Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int'l Airport Dedicates New Runway

Airport and Federal Aviation Administration officials say the $250 million project will be justified during the next few years - and in fact is needed now, even in light of Delta Air Lines' bankruptcy.


"Our forecasts continue to call for growth of 3.5 percent a year, with the system handling more than 1 billion passengers a year by 2015," Sturgell said. "And if you look at the industry over time, there are always new carriers, especially since deregulation."

William Robinson III, chairman of the Kenton County Airport Board, said that even if Delta were to downsize even more drastically locally, the new runway would make the airport even more attractive for new competition - a sore spot with many local travelers whose fares are much higher than the national average because of Delta's dominance.

"The better air service an airport can provide, the better chance it has to attract new carriers, and you couple our low landing fees with our increased capacity, and we have a better story to tell when we go out and sell ourselves to all airlines, including the discount carriers," Robinson said.

The Associated Press contributed. E-mail jpilcher@enquirer.com

BY THE NUMBERS

About the runway

Cost: $250 million.

Scheduled opening date: Dec. 22.

Dimensions: 8,000 feet long; 150 feet wide; concrete 18 inches deep.

Orientation: North-south.

Land acquired: 700-plus acres at $80 million (several parcels have yet to be bought) .

Materials used: 10.4 million cubic yards of dirt were moved and leveled to smooth the runway path - equivalent to piling dirt on a football field and having the pile reach 6,038 feet high, or five times the height of the Empire State Building. 280,000 cubic yards of concrete (for runways and taxiways) - equivalent to paving two lanes of 12-inch thick highway for 60 miles.

Distinguishing feature: Located far enough from the other two north-south runways to be operated independently (allowing takeoffs and landings regardless of what is happening elsewhere).

MAP

The Enquirer

The Enquirer/Steven M. Herppich

A crowd gathers on the new runway Thursday at the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati International Airport to watch a series of sky divers land with the American, Ohio and Kentucky flags. The new runway is scheduled to open in December.

The Enquirer/Steven M. Herppich

Sky divers land during a dedication ceremony Thursday at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for the new north-south runway.

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