Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
|Owner||Kenton County Airport Board|
|Operator||Kenton County Airport Board|
|Serves||Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky|
|Location||2939 Terminal Drive|
Hebron, Kentucky, U.S.
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||896 ft / 273 m|
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (IATA: CVG, ICAO: KCVG, FAA LID: CVG) is a public international airport located in Hebron, Kentucky, United States. It serves the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area. The airport's code, CVG, comes from the nearest city at the time of its opening, Covington, Kentucky. CVG covers an area of 7,000 acres (28.3 km2; 10.9 sq mi). The airport houses the headquarters for Amazon Air, Delta Private Jets, DHL Americas, and Southern Air.
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport offers non-stop passenger service to 62 destinations on 180-190 peak daily departures. The airport is a focus city for Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, and Frontier Airlines, as well as being the largest market for Vacation Express. The airport's international destinations include Cancún, Cozumel, Freeport, Montego Bay, Paris, Punta Cana, San José del Cabo, and Toronto.
In addition, CVG is the fastest-growing cargo airport in North America. The airport is a global hub for both Amazon Air and DHL Aviation, handling numerous domestic and international cargo flights every day. Overall, CVG ranks 4th in North America for total cargo operations.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved preliminary funds for site development of the Greater Cincinnati Airport on 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 on Lunken Airport just southeast of central Cincinnati. Lunken opened in 1926 in the Ohio River Valley; it frequently experienced fog, and the 1937 flood submerged its runways and two-story terminal building. Federal officials wanted an airfield site that would not be prone to flooding, but Cincinnati officials hoped to build Lunken into the region's main airport.
Officials from Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties in Kentucky took advantage of Cincinnati's short-sightedness and lobbied Congress to build an airfield there. 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 build four runways.
The field 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 it was declared surplus in 1945.
On October 27, 1946, a small wooden terminal building opened and the airport prepared for commercial service. Boone County Airlines was the first airline to provide scheduled service from the airport and had its headquarters at the airport.
The first commercial flight, an American Airlines DC-3 from Cleveland, landed on January 10, 1947, at 9:53 am. A Delta Air Lines flight followed moments later. 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 expansion of a site in Blue Ash to compete with the Greater Cincinnati Airport and replace Lunken as the city's primary airport. The city purchased Hugh Watson Field in 1955, turning it into Blue Ash Airport. The city's Blue Ash plans were hampered by community opposition, three failed Hamilton County bond measures, political infighting, and Cincinnati's decision not to participate in the federal airfield program.
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. A new eastwest runway crossing the longer northsouth runway was constructed in 1971 south of the older eastwest runway.
In 1977, before the Airline Deregulation Act was passed, CVG, like many small airports, anticipated the loss of a lot of flights; creating the opportunity for Patrick Sowers, Robert Tranter, David and Raymound Muller to establish Comair to fill the void. The airline began service to Akron/Canton, Cleveland, and Evansville. In 1981, Comair became a public company, added 30-seat turboprops 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 Cincinnati to Toronto. In 1992, Comair moved into Concourse C, as Delta Air Lines gradually continued to acquire more of the airlines stock. In 1993, Comair was the launch customer for the Canadair Regional Jet, of 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.
In 1988, two founders of Comair, Patrick Sowers and Robert Tranter, launched a new scheduled airline from CVG named Enterprise Airlines, that served 16 cities at its peak. The airline spearheaded the regional jet revolution in a unique manner by operating 10-seat Cessna Citation business jets in scheduled services. The flights became popular with Cincinnati companies. The airline served destinations including Baltimore, Boston, Cedar Rapids, Columbus (OH), Green Bay, Greensboro, Greenville, Hartford, Memphis, Milwaukee, New YorkJFK, and Wilmington (NC). The airline also became the first international feed carrier by feeding the British Airways Concorde at JFK. In 1991, the airline ceased operations because of high fuel prices and the suspension of the British Airways contract after the first Gulf War.
