Cincinnati airport prepares to unveil renovations


CINCINNATI (AP) -- Passengers traveling through the airport serving Cincinnati and northern Kentucky soon will see a new look designed to improve their experience and set the stage for future growth as the facility works to offset airline cuts.

The newly renovated Concourse A at the Cincinnati /Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Ky., will officially reopen May 15 after being closed since 2010.

Completion of the concourse renovation comes as the airport works to expand service in the midst of airline cuts that have caused concern in the business community. Airport chief executive Candace McGraw said recently that the community needs to know that the airport "is still alive and well" despite the loss of hundreds of daily flights in recent years.

The $36.5 million concourse renovation was designed to showcase attractions of the region and make the airport more appealing and efficient for passengers and airlines, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The reopening of the concourse, which was shut down after Delta Air Lines moved out of the building, will mean that all air service will be operated out of the same terminal. The airport's dominant airline, Delta Air Lines, and its subsidiary Comair will continue to fly out of Concourse B. The other airlines -- American Airlines, United Airlines, US Air and Air Canada -- will move to the 16-gate Concourse A.

Delta has drastically reduced the number of daily flights at the airport in recent years. There are now about 170 a day, compared with around 600 daily in 2005, but airport officials are hoping to attract new low-cost carriers and persuade existing ones to expand service.

Passengers will board and disembark airplanes on new jet bridges featuring giant photographic murals of attractions including the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Zoo and the area's professional sports teams. An updated pedestrian tunnel offers past and present images of the region by local photographers.

"This is a beautiful region, and people need to see it," McGraw said.

There will be new ticketing and check-in counters, and new passenger seating areas featuring electrical outlets and charging ports for almost every seat. Improved cell phone service also is being added. Improvements have been made in airport restrooms.

Volunteer ambassadors will be in the facility to help passengers find their way around the new concourse, and maps and improved signs also should help.

"From the customer perspective, obviously we wanted to add more gates, but we also wanted to improve the total experience," said chief operating officer Tim Zeis.

Capital improvements funds available through an agreement between the airport and its airlines provided most of the financing needed for the project.

Later this year, more improvements are planned, including updating the food court in Concourse B.


Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,