegiant announced that it was pleased with the success thus far and added limited service to Tampa and seasonal service to Myrtle Beach. Allegiant later came out with a statement saying it was adding flights to Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and to Phoenix. In November 2014, Allegiant announced new service to Jacksonville and New Orleans to begin in February 2015. This brings Allegiant Air's total weekly departures to 22.[35]

On February 23, 2015, Frontier Airlines announced another major expansion at CVG, adding 29 more weekly flights. The expansion included new daily nonstop service to Atlanta and Fort Myers beginning April 30, 2015. In addition to these new destinations, Frontier also added nonstop flights to existing destinations. Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando will each have daily service, with Las Vegas having 11 times weekly.[34]

On February 24, 2015, Allegiant Air announced an expansion to destinations not currently served by any other airline from CVG. On May 8, 2015, seasonal flights to Savannah/Hilton Head will begin twice weekly. On June 4, 2015, year round flights to Austin will begin twice weekly. Allegiant will have 48 weekly departures during the summer months of 2016. CVG is currently Allegiant's largest non vacation origination city and 7th overall by operations, with 11 destinations.[34]

On July 23, 2015, Allegiant Air announced plans to make CVG its midwestern base of operations with based aircraft and crew. Allegiant will establish the operation by January 6, 2016, with three based Airbus A319s and 90 new jobs for pilots, flight attendants, and service workers. In Summer 2016, Allegiant will peak at 48 weekly departures, the most from any Allegiant origination city, and will be its 7th largest market overall.[36]

On January 7, 2016, after a series of cuts to Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale, Frontier Airlines announced new service to Houston Intercontinental, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, along with resuming seasonal service to Atlanta, Dallas/Ft Worth and Pheonix. This announcement brings Frontier's destinations from CVG up to 11 and 50 flights weekly. On January 12, 2016, Allegiant Air announced new service to Baltimore and Destin/Ft Walton Beach (Florida). They also announced plans to add charter service to Montego Bay which could not have happened without the base operations. Allegiant Air also claimed they are looking to add more charter service to the Caribbean in collaboration with Vacation Express and Apple Vacations. This new expansion brings Allegiant's destinations from CVG to 14.

PSA Airlines is planning a maintenance base at the CVG, starting late in 2015, as well as a crew base beginning in January 2016. The new bases have led to additional American Airlines flight at CVG, operated by PSA Airlines including Charlotte and Philadelphia before the merger with U.S. Airways, in addition to New York-LaGuardia.[37]


The airport's terminal/remote-concourse configuration, combined with simultaneous triple landing/takeoff capabilities, makes CVG a particularly efficient airport for flight operations. The numerous runways can officially handle all aircraft up to the 747-800F, which sees daily service by cargo carriers. The runways have also handled the occasional A380, and after runway 9-27 and 18R-36L are widened to 200 ft., could be regularly used by any cargo carriers. CVG is a hub of Delta Air Lines, and was the central hub of Delta's wholly owned subsidiary airline, Comair, which provided regional jet service under the Delta Connection banner. As such, the airport serves a role in Delta's Midwest hub-and-spoke system, and is also a prefered diversion point for Detorit bound aircraft due to connection options. In recent years, Delta Air Lines has considerably pared the number of flights out of the Cincinnati hub and in August 2008 announced it would be moving all of its Comair flights to Concourses A and B and closed all operations in Concourse C in January 2009.[38] In February 2010, Delta announced it would close Concourse A in May and further consolidate operations in the remaining concourse.

The airport has three terminals, though only one in full use. Terminal 1 is the original terminal and was built in 1960 and renovated in 1974.[39] Designed by Heery & Heery, Terminals 2 and 3 were built in 1974 when additional expansion necessitated more gates.[40] Terminal 3 was expanded specifically for Delta in 1987 and has three remote concourses.[39] Concourses B and C were completed in December 1994 as part of a $500 million expansion designed by Thompson, Hancock, Witte & Associates.[39][41] Concourses A and B are connected to the main terminal by an underground train system. Concourse C was reachable only by shuttle bus. Concourse B is served by Delta and its regional affiliates. Terminal 3 houses one of two US Customs and Border Protection facilities, located in Concourse B, with the other in DHL's cargo complex. All international arrivals except, U.S. border preclearance are processed in the Mezzanine Level of Concourse B.