In the mid-1980s, Delta created a hub in Cincinnati and constructed Terminal C and D with 22 gates. Delta followed this up in the early 1990s by spending $550 million constructing Terminal 3 with Concourses A and B and C. During the decade, Delta ramped up both mainline and Comair operations and established Delta Connection. This dramatically increased the aircraft operations from around 300,000 to 500,000 yearly aircraft movements. In turn, passenger volumes doubled within a decade from 10 million to over 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 flights daily in 2005. It was the fourth largest hub in the world for a single airline, based on departures, ranking only behind Atlanta, Chicago-O'Hare, and Dallas/Fort Worth. The hub served everything from the 64 mile CVG-DAY, to a daily nonstop to Honolulu and Anchorage, to numerous transatlantic destinations including Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Rome, and Zürich. Delta was also planning on launching Asia service to CVG, beginning with BeijingCapital, then expanding to TokyoNarita and ShanghaiPudong eventually; however, launch plans were delayed in 2002 due to slot restrictions and eventually stopped after the bankruptcy.
When Delta went into bankruptcy in September 2005, a large reduction at CVG eliminated most early-morning and night flights. These initial cuts caused additional routes to become unprofitable, causing the frequency of low-volume routes to be further cut from 2006 to 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 service. 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.
Many businesses in Cincinnati had 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 relocated to cities with more available flights. 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. Air France operated flights into CVG for several periods for over a decade before finally terminating the service in 2007.
In January 2010, Delta's then-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. 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. A further 10% cut in capacity followed in the summer of 2011, reducing the hub operation to around 145165 daily flights.
After several years of cuts to its older fleet, which were cited as being cut due to high costs associated with rising oil prices, Delta's wholly owned and CVG-based subsidiary, Comair, ceased all operations in September 2012, ending over three decades of operations. Delta transferred Comair's larger planes to other carriers and retired some of its 50-seat planes, while others, still bearing the original Comair "CA" and OH" registration numbers, remain flying for other Delta Connection carriers. Endeavor Air now has a maintenance base at the airport and is the main regional carrier for Delta Air Lines at CVG.
Frontier Airlines announced it would begin service from CVG in October 2012 with a daily flight to Denver, becoming the first modern attempt at bringing a low-cost carrier into CVG. Previous low-cost carriers had been unsuccessful due to fierce competition from the Delta hub. The flight was a success, and since then, Frontier has expanded service to 20 cites total. Allegiant Air began service in February 2014 to Orlando/Sanford and Punta Gorda (FL). Since then, Allegiant has added routes to 21 non-stop destinations. In July 2015, Allegiant Air announced plans to make CVG its midwestern base of operations with four based Airbus A319s and 90 new jobs for pilots, flight attendants, and service workers. Allegiant has since upgraded from Airbus 319's to Airbus 320's at CVG.
Since 2015, CVG has seen significant growth in both legacy and low-cost carrier service. United Airlines added mainline flights to Denver, ChicagoO'Hare, San Francisco and removed all 50-seat regional planes on its routes. American Airlines added mainline service between CVG and Dallas/Fort Worth. Meanwhile, Delta has been expanding at CVG for the first time since it began capacity cuts in late 2005. Delta has added frequency and capacity on over a dozen routes, and has resumed service to cities such as Seattle, Austin and Phoenix. 
Southwest Airlines began service to CVG in 2017 with flights to Baltimore and ChicagoMidway. Since then, Phoenix has been announced as a new seasonal nonstop service that began in March 2018, along with year-round flights to Denver in August.
CVG is one of the busiest airports in the US in terms of cargo. When the passenger service left, the cargo service moved from Wilmington Air Park to CVG. Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, ABX Air, Air Transport International, DHL, Amazon Air, Southern Air, Polar Air, and AeroLogic all have major operations out of the airport.
CVG is currently working on a 2050 master plan in order to prepare for dramatic increases in passenger and cargo activity at the airport. By 2021, the airport hopes to increase cargo activity, grow traffic to 9 million annual passengers, and construct a new consolidated rental car facility.
Terminals 1 and 2 were torn down in early 2017 to construct an overnight parking and deicing area, while work will begin on a new consolidated rental car facility in 2018. Both concourses, the customs facility, baggage claim, and ticketing areas will be renovated in late 2017 to mid 2018 under a $4.5 million plan. American Airlines moved to Concourse B in April 2018 to allow for apron work at Concourse A. The airport will also add 16 new concession and retail locations in anticipation for 9 million passengers in 2018.
Amazon Air will develop 1129 acres of land at CVG in order to construct a 3 million sq. ft. sorting facility and ramp space for over 100 aircraft. Also, the Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR) will be moved west of the airport to accommodate future DHL expansion. The work on DHL's $108-million expansion began in the fall of 2015 and was completed in November 2016. Runways 09-27 and 18L-36R are planned to be widened to 200 ft (61 m) in 2019 to accommodate larger aircraft. Numerous other taxiways will be widened for access to the Amazon and DHL complexes.
