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Op-Ed: CVG end of the year report

by Candace McGraw, CEO of CVP Airport

Over the last several years, we have collectively experienced unimaginable change brought on by the pandemic. All industries were impacted including travel and aviation. However, as we near the end of 2022, I am pleased to share that the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, CVG, has come roaring back to life—leading our regional economic rebound along the way.

Guided by a strategic plan, New Heights, CVG remains steadfast in our vision that sees the airport as the catalyst to transform our region. We continue to focus on business diversification and economic growth at and beyond the airport for the benefit of all of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

The airport authority and companies doing business at CVG collectively employ more than 16,000 people. With a $6.8 billion annual economic impact, more than 47,000 direct and indirect jobs are supported in the region because of CVG.

Air service is critical to our mission—to serve the region’s business and leisure travel needs. This year, we were pleased that passenger numbers have nearly returned to 2019 levels. Air Canada returned to CVG with service to Toronto while Delta resumed flying to Paris-Charles de Gaulle in August. Frontier restarted service to Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Raleigh-Durham while American Airlines announced it will start service to Raleigh-Durham in January—its 12th nonstop destination from CVG. New to CVG, Breeze Airways, announced it will begin service to four markets next year: Charleston, South Carolina; San Francisco, California; Orange County, California; and Providence, Rhode Island. And in November, we were proud to announce that British Airways will begin service to London Heathrow starting next June—a coveted flight that is estimated to have a $57 million economic impact annually.

CVG is the epicenter of e-commerce in the United States. As North America’s 7th largest cargo airport and the world’s 18th largest, cargo volume grew by 111 percent between 2015 and 2021. In 2022, CVG continued to be one of the fastest-growing cargo airports in the world. We have eclipsed nearly 2 million tons of volume over the last 12 months with DHL and Amazon continuing to grow. This success begets growth in related industries, too. FEAM Aero, an aircraft maintenance company with one hangar and more than 300 employees at CVG already, broke ground on a second hangar this fall—a $47 million investment that will create at least 200 new, good-paying jobs for our community.

On the business side of the airport authority, operational excellence remains our focus. Capital investments continue with airfield rehabilitation, upcoming replacement of many jet bridges, improvements to the baggage handling system, and service enhancements at our rental car facility, which has now been in operation for more than a year. We are focused on leading our industry to improve energy efficiency and sustainability, such as bringing sustainable aviation fuel production to our region. We are also committed to innovation and engaging with startups and university talent to deploy new tech that improves the customer experience and advances the future of aviation, such as through advanced air mobility and drones. As operator of the Miami University Airport in Oxford, Ohio, we are also focused on improving the aviation infrastructure and services offered in Butler County and beyond.

We close out 2022 having celebrated 75 years of commercial air service at CVG. Since that first commercial flight on January 10, 1947, much has changed. CVG is proud to end this year with region-leading low average airfares, 50+ nonstop destinations for our community, including several international markets, and continued cargo and economic growth. Our airport is an asset that has helped lead regional recovery coming out of the pandemic. We are proud to serve in this role and will continue these efforts into 2023 and beyond.

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