In May 2012, Terminal 2 was officially closed and all non-Delta operations were consolidated in a newly renovated Concourse A. The renovation was in response to civic and business leader's concerns about the loss of flights to and from the airport.[42] Terminal 2 will be demolished along with Terminal 1 in 2016.[citation needed]

In October 2015, Terminal 1 was officially closed as Ultimate Air Shuttle vacated the building and the airport administrative offices were moved to the old Comair headquarters. Terminal 1 had originally closed in 2007, but re-opend in 2013 to serve Ultimate Air Shuttle.

The airport currently operates four paved runways:

  • Runway 9/27: 12,000 ft × 150 ft (3,658 m × 46 m), Asphalt/Concrete
  • Runway 18C/36C: 11,000 ft × 150 ft (3,353 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt/Concrete
  • Runway 18L/36R: 10,000 ft × 150 ft (3,048 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 18R/36L: 8,000 ft × 150 ft (2,438 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete

Terminal 1[edit]

Terminal 1 is in the location of the original terminal and served non-Delta flights mainly consisting of US Airways flights. Before the expansion adding more concourses, this terminal was referred to as Terminal A with a regional corridor added for regional jets in the 1960s. When Terminal D was built in 1974, the building was renamed Terminal B, and its name was changed again to Terminal 1 with the construction of Concourse B and C. The check-in and security area of Terminal 1 is very compact, and mostly served US Airways. The baggage claim was part of the check-in area, and provided access to Terminal 1 and 3 through a corridor.[43] Terminal 1 has 9 gates, which were numbered 1-9, and served the multiple US Airways flights, but remained very empty throughout the day. The Terminal originally had multiple concessions, but after the reduction in flights, most of the vendors left or relocated to other terminals. Through the years, the terminal also was used by Skyway Airlines, Midwest Express, and Northwest Airlines. The terminal was closed in 2007 due to its outdated design and limited gate space. The front part of the terminal, now used as the administrative building, was renovated in 2013 and started serving Ultimate Air Shuttle on September 9 of that year. However the majority of the concourse still is left abandoned and is planned to be torn down in 2016[44] after the murals are removed. It was used by Ultimate Air Shuttle until October 19, 2015 when they relocated to the Delta Jet Center, closing Terminal 1 until its demolition.[45] In addition, Terminal 1 houses a small FedEx cargo operation, which will also relocate when Terminal 1 is demolished.[46]

Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2 was an expansion to Terminal 1 to allow for the increasing number of flights and served American Airlines and United Airlines. Before the expansion adding more concourses, this terminal was referred to as Terminal B. In 1974, with the construction of Terminal D, it was renamed Terminal C, and later Terminal 2 following the construction of Concourse B and C. It was built at the same time as Terminal 3 and they both shared similar designs. The check-in and security areas of Terminal 2 are located in the front of there terminal, and allow movement to Terminal 1 and 3 by use of a corridor. The baggage claim is located in a separate building across the street, immediately adjacent to the P2 parking garage, which provided short-term parking for the terminal. The actual terminal are consisted of eight gates, numbered 1-8, and originally served most airlines not US Airways or Delta. After the closure of Terminal 1, added US Airways, and ceased operations after the remodel of Concourse A. The Terminal only had two food vendors, and lacked any sort of larger restaurant due to its outdated design and layout. The Terminal was frequently viewed as outdated and in 2012, the airport finally decided to shut it down and move the remaining airlines into Terminal 3. The terminal is currently closed and will be removed in 2016 to make way for a larger Concourse A and rental car facility.[44]

Terminal 3 (Main Terminal)[edit]

The original Terminal 3 was very similar to Terminal 2, and featured the same spike-like design. Before the expansion adding more concourses, this terminal was referred to as Terminal C and renamed Terminal D with the construction of present-day Concourse A. As the number of flights increased and Delta needed more gates, the terminal was added onto to make Concourse B and C were later built and the terminals connected by an underground tunnel. This terminal is currently the main terminal for most flights, and houses all airlines except Ultimate Air Shuttle.