The main terminal security checkpoint is on the ticketing level and 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 houses Air Canada, Allegiant Air, Frontier, Southwest, and United. Concourse A was built as an extension of Terminal C in 1982 and was used by Delta, Continental, and Northwest until 2010, when Delta terminated its lease on the concourse. Shortly thereafter, the concourse underwent an extensive renovation before reopening on May 15, 2012. Concourse A is an island and is only reachable by an underground moving walkway or people mover. The concourse contains 23 gates and some of the KCAB airport board offices.
Concourse B houses American, Apple Vacations, Delta, and Vacation Express. The concourse houses a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility and handles all international arrivals without preclearance. Concourse B is an island and is only reachable by an underground moving walkway or people mover. The concourse contains 28 gates and a Delta Sky Club.
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. Subsidiary of Delta, Endeavor Air, maintains a maintenance base in the old Comair hangars. Also, Allegiant Air has a crew and maintenance base located at CVG, while PSA Airlines, a subsidiary of American Eagle, has a maintenance base at CVG. FEAM Aero is building a maintinence, repair, and overhaul facility at the airport to serve Amazon and DHL's CVG based aircraft.
The former corporate headquarters of Comair was located at 77 Comair Boulevard and currently houses Amazon Air, DHL Aviation, and some of the KCAB airport board offices. The building, with 187,000 square feet (17,400 m2) of space, is on South Airfield Road. In early 2011, Comair vacated the building.
|Air Canada Express||TorontoPearson|||
|Allegiant Air|| Austin, Charleston (SC), Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville (FL), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Newark, New Orleans, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, Punta Gorda (FL), Sarasota, Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater|
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, San Juan
|American Airlines||Dallas/Fort Worth|||
|American Eagle||Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New YorkJFK, New YorkLaGuardia, Philadelphia, WashingtonNational|||
|Apple Vacations|| Charter: Cancún, Punta Cana|
Seasonal Charter: Montego Bay
|Delta Air Lines|| Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, WashingtonNational (resumes September 9, 2019)|
Seasonal: Cancún, Detroit, New YorkLaGuardia, PhoenixSky Harbor
|Delta Connection|| Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Hartford, HoustonIntercontinental, Kansas City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New YorkJFK, New YorkLaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis|
Seasonal: Denver, Fort Myers, Tampa, TorontoPearson, WashingtonNational
|Frontier Airlines|| Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa|
Seasonal: Atlanta, Austin, Cancún, Dallas/Fort Worth, Jacksonville (FL), Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New YorkLaGuardia, Philadelphia, PhoenixSky Harbor, Punta Cana (begins January 11, 2019), Raleigh/Durham, San Diego, San Francisco (resumes June 2, 2019)
|Southwest Airlines|| Baltimore, ChicagoMidway, Denver|
Seasonal: Orlando (begins March 9, 2019), PhoenixSky Harbor
|United Airlines|| Denver, San Francisco|
Seasonal: ChicagoO'Hare, HoustonIntercontinental, WashingtonDulles
|United Express|| ChicagoO'Hare, HoustonIntercontinental, Newark, WashingtonDulles|
|Vacation Express|| Charter: Cancún, Punta Cana|
Seasonal Charter: Cozumel, Freeport, San José del Cabo (begins May 26, 2019), Montego Bay
|Domestic Destinations map|
|International Destinations map|
|AeroUnion||Guadalajara, Mexico City, Querétaro|||
|Amazon Air||Allentown/Bethlehem, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago/Rockford, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Hartford, HoustonIntercontinental, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Ontario, PhoenixSky Harbor, Portland (OR), San AntonioLackland, Seattle/Tacoma, Stockton, Tampa|
|Castle Aviation||Akron/Canton, Hamilton|||
|DHL Aviation||Albany, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin,1 Bahrain, Baltimore, Bedford, Boston, Brussels, Buffalo, Calgary, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, ClevelandCuyahoga, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, East Midlands, Edmonton, El Paso, Greensboro, Guadalajara, Hamilton, Harlingen, Harrisburg, Hartford,2 Hong Kong, Honolulu, HoustonIntercontinental, Kansas City, Leipzig/Halle, Laredo,3 Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, MiamiOpa Locka, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Monterrey, MontréalMirabel, NagoyaCentrair, Nashville, New Orleans,4 Newark, New YorkJFK, Omaha, Orlando, Philadelphia, PhiladelphiaNortheast, PhoenixSky Harbor, Querétaro, Richmond (VA), Rochester, SacramentoMather,5 Salt Lake City, San Antonio,6 San Diego,7 San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle/Tacoma, SeoulIncheon, St. Louis, St. LouisSpirit, TokyoNarita, Tulsa, Vancouver, WilkesBarre/Scranton, Winnipeg8|
|FedEx Express||Louisville, Memphis|||
^1 DHL makes a stop in Tulsa before continuing to Austin, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Tulsa and Austin.
