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CVG Airport Lands Southwest Flights. Here's Where They'll Go.

A steady stream of good news from 2016 has carried over to 2017 for the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). 

Southwest Airlines is finally coming to town.

On Wednesday, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann, and local civic leaders joined airport management and Southwest officials in celebrating the announcement.

"Southwest is absolutely thrilled to be here," said Dave Harvey, Southwest Airlines managing director of business development. He applauded the turnout and enthusiasm for the announcement. "Things are going to change and Southwest is excited in a just a few short months to bring our product, our service here to CVG Airport."

Starting June 4, the popular low-cost airline will bring eight total daily flights, five times to Chicago Midway and three times a day to Baltimore/Washington.

"Let's make sure these first flights are successful and we'll keep it rolling," Harvey said to calls for more flights elsewhere, particularly to Florida.

WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann, whose county owns the airport and shares governance of the Kenton County Airport Board with surrounding counties and the state after reforms announced in 2015, said those reforms continue to yield these positive results.

He thanked the board and CVG CEO Candace McGraw for their efforts. "The thing about this, it's about cooperation with busienss, public sector, if we're not all worried about who gets the credit, great things happen," Knochelmann said.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley called the occasion an "incredible bipartisan, bi-state" effort. "This is the best time in the history of Cincinnati to be in Cincinnati and it happened because we worked together so long to make this happen," Cranley said. "Make no mistake, this is big."

Cranley said that there were two issues that were holding Cincinnati back when he ran for mayor were the city's pension, and the airport. He said Cincinnati had no control over the airport, but he would work with other local leaders on the Kentucky side to make the changes. "We're taking off together," he said.

Response from the business community was swift and positive.

“The Cincinnati region has arrived - and now, so has Southwest Airlines,” said Jill Meyer, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “People from across the nation will soon have easier access to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky's arts, food, entertainment and startup scenes, as well as good jobs, world-class schools and universities, and affordability. Southwest Airlines also provides new options and growth opportunity to Cincinnati's regional businesses of all sizes. Robust air travel is a key focus of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's work, and this tremendous addition is a testament to what can be accomplished when our region works together to create a stronger community.”

"We know increased air service has long been a 'must-have' for our region - and Southwest Airlines is that game-changer we've been looking for," said Johnna Reeder, president and CEO of REDI Cincinnati. "It's an ideal example of what can happen when business and civic leaders work together."

Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery, who chairs the Tri-County Economic Development Authority (Tri-ED), also weighed in. 

“We are excited to welcome Southwest Airlines to CVG and Northern Kentucky,” said Pendery. “The addition of Southwest Airlines makes our outstanding business climate even stronger. We also congratulate the CVG team, led by Candace McGraw, on all their hard work in securing Southwest Airlines.”

The news follows other positive headlines for a once troubled airport weighed down by high air fares and limited options. CVG was cited as an airport where fares are going down and last year, its passenger growth continued.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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