Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport looks to reinvent after loss of Delta hub

07/11/2014 03:41 PM

HEBRON – The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) has seen two thirds of its passenger flights disappear over the past nine years due to airline company mergers and deregulation.

For years, Delta operated a major hub out of CVG which brought in over 600 flights a day which brought millions of passengers passing through the airport annually as well as thousands of jobs to the Northern Kentucky area.

Many companies located to the region because of the number of non-stop Delta flights that existed. Now, with the Delta hub gone as a result of that airlines merger with Northwest, CVG finds itself trying to reinvent itself for 2014 and beyond.

Some low cost carriers have picked up the slack but the reality is that CVG will never have 600 passenger flights and 20 million annual passengers passing through ever again.

CVG Chief Executive Officer Candace McGraw is overseeing the airports transformation from primarily a major connector hub to more local travelers.

“We’re about 80 percent local and about 20 percent connect,” McGraw said. “Actually, having a strong local market is more sustainable to the airport over the long haul.”

With the realization that the airport will never offer the number of flights that it did nine years ago, there is concern that some businesses—who in past years have said that the number of flights at CVG was a primary reason that they moved to the area—might leave or the downsizing of Delta’s schedule might effect the prospects of businesses considering the area.

CVG Airport Board Chair Bill Robinson says that airport officials are in constant contact with area business leaders about what their airport needs are.

“We’re getting input from the business community all the time,” Robinson said. “All of our major corporations use this airport on a regular basis and depend on this airport and we’re very committed to provide them with efficient, effective air transportation as we’ve provided them in the past.”

CVG’s landing fees have decreased 30 percent from $3.97 to $2.75, for calendar years 2014 and 2015 which provides stability for carriers who use CVG.

The airport employs 10,000 workers, which is 6000 less than it was when Delta operated their major hub. In addition, 16000 other jobs in the area are related to the airport.

SkyTrax, an independent London research firm, has named CVG as Best Regional airport for four consecutive years.


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