Security checkpoint/baggage claim[edit]

The main terminal security checkpoint is on the ticketing level. This new, expandable checkpoint opened in November 2009. After clearing security, passengers can take escalators or elevators down to the Cincinnati Airport People Mover that departs to all gates. Arriving passengers exit the terminal by elevator or escalator up to the baggage claim level and all ground transportation on ground level.

Concourse A[edit]

Concourse A originally was an extension of Terminal C, named Terminal D, built when Delta Air Lines made Cincinnati its second largest hub. The concourse served all Delta Connection carriers except Comair and other short range mainline flights. In 2010, Delta Air Lines closed the concourse and it underwent an extensive renovation before re-opening on May 15, 2012. Currently Air Canada Express, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines use Concourse A, most of which formerly used Terminal 2, which is now closed. As such, ticketing, security screening and baggage claim for all airlines now take place in the newly renamed Main Terminal (Terminal 3). Recently, three additional gates have been activated at the end of the concourse due to the expansion of Allegiant and Frontier.[47]

Concourse B[edit]

Concourse B is, like all concourses of Terminal 3, designed and originally purposed for Delta and its affiliates, including Cincinnati based Delta subsidiary, Comair. The terminal houses the Delta Sky Club and most of the concessions located at the airport due to the many connecting passengers. The concourse now houses all Delta and Delta Connection flights with a total of 39 gates along with some seasonal charters that fly internationally. Currently Apple Vacations, Bahamasair, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, and Vacation Express use the concourse. Also, U.S. Customs and Border Protection are contained in Concourse B, and exit into the tunnel, letting passengers continue to baggage claim, or to another connecting flight.

Concourse C[edit]

Concourse C opened in September 1994[48] in order to serve all Comair flights and closed in 2009 due to Delta Air Lines cutting flights from the hub. Concourse C is an island and was only accessible by passengers from other terminals and ticketing facilities via buses. When it was built in 1994, it was the first dedicated regional jet concourse, and remains the largest in the world with a total of 53 gates. It was expanded twice to increase gate capacity to the south in 1997, and again in 2001 to the north.[49] The concourse has a unique "x" shape and passengers waited in the center, filled with seats and shops, then proceed down 4 branching hallways to their plane. Delta has a lease on the concourse until 2025, and is currently open for other carriers if they wanted the space, but most likely will never be reactivated. Currently, the terminal is used to train detection dogs and other airport security positions for other airports. In 2025, once Delta's lease ends, the concourse will be torn down and a dedicated place for overnight parking will be constructed.

Concourse D[edit]

Concourse D, which would have been an island concourse connecting to Terminal 3, was in the planning stages before Delta's bankruptcy, in order to deal with an increasing number of flights, however, due to a decrease in air travel, was never built. It would have been located northwest from Terminal 1 and have about 80-90 gates and would have served all Delta Connection flights including Comair. Then all non-Delta carriers would use Concourse A and all Delta mainline flights would be located in Concourse B, which was to be expanded into the closed Concourse C.[50]

2025 Master Plan, Outlines Terminal D Plan

Former Terminals[edit]

International Terminal[edit]

The original international terminal at CVG was located west of Terminal 1, in the present day cell phone parking lot. The terminal served both Delta Air Lines and various charter airlines from the 1970s until 1984 when Delta Air Lines moved its operations to Terminal D, and closed in 1994 when charter airlines were moved to the newly constructed Concourse B. The Terminal only had one gate, named Gate 1.[51]

Comair Terminal[edit]

The original location of all Comair flights was on the apron west of Terminal B with passengers boarding aircraft directly from the tarmac. The aircraft hardstands were aligned diagonally, with buses shuttling passengers to Terminal D, where all Delta Air Lines flights were located. The terminal closed in 1994, when all Comair fligthts were moved to Concourse C. The apron where the planes were parked is still intact, but all passenger facilities have been removed.[52]

Master Plan and expansion[edit]

In 2013, the CVG 2035 Master Plan was released, and outlines the future of CVG, which predicts that Delta will keep about 50-70 daily departures, low-cost carriers will increase dramatically, and passenger service will steadily increase with charter airlines such as Ultimate Air Shuttle. Also, the plan is designed to accommodate an increase in cargo traffic from DHL as it continues to expand, in addition to new businesses and other companies on the airport grounds.[53]

