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2016 Year In Review

A crowd estimated at 10,000 turned out for the Blue Grass Field dedication and air show on November 10, 1946.

2016 Year In Review

Celebrating From the Blue Grass Field dedication in 1946 to serving over 1.3 million passengers in 2016, Blue Grass Airport is proud to celebrate seven decades of serving central Kentucky.



Blue Grass Airport

From Our Leadership

Larry Deener

Eric Frankl

Often, we hear from passengers what a wonderful, convenient facility Blue Grass Airport is! Lexington, and the entire Bluegrass region, can be proud that our airport has met the needs of our community for 70 years. It all began in 1940 when Mayor T. Ward Havely pursued the vision of building a new, modern airport in Lexington to support the anticipated war effort. At the time, Lexington had a small airfield off Newtown Pike, but it could not meet the demands of the war effort or of a community that was destined to grow and prosper. The mayor worked tirelessly with the Fayette County Commissioners and Lexington City Council (before the local governments merged), as well as numerous community leaders and land owners to position Lexington to receive funding from the War Department to build what we now know as Blue Grass Airport today. In 1946, the Army Air Corps transferred ownership of the airport to the city and now the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board owns and operates the airport on behalf of our citizens. Also in 1946, commercial airline service came to Lexington as both Delta Air Lines and Eastern Air Lines began flights to and from Lexington. Mayor Havely deserves much credit for having the vision and leadership to make our current airport happen. Unfortunately, he died in 1943 and did not live to see the first commercial airline flights land in Lexington, but this history and his dedication endure. A plaque honoring him was dedicated when the first terminal was constructed. Today, it is proudly displayed in the airport terminal. Mayor Havely’s vision continues as does that of our current mayor, Jim Gray, as our airport thrives and changes to meet the growing needs of aviation in our region. We are proud that our community now enjoys non-stop service to 18 destinations. We also support numerous other aviation activities including corporate aviation, private aviation and, of course, air transportation specially adapted to accommodate our signature equine industry. Through his appointments to the airport board, Mayor Gray seeks to ensure that Blue Grass Airport continues to make improvements so it can meet the needs of the next generation of Lexingtonians. The airport board is proud of the new initiatives described in this report. They will carry on the tradition of providing great aviation infrastructure and superior customer service that our community will enjoy and visitors will envy. We had another great year, and we thank all of you for your continued support!

Larry C. Deener Eric J. Frankl, A.A.E. Board Chair Executive Director

2016 Year In Review

2016 Highlights

Compared to 2015, Blue Grass Airport saw a record number of travelers in 2016—more than 1.3 million passengers. That is a welcomed increase of 5.5% over last year. Allegiant added new non-stop flights to Savannah/Hilton Head and Baltimore/ Washington, D.C. Delta Air Lines announced its non-stop seasonal service to Minneapolis/St. Paul will be offered year-round. United Airlines added daily service from LEX to Newark Liberty International Airport. The airport’s multi-year program to enhance operational safety and increase efficiency of aircraft movement continues. Construction projects include a new public safety firehouse, modern rental car maintenance facilities and additional general aviation hangars on the west side of the airport. Blue Grass Airport successfully completed the annual FAA Part 139 inspection with zero discrepancies. Airport Executive Director Eric Frankl was named Kentucky Commercial Service Airport Manager of the Year by the Kentucky Aviation Association and Kentucky Department of Aviation. Blue Grass Airport is proud of our veterans. During 2016, the airport hosted two Honor Flight Kentucky visits to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials dedicated in their honor. The airport continues to support partners focused on the aviation industry and those that help to grow air service efforts in Kentucky.



Blue Grass Airport

Flying High! Record Passenger Growth Once again, Blue Grass Airport reached a record number of passengers who traveled through the airport in 2016. The airport hosted more than 1.3 million passengers, which is a 5.5% increase over the previous year. This is the third consecutive year the airport saw a record number of travelers.

