Already the fastest-growing airport in the United States, CVG continued to see growth increase in 2018 at such a rate that the airport has had to reset its goals.
CVG — officially, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport — implemented a five-year strategic plan in 2016 that set a goal of serving nine million passengers annually by 2021. The phrase “ahead of schedule” is almost always good news in the airline industry, and that’s where CVG finds itself, having reached the threshold of that 2021 goal with 8.8 million passengers served in 2018.
That’s an increase of one million passengers from 2017’s total of 7.8 million, which in itself was an 18 percent increase from the year before. It’s also the sixth straight year of passenger growth, which was at the 5.9 million passenger level in 2014.
If you prefer to think of it in daily terms, CVG is now averaging more than 24,000 passengers per day. Fares for CVG have also now dropped to the lowest level in comparison to other airports in CVG’s history, with Cincinnati ranked No. 82 on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s list of highest average fares.
“There was built-up demand here, and now we have so many different flight options,” says Mindy Kershner, CVG’s senior manager of communications and community affairs. “We had people who wanted to travel more, and they now have more options. There are options with the low-cost carriers, and we still have the option for high-quality service with the legacy carriers in Delta, American, and United.”
At one point in 2018, CVG set new monthly passenger records in eight consecutive months. CVG’s administration has now reset its growth goal for 2021 to the 9.4 million passenger mark.
If you were one of the many thousands who visited CVG during the holiday season, you also are likely aware this is all happening against a backdrop of significant construction activity.
CVG’s entrance road is the focal point right now for major changes, with detours and new pathways being deployed on a route that travelers have gotten used to using over the last 30 years.
The roadway and accompanying utility work are part of Phase Two of CVG’s Rental Car Facility Project, which was launched last year. When it's complete late in 2021, the airport’s rental car providers will all be moved from their current locations, which require shuttle bus service to reach, to a new facility immediately adjacent to the west end of the current terminals.
CVG will also be getting a new front entrance for passengers in a project that is budgeted overall at $165 million.
Since August, crews have been working at removing the west end of the CVG parking garage and changing the departure ramp structure and the entrance and exit areas to garage parking. The road and garage work is all estimated to be completed by this coming November, with the entrance road being permanently rerouted up a corridor between the CVG garage and the on-site hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton.
“We are encouraging people coming to the airport to give themselves a couple of extra minutes to be able to navigate some of this change that is taking place,” Kershner says. “We know some people are so used to coming to the airport they are going to just drive and not pay any attention to the signage. We would like people to take notice and slow down a little bit, so they can get to where they need to go, be on their way and have an excellent experience while traveling through CVG.”
For ongoing updates about this project, including traffic impacts being caused by the work, visit this page set up by CVG.