Terminal area[edit]

The master plans outlines a gradual consolidation of facilities, transferring from a Delta hub, to multiple carrier airport. In the plan, Terminal 1 and 2 will be demolished before 2020, and Concourse C will be torn down after Delta's lease expires in 2025. Then, if air travel keeps in the same range, Concourse B will be torn down shortly after. At the same time, a new west wing south of Concourse A will be constructed, and house Delta and other International flights, with a separate train connecting to a customs facility in the main terminal. Then, a new east wing for other carries will be constructed, a house all other flights. Also, a new consolidated rental car facility and parking garages will be constructed, along with an area for Ultimate Air Shuttle located near the old Terminal 1. Most of this construction would be completed by 2035, and would be financed by the airport. If demand increased, a new concourse B would be constructed.[54]

Cargo areas[edit]

The master plan includes an expansion to the DHL facility, with space for up to 16 additional aircraft hardstands spread over 50 acres, as well as an expansion to the warehouse. While upgrading their facilities, DHL will be adding additional equipment to increase sorting capacity. A dedicated FedEx cargo area will be constructed at the old DHL Cargo Area, north of Terminal 1, and the Airline Surveillance Radar (ASR) would be moved west of the airport.[54] The work on DHL's $108 million expansion began in the fall of 2015 and be completed during 2016.[55]

Runways and taxiways[edit]

The plan call for the addition of parallel taxiways on runway 9-27, and 18C-36C, in addition to a widening of runway 9-27 and 18L-36R to accommodate larger aircraft from DHL. Numerous other taxiways will be widened for access to the DHL complex. In the far future, plans for another North to South Runway, and an East to West Runway are included, but would only be needed if massive expansion occurred.[56] As of May 2015, widening of taxiways surrounding the cargo and private hangars area has already begun.[57]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Express TorontoPearson A
Allegiant Air Austin, Baltimore (begins April 29, 2016), Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, Punta Gorda/Fort Myers, Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Fort Walton Beach (begins May 20, 2016), Myrtle Beach
American Eagle Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New YorkJFK, New YorkLaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-National A
Apple Vacations
operated by Allegiant Air
Seasonal Charter: Montego Bay (begins May 21, 2016)[58] B
Apple Vacations
operated by Swift Air
Seasonal Charter: Punta Cana (begins February 14, 2016)[58] B
Apple Vacations
operated by Volaris
Charter: Cancún B
Apple Vacations
operated by Xtra Airways
Charter: Punta Cana B
Bahamasair Seasonal Charter: Freeport B
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Tampa
Seasonal: Cancún, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New YorkLaGuardia, Phoenix, Punta Cana, Seattle/Tacoma
Delta Connection Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, HoustonIntercontinental, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New YorkJFK, New YorkLaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, TorontoPearson, WashingtonNational
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Tampa
Frontier Airlines Denver, Fort Myers, HoustonIntercontinental (begins April 15, 2016),[59] Las Vegas, Los Angeles (begins April 15, 2016),[59] Orlando, Philadelphia (begins May 13, 2016),[59] San Francisco (begins April 14, 2016)[59]
Seasonal: Atlanta, Cancún, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, Punta Cana
A, B
Ultimate Air Shuttle ChicagoMidway, Morristown (NJ) FBO
United Express ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, HoustonIntercontinental, Newark, WashingtonDulles A
Vacation Express
operated by Miami Air International
Seasonal Chater: Punta Cana B
Vacation Express
operated by Sunwing Airlines
Seasonal Charter: Cancún, Freeport, Montego Bay, Punta Cana B
Vacation Express
operated by Xtra Airways
Seasonal Charter: Montego Bay B

Cargo carriers and destinations[edit]

DHL Hub[edit]