New Flight to Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Allegiant is now providing easy access to Baltimore and the nation’s capital via this new non-stop flight. This seasonal summer flight provides an excellent opportunity for families to experience low fares to see various museums, monuments and attractions in Washington, D.C. Plus, it’s a great way to travel to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Connecting Lexington to Minneapolis and Beyond Airport Board Chair Larry Deener, Allegiant Vice President of Network Planning Lukas Johnson and Mayor Jim Gray

Non-Stop Access to the Low Country Allegiant added a new destination to its LEX route map in 2016 with non-stop flights to Savannah/Hilton Head. Travelers can experience the beautiful architecture of Savannah or relax on one of the sunny beaches on Hilton Head Island or Tybee Island. Offered seasonally, this flight resumes service again in April 2017. Year 2016:

657,562 Enplanements 652,203 Deplanements

Delta Air Lines announced this fall that its non-stop seasonal service to Minneapolis/St. Paul will be offered year-round. This morning flight provides access to the Twin Cities and an impressive list of connecting options. For those who frequently travel to Japan for business, this flight provides connecting service to Haneda Tokyo Airport. Minneapolis also offers great connections to Western Canada and other international destinations.

1.31 million

Total Passengers

2016 Year In Review

United Airlines Adds Newark/New York Service Go from Big Blue country to the Big Apple—non-stop! United Airlines added daily service from Blue Grass Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport, an excellent gateway to New York City. Manhattan is just a short taxi ride away! And, United offers 80 daily flights to more than 70 international destinations from Newark, making it convenient to connect to cities around the globe. Sand sculpture by local artist Damon Farmer

The first Delta Air Lines DC-3 lands at Blue Grass Field on October 13, 1946.



Blue Grass Airport

Enhancements for the Future Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program

Work continues on the airport’s multi-year program to enhance operational safety on the airfield and improve the efficiency of aircraft movement, a key emphasis being on the realignment of the main taxiway. As part of this project, the airport will construct a new public safety firehouse, a support facility housing staff and airport emergency response equipment. Relocation of the firehouse will allow space for taxiway enhancements and will provide an opportunity to build a facility that is more efficient and accommodates future needs for at least 20 years. Future airport firehouse

2016 Year In Review


New Food & Beverage Option

Airport retailer Paradies Lagardère opened Blue Grass Xpress, a food and beverage option in the main lobby that provides an excellent location for those who are not traveling but still looking for a bite to eat. Begin your morning with Dunkin’ Donuts and a cup of coffee or enjoy a hot dog and chips while waiting for friends and family to arrive. West Side Hangar Development

To support general aviation pilots who are seeking hangars, the airport is constructing additional hangars on the west side of the airport. The many iconic barns that dot the local landscape will continue to inspire certain design cues in our hangar architecture.

bourbon to take home with them. In December, local retailer Cork & Barrel announced a bourbon and wine shop that will open in spring 2017. Located beyond the security checkpoint, this convenient location allows visitors to purchase bourbon before leaving Lexington and place in carry-on bags. Bourbon-themed food products, jewelry and clothing will also be available.

In recent years, the west side has quickly developed, and it will soon be supported by a convenient facility providing tenants with fueling and maintenance Rental Car Maintenance Facility 1969 services. It will serve as a gathering place for general 1970 Construction of modern rental car maintenance aviation enthusiasts and provide a sense of community Vice President Spiro Agnew visitsfacilities in May to speak at the spring On March 3, First Lady Pat Nixon arrives at Blue Grass Field for is set to begin in spring 2017. This important meeting of the Republican Governors Conference … In August, a five-hour visit to Lexington, the second of five stops in as many on this side of the airfield. enhancement provides rental car partners with a

