Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
|Owner/Operator||Kenton County Airport Board|
|Serves||Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky|
|Location||2939 Terminal Drive|
Hebron, Kentucky, U.S.
|Opened||October 27, 1946|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||896 ft / 273 m|
FAA airport diagram
Source: CVG Airport
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 Cincinnati tri-state area. The airport's code, CVG, comes from the nearest city at the time of its opening, Covington, Kentucky. CVG covers an area of 7,700 acres (3,100 ha).
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport offers non-stop passenger service to over 50 destinations in North America and Europe. The airport is a global hub for Amazon Air, Atlas Air, ABX Air, Kalitta Air, Southern Air, and DHL Aviation, handling numerous domestic and international cargo flights every day. CVG is currently the 7th busiest airport in the United States by cargo traffic, and is additionally the fastest-growing cargo airport in North America.
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. However, this was not before the first regularly scheduled air freight shipment in the United States arrived in mid-September, signalling the future importance of the airport.
On October 27, 1946, a small wooden terminal building opened and the airport prepared for commercial service under the name Greater Cincinnati Airport. 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 north-south 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 both 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 north-south runway was extended from 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 east-west runway crossing the longer north-south runway was constructed in 1971 south of the older east-west runway.
In 1977, before the Airline Deregulation Act was passed, CVG, like many small airports, anticipated the loss of numerous flights; creating the opportunity for Patrick Sowers, Robert Tranter, and 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, which 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 York-JFK, 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 opened 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 a 64-mile flight to Dayton, to a daily nonstop to Honolulu and Anchorage, to numerous transatlantic destinations including Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Munich, Paris, Rome, and Zürich. Additionally, Air France operated flights into CVG for several periods for over a decade before finally terminating the service in 2007.
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; 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. Concourse C, opened in 1994 at a cost of $50 million, was permanently closed in 2008 and demolished in 2016. Further reductions in early 2010 caused Delta to close Concourse A in Terminal 3 on May 1, consolidating all operations into Concourse B. This resulted in the layoff of more than 800 employees.
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. And following a further slew of cuts, Delta officially closed its hub at CVG in December 2017 after deemphasizing it since completing its merger with Northwest Airlines in 2010 and it was downgraded to a focus city. In April 2021, Delta officially closed it's focused city at CVG and it also closed Endeavor's base at the airport in the process and closing Delta's crew base. The focus city was closed because of COVID-19 restrictions and because CVG was deemed unprofitable compared to Raleigh-Durham, leaving Raleigh as the sole focus city for the airline. Endeavor Air is the sole regional carrier operating for Delta Air Lines at CVG.
Until 2015, CVG consistently ranked among the most expensive major airports in the United States. Delta operated over 75% of flights at CVG, a fact often cited as a reason for relatively high domestic ticket prices. Airline officials suggested that Delta was practicing predatory pricing to drive away discount airlines. From 1990 to 2003, ten discount airlines began service at CVG, but later pulled out, including Vanguard Airlines, which pulled out of CVG twice. In 2003, a study commissioned by CVG found that 18% of Cincinnati-area residents use one of five nearby airports including Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington, or Louisville instead of CVG because passengers could find fares up to 50 percent lower at these nearby airports. However, because Delta downsized its hub operations and Allegiant, Frontier, and Southwest increased flights, many more residents are choosing CVG, and have helped sustain low cost carriers at CVG for the first time.
Terminal 2 was closed in May 2012, and CVG consolidated all non-Delta airlines to Concourse A in Terminal 3 at that time, which became the sole terminal. Since then, several low cost carriers have begun operations at CVG and have created more competition.
Terminals 1 and 2 were torn down in early 2017 to construct an overnight parking and deicing area. Both concourses, the customs facility, baggage claim, and ticketing areas were renovated in late 2017 to mid 2018 under a $4.5 million plan.
In May 2021, both Alaska Airlines and Sun Country Airlines launched flights out of CVG. On May 14, Sun Country launched seasonal flights to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Then on May 20, Alaska launched daily nonstop flights to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport utilizing their Boeing 737-900ERs. Both airlines compete with Delta on their respective routes.
Amazon Air is currently developing 1,129 acres (457 ha) of land at CVG in order to construct a 3,000,000 sq ft (280,000 m2) sorting facility and ramp space for over 100 aircraft. The first phase is scheduled to open sometime in 2021.
In June 2021, American Airlines announced that they will be launching nonstop flights from CVG to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Logan International Airport. Flights to Austin launch on September 8, 2021. Following suit, flights to Boston launch on November 2, 2021. American will compete with Delta Air Lines on both routes.