In 1984, DHL opened its CVG hub and began operations throughout the U.S. and world. However, in 2004, DHL decided to move its hub to Wilmington, OH in order to compete in the United States shipment business. The plan ended up failing, and moved back to CVG in 2009 to resume its original operations. CVG now serves as one of DHL's three global hubs with over 80 flights each day to destinations across North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific. DHL has recently completed a $105 million expansion and employs approximately 2,500 at CVG. Because of this growth, CVG now stands as the 6th busiest airport in North America based on cargo tonnage and 34th in the world.[60] On May 28, 2015 DHL announced a $108 million expansion to their current facility, which will double the current cargo operations. The money will be used to double the gate capacity for transferring cargo, an expansion to the sorting facility, and various technical improvements, which is all scheduled to be complete by 2016. In addition, this will provide many more jobs for the Cincinnati area, and will dramatically increase the airports operations.[61]

Other carriers[edit]

Besides DHL's very large operation, there is not a large amount of other cargo traffic at the airport, and as a result, FedEx uses the old Terminal 1 for its cargo operations. After Terminal 1 is demolished in 2016, FedEx will move to a new facility north of the passenger area. Delta Cargo, United Cargo, and American Cargo also have operations at the airport, and have areas at their dedicated passenger gates.[62]

Cargo carrier destinations[edit]
Airlines Destinations
AirNet Express ColumbusRickenbacker
Castle Aviation Akron/Canton, Hamilton
DHL Aviation
operated by ABX Air
Atlanta, Baltimore, Calgary, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Greensboro, Guadalajara, Harlingen, Harrisburg, HoustonIntercontinental, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Milwaukee, Monterrey, Newark, New YorkJFK, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle-Boeing, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver
Seasonal: Hartford, Wilmington (OH)
DHL Aviation
operated by Air Transport International
Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Memphis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City
DHL Aviation
operated by Atlas Air
Anchorage, Atlanta, Bahrain, Brussels, Cedar Rapids, Charleston (SC), ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, Detroit, Frankfurt, FrankfurtHahn, Hamilton, Harlingen, Harrisburg, Hartford, Hong Kong, HoustonIntercontinental, Kansas City, Leipzig/Halle, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, NagoyaCentrair, Nashville, Phoenix, Rome (NY), San Francisco, San Diego, SeattleBoeing, TokyoNarita, Vancouver
Seasonal: Grottaglie, McConnell AFB, Paine Field
DHL Aviation
operated by Cargojet Airways
DHL Aviation
operated by DHL Air UK
Brussels, ChicagoO'Hare, East Midlands (UK), Leipzig/Halle, New YorkJFK, ParisCharles de Gaulle
DHL Aviation
operated by Kalitta Air
Anchorage, Austin, Bahrain, Brussels, East Midlands, Hong Kong, Leipzig/Halle, Liège, NagoyaCentrair, SeoulIncheon
Seasonal: DetroitYpsilanti
DHL Aviation
operated by Southern Air
Anchorage, Austin, Bahrain, Calgary, Charlotte, Denver, Harlingen, Hartford, Hong Kong, New YorkJFK, Leipzig/Halle, Orlando, Philadelphia, Rochester, Salt Lake City, SeoulIncheon, St. Louis
DHL Aviation
operated by Polar Air Cargo
Atlanta, Anchorage, Bahrain, Brussels, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Leipzig/Halle, Los Angeles, Miami, NagoyaCentrair, SeoulIncheon, Singapore, TokyoNarita
DHL Express
operated by Air Cargo Carriers
Harrisburg, Richmond
Seasonal: Louisville
DHL Express
operated by Ameriflight
Albany, Bedford, Boston, Buffalo, Cedar Rapids, Dallas/Fort Worth, Lansing, Louisville, Morristown (NJ), Philadelphia-Northeast, Richmond (OH), Richmond (VA), Salt Lake City, Springfield, St. LouisSpirit, WilkesBarre/Scranton
Seasonal: ClevelandCuyahoga, Dayton
DHL Express
operated by Castle Aviation
Akron/Canton, Asheville, Columbia (SC), Hamilton, ColumbusRickenbacker, St. LouisSpirit
DHL Express
operated by Suburban Air Freight
Albany, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, Omaha
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, WashingtonNational

Commercial charters and private aircraft[edit]

CVG, dominated by cargo and commercial flights, has a very minimal, but still existing amount of private aircraft movements. Most businesses and local pilots choose Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport over CVG due to its location and convenience. However, charters have grown rapidly in the past 5 years and has grew to over 50,000 passengers per year. The airport is the hub and headquarters for Delta Private Jets, and is also a hub for Ultimate Air Shuttle, which is headquartered at nearby Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport.