Governor Louie B. Nunn announces the airport board will lease a states on a tour of student volunteer projects. Several thousand dedicated place—on-site behind the scenes— 28-acre tract of land located at the southwest corner of Blue Grass but Kentuckians, University of Kentucky student hosts and Governor Embracing Our Bourbon Heritage Field to the CommonLouie B. Nunn are among state and local dignitaries welcoming to maintain their fleets and service vehicles for the their wealth of Kentucky at no Mrs. Nixon to Kentucky … Blue With 95 percent of the world’s bourbon crafted in customers. Airport passengers are currently served Grass Field’s crash-rescue team charge for 50 years for a participates in its first Kentucky, it is only fitting that passengers visiting the by the following companies: Alamo, Avis, Budget, new National Guard full-scale training Bluegrass region shop at the airport for the finest Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National. Armory … In exercise by extinBlue guishing a fire and Vice President Spiro Agnew visits in May to speak at the spring On March 3,September, First Lady Pat Nixon arrives at Blue Grass Field for Grass Field commisrescuing a dummy meeting of the Republican Governors Conference … In August, a five-hour visit to Lexington, the second of five stops in as many sions a surveyvolunteer of the projects. Several from inside a burning automobile. The March 17 exercise acquaints Governor Louie B. Nunn announces the airport board will lease a states on a tour of student thousand Lunch counter ... Grass firefighting needs the public and crash-rescue team with the operation of the airport’s 28-acre tract of land located at the southwest corner of Blue Kentuckians,airport’s University of Kentucky student hosts and Governor with to local dignitaries recently purchased $38,000 fire truck … In spring 1970, a new Field to the CommonLouie B. Nunn arerecommendations among the state and welcoming be made for equipment 78-foot FAA control wealth of Kentucky at no Mrs. Nixon to Kentucky … Blue Grass Field’s crash-rescue team tower replaces the previous tower located on and manpower. The Air the top of the terminal charge for 50 years for a participates in its first building. The federal government paid for Line Pilots Association the $634,000 project … The October 15 open house and dedinew National Guard full-scale training had listed Blue Grass Field cation of the FAA tower is Armory … In exercise by extinThis snack and restaurant were part of a terminal canceled because of a bomb as among thosebar airports September, Blue guishing a fire and renovation project in the rescuing late 1960s. “pilots believe to be threat … A twin-engine Grass Field commisa dummy at least some Aerojet Commander with sions a survey of the from inside adangerous burning automobile. TheofMarch 17 exercise acquaints time” because whatthe operation of the airport’s two people aboard crashes and restaurant the late 1960s. Lunch counter ... airport’s firefightinginneeds the public andthecrash-rescue teamofwith they deem inadequate fire on November 15 while




Blue Grass Airport

2016 Year In Review

Safe and Efficient Operations Safety is Priority #1

Active Leaders in Our Industry

The Federal Aviation Administration sets rigorous safety requirements for airports and inspects the airport, its airfield and facilities, equipment and response to emergency drills annually. Once again, Blue Grass Airport successfully completed this Part 139 inspection with zero discrepancies.

For the second consecutive year, Airport Executive Director Eric Frankl served as Chair of the American Association of Airport Executives Air Service Committee, leading airports of all sizes in efforts to address national aviation issues. The airport’s Director of Public Safety & Operations, Scott Lanter, served as President of the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives. In addition, staff of all levels participated in industry training and conferences in multiple disciplines.

Expedient TSA Security Checkpoint

Blue Grass Airport was ranked #4 nationally on Thrillist’s 10 Most Expedient Airports list. The TSA at Blue Grass Airport works steadily to screen passengers, allowing plenty of time for them to relax before their flight. TSA Pre-check service during peak periods also speeds up the process for many registered passengers. Air Horse One

That’s right, affectionately nicknamed Air Horse One, H.E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company’s airplane shipped more than 597 horses to/from Lexington in 2016. Strictly for horses, this 727-200 aircraft carries race and show horses year-round. Horses are transported directly from a trailer to a custom-built aircraft ramp and into the aircraft, all within minutes. Ridesharing Services

Complementing our local taxi cab companies, ridesharing services Lyft and Uber officially became transportation options for passengers at Blue Grass Airport. These two transportation network companies offer terminal curbside pick-up and drop-off services.

