McGraw’s plan to turn around an airport that had seen nine consecutive years of passenger decline was complex.
The year was 2005. Jobs were shuttered due to Delta Air Lines pulling its hub away from CVG, flights were cut, DHL moved its hub to nearby Wilmington, and airfare rates were sky-high. The future of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport looked bleak.
Kershner said it was at that moment that airport officials knew they’d have to reinvent CVG.
“Really got to work, put together a strategic plan that was diversifying our operations,” Kershner said. “That’s what it comes down to — diversification. We had all our eggs in one basket. Where we relied on one airline, you see what happens.”
In 2013, under McGraw’s helm, CVG was able to attract Frontier Airlines, the airport’s first low-cost carrier. Shortly after that announcement, Allegiant and Southwest Airlines followed suit. According to the airport’s website, CVG’s cargo volume has grown by 100% from 2016 to 2021.
The airport is home to DHL’s “global super hub” and a newly constructed $1.5 billion Amazon Air cargo hub.
“We’re here to serve this region, and drive economic benefit. No better way to do that through additional air service,” McGraw said during the new route announcement.
With the addition of British Airways, CVG now has 14 air carriers.
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