Ultimate Air Shuttle[edit]

Ultimate Air Shuttle is a charter passenger airline which operates flights from CVG to New York and Chicago. Also, Ultimate Air Shuttle services Charlotte and Cleveland from nearby Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport, which can be accessed by a free shuttle. In addition, connection flights from New York can be taken to two leisure destinations including Nantucket Memorial Airport and Martha's Vineyard Airport. Ultimate Air announced last year they had planned to add service to Memphis from CVG, sometime in March 2015, and again confirmed in 2015 that is was looking into Atlanta, Memphis, and Nashville as possible future destinations.[63] The airline is advertised for business use, but many local travelers are starting to use it due to its convenience, as it avoids TSA Security Checks, and the ability to arrive 15 minutes before flight.[64]

Delta Private Jets[edit]

Delta Private Jets is a private aircraft service, which is at aimed at businesses needing service to destinations on a private aircraft, or that the airport does not supply on a regular basis. This service serves the many business of Cincinnati, including many Fortune 500. Delta Private Jet is also available to Elite SkyMile members for an upgrade purchase price of $300800 on select routes from Delta's Cincinnati, Atlanta, and New York hubs. In addition, this service allows travelers to avoid flying hassles such as security.[65] Delta Private Jets is currently located at 82 Comair Boulevard building, which was previously was the Comair headquarters and had the name Comair General Office Building.[66][67]


Overall statistics[edit]
Year Total Passengers  % change Aircraft Movements  % change
1992[68] 11,545,682 305,544
1993[68] 12,213,874 5.79% 312,204 2.18%
1994[68] 13,593,522 11.30% 339,839 8.85%
1995[68] 15,181,728 11.68% 365,114 7.44%
1996[68] 18,795,766 23.81% 401,367 9.93%
1997[68] 19,866,308 5.70% 417,391 3.99%
1998[68] 21,124,216 6.33% 442,276 5.96%
1999[68] 21,753,512 2.98% 476,128 7.65%
2000[68] 22,406,384 3.00% 461,454 3.08%
2001[69] 17,270,475 22.92% 387,462 16.03%
2002[69] 20,812,642 20.51% 486,501 25.56%
2003[70] 21,197,447 1.8% 505,557 3.9%
2004[71] 22,062,557 4.1% 517,520 2.4%
2005[72] 22,778,785 3.2% 496,366 4.1%
2006[73] 16,244,962 28.7% 345,754 30.3%
2007[74] 15,736,220 3.1% 328,059 5.1%
2008[75] 13,630,443 13.4% 285,484 13.0%
2009[76] 10,621,655 22.1% 222,677 22.0%
2010[77] 7,977,588 24.9% 177,597 20.2%
2011[78] 7,034,263 11.8% 161,912 8.8%
2012[79] 6,038,817 14.2% 143,447 11.4%
2013[80] 5,718,255 5.31% 137,671 4.03%
2014[81] 5,908,711 3.33% 133,518 3.02%
2015[82] 6,316,332 6.90% 133,068 0.34%
Top destinations[edit]
Busiest domestic routes from CVG (Nov. 2014 Oct. 2015)[83]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta 322,150 Delta, Frontier
2 ChicagoO'Hare 262,320 American, Delta, United
3 Dallas/Fort Worth 171,670 American, Delta, Frontier
4 Charlotte 165,470 American, Delta, US Airways
5 Orlando 119,790 Delta, Frontier
6 Philadelphia 108,780 American, Delta, US Airways
7 Minneapolis/St. Paul 103,740 Delta
8 Denver 100,990 Delta, Frontier, United
9 Fort Lauderdale 100,740 Allegiant, Delta, Frontier
10 Las Vegas 100,080 Allegiant, Delta, Frontier
Busiest international routes from CVG (Jan. 2014 Dec. 2014 )[84]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Paris, France 108,776 Delta
2 Toronto, Canada 65,048 Air Canada, Delta
3 Cancún, Mexico 26,873 Delta, Frontier, Sunwing
4 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 23,058 Delta, Frontier, Miami, Sunwing
5 Freeport, Bahamas 4,867 Bahamasair, Sunwing
6 Montego Bay, Jamaica 3,484 Sunwing, Xtra
Airline market share[edit]
Largest Airlines at CVG
(Jan. 2014 Dec. 2014)
Rank Carrier Total Flights Percentage
1 Delta Air Lines 60,388 60.40%
2 United Airlines 12,882 12.88%
3 US Airways 11,241 11.24%
4 American Airlines 10,915 10.92%
5 Frontier Airlines 4,867 4.87%
6 Air Canada 1,080 1.08%
7 Allegiant Air 842 0.84%
8 Ultimate Air Shuttle 724 0.72%

