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In Spite of Troubling Auditor's Report, CVG Airport Has Plenty to Be Happy About

Though the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) was in the headlines all week amid the release Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen's special examination of the Kenton County Airport Board, there is much to be happy for in Hebron.

CVG just released its annual report to the community, showing growth in both passenger and cargo traffic, as well as an organization focused on improved customer service.

The report is a stark contrast to Edelen's examination which outlined dubious hires, travel and meal expenses, and contracts awarded by the Airport Board. The Airport Board itself is still having trouble getting along, and the man noted as the sole appointing authority of the board's voting members, Kenton County Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus, was snubbed by Edelen during the report's release on Tuesday.

Despite the past nine months of unpleasant news clippings about the board, the CVG staff has been working to redefine the airport since the loss of its Delta Airlines "hub" status several years ago.

It was named the Best Regional Airport in North America in 2014.

The Community Report shows solid financial footing as well, including expense controls and debt reductions which allowed a 30% reduction of landing fees for 2014 and 2015. It points to 40% positive growth for 15 of 16 months through May.

CVG generates a $3.6 billion-plus economic impact for the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, employing more than 10,000 people, including 400 on its own direct payroll.

Over just the last year three new airlines – Allegiant, Frontier, and Ultimate Air Shuttle – started service from CVG. US Airways also expanded its schedule and Delta offered improved schedules. Charter traffic grew as well, thanks to Vacation Express and Apple Vacations.

In all there are 170 daily departures to 55 nonstop airport destinations. It is the only airport in three states with direct service to Europe.

The airport’s air cargo business is particularly robust. Forty DHL flights arrive every night. DHL’s operating partner Southern Air relocated to CVG from Connecticut in 2013 and its own recently completed $105 million expansion made the airport the 9th largest in cargo tonnage in North America. That’s a 130% growth rate in four years.

The report emphasizes the airport’s strong connection to its home community and an focus on service. It cites Honor Flights for veterans (no-cost flights to D.C. memorial destinations for World War II and Korean War veterans), USO lounges year-round, local art and music throughout the facility, and active engagement in community affairs.

See complete report here.

Staff report

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