Sure sign of the economy rebounding: We're flying again

One sure indicator of the regional economy getting back in shape is the activity at the airport. The trend is definitely up.

In April, passenger traffic at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International totaled 453,542. That’s more than 10 times the number of passengers the airport saw in April last year: 40,399.

April 2020 was the first full month of Covid-related declines in airport traffic, as the statewide shutdowns occurred in mid-March last year, and air travel fell off the proverbial cliff.

This April, things are getting back to normal, but the month’s passenger totals are still well below the pre-pandemic April 2019 totals of 751,278 passengers, as business travel is slowly re-emerging. However, April’s passenger count is up 73 percent from January.

The airport is also adding new destinations, including the expected resumption of its nonstop Cincinnati-to-Paris flight. The flight, CVG’s only trans-Atlantic flight, was halted in March of last year. Delta Air Lines is currently selling tickets for the flight, but the schedule remains tentative, and is based on travel restrictions in Europe as well as pandemic conditions.

And on Wednesday, June 9, Allegiant began a new direct flight from CVG to Key West, Fla.  The new route will operate twice weekly. It’s the region’s only direct flight to the nation’s southernmost point.

“Key West’s tagline is ‘Close to Perfect, Far from Normal’ and we’ve been living in far from normal times,” says airport CEO Candace McGraw.

Other airlines recently began new routes:

On May 20, Alaska Airlines began daily nonstop service between Seattle and CVG, a route that had originally been scheduled to begin in August of last year.

Also last month, Sun Country Airlines began nonstop service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky. The service operates twice weekly on Fridays and Sundays.

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.