Airport buildings and facilities[edit]

Office buildings[edit]

Delta Private Jets is headquartered on the grounds of the airport.[65] The 82 Comair Boulevard building, which houses the Delta Private Jets headquarters, previously was the Comair headquarters and had the name Comair General Office Building.[86]

77 Comair Boulevard formerly served as the corporate headquarters of Comair.[87] The building, with 187,000 square feet (17,400 m2) of space,[88] is on South Airfield Road. In 2010, after the airline began downsizing, it considered leaving the building and moving to another location near the airport. A spokesperson did not disclose how much office space the airline occupied; she said it was planning to reduce its space by 20 to 25 percent.[89] In 2011 Delta Air Lines, parent company of Comair, suggested that Delta could help assist the airport in obtaining a Transportation Security Administration training center, with it being located in 77 Comair Boulevard.[90] In early 2011, Comair vacated the building.[88] In 2012 the Kenton County Airport Board (KCAB) approved a five-year lease, with two five-year options, for Southern Air for about 33,100 square feet (3,080 m2) of space in 77 Comair Boulevard. For the first period, the rent would be $9.95 per square foot. This would increase to $12 per square foot for the second period and $15 per square foot for the third period. The airport plans to spend $500,000 in capital improvements on 77 Comair Boulevard.[87] After Terminal 1 is demolished in December 2015, the KCAB will relocate their offices into the building.

Maintenance bases[edit]

The airport is home to many maintenance bases due to the substantial operations of several carriers at the airport. Delta Air Lines has hangar and line maintenance facility for its primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm, Delta TechOps.[91] Also, Allegiant Air will have a crew and maintenance base located at CVG by January 2016. On August 5, 2015, PSA Airlines, a subsidiary of American Eagle, announced plans to build a maintenance base at CVG due to the growing demand at CVG.[92]

Ground transportation[edit]

TANK provides bus service from the airport to Downtown Cincinnati via Route 2X. Car rental services are provided by Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty. The airport has three Short Term Parking Garages, 1-3, which were originally used for each terminal respectively. Garage 1 is now used for complementary parking for passengers on Ultimate Air Shuttle, while Garage 2 and 3 are used for all other passengers in the Main Terminal (Terminal 3). The Short Term Parking areas are designated by fruit names: Level 1- Orange, Level 2- Lemon, Level 3- Lime, Level 4- Cherry, and Level 5- Grape. Long Term Parking is remote from the terminal, so passengers must use a shuttle bus between the terminals and Long Term Parking lot.



Up until 2015, CVG consistently ranked among the most expensive major airports in the United States.[93] Delta operated over 75% of flights at CVG, a fact often cited as a reason for relatively high domestic ticket prices.[94] Airline officials have suggested that Delta practices predatory pricing to drive away discount airlines.[93][95] From 1990 to 2003, ten discount airlines began service at CVG, only to later pull out,[96] including Vanguard Airlines, which pulled out of CVG twice.[97] Delta maintains that its pricing is reasonable, considering the increased connectivity and non-stop flights that a hub airport offers a market the size of Cincinnati.[96]

In 2003, a study commissioned by CVG found that 18% of Cincinnati-area residents use one of five nearby airports  Dayton, Louisville, Port Columbus, Indianapolis, or Blue Grass (Lexington)  instead of CVG because passengers can find fares up to 50% lower at these nearby airports.[96] However, due to Delta downsizing its hub operations and Allegiant and Frontier increasing flights, many more residents are choosing CVG, and have helped sustain low cost carriers at CVG for the first time.[98]