^2 DHL makes a stop in Rochester before continuing to Hartford, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Rochester and Hartford.
^3 DHL makes a stop in El Paso before continuing to Laredo, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between El Paso and Laredo.
^4 DHL makes a stop in Houston before continuing to New Orleans, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Houston and New Orleans.
^5 DHL makes a stop in Salt Lake City before continuing to SacramentoMather, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Salt Lake City and SacramentoMather.
^6 DHL makes a stop in Dallas/Fort Worth before continuing to San Antonio, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio.
^7 DHL makes a stop in Phoenix before continuing to San Diego, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Phoenix and San Diego.
^8 DHL makes a stop in Milwaukee before continuing to Winnipeg, however, they do not have rights to carry cargo solely between Milwaukee and Winnipeg.
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, Ohio, 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 the largest of DHL's three global hubs (The other two being Leipzig/Halle and Hong Kong) with 84 flights each day to destinations across North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific. DHL has completed a $105-million expansion and employs approximately 2,500 at CVG. Because of this growth, CVG now stands as the 5th busiest airport in North America based on cargo tonnage and 34th in the world.
On May 28, 2015 DHL announced a $108-million expansion to its current facility, which doubled the current cargo operations. The money was used to double the gate capacity for transferring cargo, an expansion to the sorting facility, and various technical improvements, which was completed in Autumn 2016. In addition, this has provided many more jobs for the Cincinnati area, and will dramatically increase the airports operations.
On January 31, 2017, Amazon announced that Amazon Air would begin a $1.49-billion expansion to create a worldwide shipping hub at CVG. The hub will be Amazon's principal shipping hub and will be constructed on 1129 acres of land at the airport with a 3 million square-ft sorting facility and parking positions for over 100 aircraft. On April 30, 2017, Amazon began operations at CVG, and will incrementally base 40 Boeing 767-200ER's/300ER's at CVG, and will use DHL's facilities until construction is complete. Amazon plans to have 200 daily takeoffs and landings from its CVG hub to destinations across the U.S. and internationally. The hub could create up to 15,000 jobs in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.
|Year||Passengers||Change (%)||Aircraft movements||Cargo tonnage|
|2018||8,196,651 (YTD)||13.77%||148,459 (YTD)||1,120,180 (YTD)|
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||372,000||Delta, Frontier|
|2||ChicagoO'Hare, Illinois||302,000||American, Delta, United|
|3||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||186,000||American, Delta, Frontier|
|4||Denver, Colorado||179,000||Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United|
|5||New YorkLaGuardia, New York||179,000||American, Delta, Frontier|
|6||Orlando, Florida||174,000||Delta, Frontier|
|8||Newark, New Jersey||152,000||Allegiant, Delta, United|
|9||Charlotte, North Carolina||150,000||American, Delta|
|10||Las Vegas, Nevada||147,000||Allegiant, Delta, Frontier|
|3||Miami, Florida||10,424,777||Amazon, DHL|
|4||PhoenixSky Harbor, Arizona||9,033,696||Amazon, DHL|
|6||Seattle/Tacoma, Washington||7,373,730||Amazon, DHL|
|8||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||7,325,359||Amazon, DHL|
|10||HoustonIntercontinental, Texas||7,066,885||Amazon, DHL|
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Cincinnati City Council voted 8-1 Wednesday for an agreement to sell 128 acres of the approximately 230-acre airport to the city of Blue Ash.... The city of Cincinnati purchased the airport, located six air miles northeast of Cincinnati, in 1946 from a private company that had been using it as an airfield since 1921. Cincinnati officials intended to use the land to build a new commercial airport after 1937 Flood completely submerged Lunken Field in the East End, then the only airport with commercial flights in the area. A series of failed bond issues and political infighting and Northern Kentucky politicians' successes at securing federal funding wound up with the region's major airport being developed in Boone County.
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