The airport has one terminal and two concourses with a total of 50 gates. Both concourses are islands and are only reachable by an underground moving walkway or people mover. All international arrivals without pre-clearance are handled in Concourse B. Concourse B also contains a Delta Sky Club.
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 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. The nine murals located in the former Terminals 1 & 2 was relocated to the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati.
Additionally, there are several pieces of Charley Harper artwork in the Concourse B food court.
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 beings 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 4th 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 airport's 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 1,129 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.
|Allegiant Air|| Austin, Charleston (SC), Denver, Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville (FL), Key West, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Newark, New Orleans, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, Punta Gorda (FL), Sarasota, Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, West Palm Beach|
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach, Norfolk, Providence
|American Airlines|| Dallas/Fort Worth|
Seasonal: Charlotte, Phoenix-Sky Harbor
|American Eagle||Austin (begins September 8, 2021), Boston (begins November 2, 2021), Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-National|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Boston (resumes October 4, 2021), Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa|||
|Delta Connection||Austin (resumes September 8, 2021), Baltimore, Boston (ends October 3, 2021), Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Washington-National|||
|Frontier Airlines|| Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa|
Seasonal: Cancún, New Orleans
|Southwest Airlines|| Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Houston-Hobby, Orlando, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Tampa |
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Sarasota
|Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul|||
|United Airlines|| Chicago-O'Hare|
Seasonal: Denver, Houston-Intercontinental
|United Express|| Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles|
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Hilton Head, Pensacola, Portland (ME)
|VivaAerobús||Seasonal: Cancún, San José del Cabo|||
|Amazon Air||Allentown/Bethlehem, Austin, Chicago-O'Hare, Chicago/Rockford, Denver, Fort Worth/Alliance, Hartford, Houston-Intercontinental, Lakeland (FL), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Ontario, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Stockton, St. Louis, Tampa|
|Cargojet||Calgary, Edmonton, Guadalajara, Hamilton (ON), London-Heathrow, Mexico City, Monterrey, Montréal-Mirabel, Vancouver|
|Castle Aviation||Akron/Canton, Hamilton, Indianapolis-South Greenwood|||
|DHL Aviation||Albany, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Bahrain, Baltimore, Bogotá, Boston, Brussels, Calgary, Cedar Rapids, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, East Midlands, Edmonton, El Paso, Greensboro, Guadalajara, Hamilton (ON), Harlingen, Harrisburg, Hartford, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Kansas City, Leipzig/Halle, Laredo, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Monterrey, Montréal-Mirabel, Moscow-Domodedovo, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Nagoya-Centrair, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, New York-JFK, Omaha, Oscoda, Orlando, Panama City-Tocumen, Philadelphia, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Querétaro, Richmond, Rochester, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Sacramento-Mather, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San José de Costa Rica, San Juan (PR), San Pedro Sula, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, St. John's, St. Louis, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Tulsa, Vancouver, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Winnipeg|
| Louisville, Memphis|
Seasonal: Detroit, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||142,910||Delta, Frontier|
|2||Denver, Colorado||106,760||Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United|
|3||Orlando, Florida||90,720||Delta, Frontier, Southwest|
|4||Charlotte, North Carolina||78,450||American|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||76,750||American, Delta, Frontier|
|6||Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois||66,230||American, Delta, United|
|7||Las Vegas, Nevada||59,200||Allegiant, Delta, Frontier|
|8||Fort Myers, Florida||57,200||Delta, Frontier, Southwest|
|9||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||47,790||Allegiant, Delta|
|10||Tampa, Florida||47,140||Delta, Frontier, Southwest|
|1||Anchorage, Alaska||38,686,878||AirBridgeCargo, DHL|
|2||Leipzig/Halle, Germany||14,447,211||AirBridgeCargo, DHL|
|3||Miami, Florida||14,427,248||Amazon, American, DHL|
|4||Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois||10,341,326||Amazon, American, Delta, DHL, United|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||8,819,609||Amazon, American, Delta, DHL|
|6||Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Arizona||8,431,588||Amazon, Delta, DHL|
|7||Brussels, Belgium||8,223,096||AirBridgeCargo, DHL|
|8||Guadalajara, Mexico||7,990,928||AeroUnion, Cargojet, DHL|
|9||Houston, Texas||7,066,885||Amazon, Delta, DHL, United|
|2||Delta Air Lines||572,000||20.52%|
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.