In the 4th Quarter of 2014, CVG dropped from being the most expensive airport at $514 to $485, making the airport now the third highest. This is the lowest the airport has been since 2011, and is a result of Allegiant and Frontier increasing flights, along with Delta trying to attract local customers rather than connect passengers. CVG had the 5th largest drop in airfare prices in the country, and with more expansion of LCCs at the airport, will likely drop even more.[99]

In June 2015, CheapFligths.com released their list of the cheapest U.S. airports based on average price to the 101 most popular destinations in the U.S., and ranked CVG as number one, with an average price of $199. CVG was ranked 77th last year, and the dramatic change is due to Frontier and Allegiant rapidly increasing flights.[100]

In the 2nd Quarter of 2015, CVG dropped from an average price of $528 to $436, putting CVG at number 20 of the 100 bussiest airports in the U.S. This is due mostly to expansion by Allegiant Air along with increased copetition between Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. This quarter ended a 5-year streak of placing in the top 3 highest priced airports in the country. Although Frontier has recently expanded, theyy had just reduced their schedule during the second quarter, so CVG is expected to drop down even more once Frontier's new routes begin.[101]

Industrial murals[edit]

The airport is home to 14 large Art Deco murals created for the train concourse building at Cincinnati Union Terminal during the station's construction in 1932. Mosaic murals depicting people at work in local Cincinnati workplaces were incorporated into the interior design of the railroad station by Winold Reiss, a German-born artist with a reputation in interior design.

When the train concourse building was designated for demolition in 1972, a "Save the Terminal Committee" raised funds to remove and transport the 14 murals in the concourse to new locations in the Airport. They were placed in Terminal 1, as well as Terminals 2 and 3, which were then being constructed as part of a major airport expansion and renovation.

The murals were also featured in a scene in the film Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. In addition, a walkway to one of the terminals at CVG was featured in the scene in the film when Hoffman's character, Raymond, refused to fly on a plane.

On May 19, 2015, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the 9 murals located in the old Terminals 1 & 2 will be relocated to the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati.[102]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On January 12, 1955, 1955 Cincinnati mid-air collision, a Martin 2-0-2 was in the take off phase of departure from the airport when it collided with a privately owned Castleton Farm's DC-3. The mid-air collision killed 13 people on the commercial airliner and 2 on the privately owned planes.
  • On November 14, 1961, Zantop cargo flight, a DC-4, crashed near runway 18 into an apple orchard. The crew survived.
  • On November 8, 1965, American Airlines Flight 383, a Boeing 727, crashed on approach to runway 18, killing 58 (53 passengers and 5 crew) of the 62 (56 passengers and 6 crew) on board.
  • On November 6, 1967, TWA Flight 159, a Boeing 707, overran the runway during an aborted takeoff, injuring 11 of the 29 passengers. One of the injured passengers died four days later. The seven crew members were unhurt.
  • On November 20, 1967, TWA Flight 128, a Convair 880, crashed on approach to runway 18, killing 70 (65 passengers and 5 crew) of the 82 persons aboard (75 passengers and 7 crew).
  • On October 8, 1979, Comair Flight 444, a Piper Navajo, crashed shortly after takeoff. Seven passengers and the pilot were killed.
  • On October 19, 1979, Burlington Airways, a Twin Beech twin prop crashed landed on KY 237 @ I-275 bridge overpass. Tail # N24K. No one was injured.[103]
  • On June 2, 1983, Air Canada Flight 797, a DC-9 flying on Dallas-Toronto-Montreal route, made an emergency landing at Cincinnati due to a cabin fire. Twenty-three of the 41 passengers died of smoke inhalation or fire injuries, including legendary Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers. All five crew members survived.
  • On August 13, 2004, Air Tahoma Flight 185, a Convair 580, was en route to Cincinnati from Memphis, Tennessee, carrying freight under contract for DHL Worldwide Express. The aircraft crashed on a golf course just south of the Cincinnati airport due to fuel starvation and dual engine failure, killing the first officer and injuring the captain.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

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