Recognition by the Kentucky Aviation Association

Airport Executive Director Eric Frankl was named Kentucky Commercial Service Airport Manager of the Year by the Kentucky Aviation Association and Kentucky Department of Aviation. The Kentucky Aviation Association is a non-profit organization that promotes aviation and airport management in the Commonwealth and includes more than 300 aviation professionals.   Training Others Nationwide As home to a regional Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Training Center, Blue Grass Airport hosted public safety and emergency response officials from more than 11 states in 2016. Through both standard courses and customized curriculums, the airport provides safe, high-quality and cost-effective training.

In 1969, Blue Grass Field operated with a team of volunteer firemen, a small supply of extinguishing agent and one crash-rescue truck. Today, a staff of 19 officers trained in police, fire and emergency medical services oversee the safety of our passengers with state-of-the-art equipment. large photo: Emergency response vehicles and crash crew in 1960. The crash crew consisted of one fireman, four volunteers from men on duty in the hangars and two men from each of the three airlines at the field. The fire truck is 20 years old at the time. above clockwise starting at top left: Testing firefighting equipment in 1970; Logan Gray with firefighting truck in 1966; Firefighting training exercise in 1974; Safety measures include new beacon; Increased security measures in the early 1970s.


Community Connects Us All Remembering Together

On August 26, 2016, the community gathered to remember those who lost their lives in the Flight 5191 tragedy 10 years ago. We continue to share in the sorrow of so many affected and were appreciative to be a part of the beautiful service at the University of Kentucky Arboretum honoring the lives lost. Honoring Our Veterans

Twice during 2016, Blue Grass Airport hosted Honor Flight Kentucky veterans for a visit to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials dedicated in their honor. In partnership with sponsors Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, veterans from across the Commonwealth participated in the trip and hundreds of people attended “welcome home” celebrations at Blue Grass Airport to greet these heroes. Honor Flight Kentucky recognized

2016 Year In Review

Van Meter family, artists and aviation partners

the airport board for its support of these events and presented an award in its appreciation at a recent board meeting. Small Business Opportunities Open House

In December, the airport hosted small disadvantaged, minority and women-owned business partners in central Kentucky to provide information about upcoming airport design and contracting opportunities. Business representatives from the region attended and learned how to partner with other businesses to successfully compete for airport improvement projects. Hometown Host

Blue Grass Airport recognizes the importance of supporting our community and sharing the beauty of central Kentucky with others. In October, the airport hosted the Sixel Airports Conference in Lexington with approximately 150 airport officials and 30 airline representatives. Not only did this conference allow the airport to showcase the region to airline route planners, it also provided many attendees with a great lasting impression of the Bluegrass region’s equine and bourbon industries. Airport Trading Card Series

More than 60 U.S. and Canadian airports are part of Airports Council International (ACI) trading card series, which offers a collectible opportunity for aviation enthusiasts and children to commemorate their travels. Learn interesting facts and figures about airports throughout North America. Stop by the Information Center to receive your complimentary LEX card!

Soloman Van Meter Sculpture

A life-size bronze statue of aviation pioneer and inventor of the parachute, Soloman Van Meter, currently stands in the terminal lobby. The Van Meter family and Prometheus Partners Amanda Matthews and Brad Connell joined airport officials and media representatives to share Van Meter’s legacy and the important role this Lexingtonian played in aviation. Engaging with Our Community

The airport continues to support partners focused on the aviation industry and those that help grow air service efforts in Kentucky. The airport was fortunate to engage in partnerships again with the American Red Cross, Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Commerce Lexington, Kentuckians for Better Transportation and VisitLex. Blue Grass Airport supports major events throughout the year including Keeneland Race Meets, equine sales auctions, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Kentucky Derby and Alltech International Symposium. Educating Tomorrows Leaders

Blue Grass Airport offers a comprehensive internship program for students interested in pursuing an education in aviation or business-related fields. The airport hosts semester internships with Eastern Kentucky University’s aviation students, all of whom have gone on to careers in aviation following graduation. In addition, the airport partners with University of Kentucky and Fayette County Public Schools to offer internships for future engineers and accountants. 

John F. Kennedy campaigned in Lexington in October 1960 and was the recipient of the “Red Carpet Treatment” (with real red carpet!) instituted by former airport director Logan Gray. During the 2016 election season, both presidential candidates Clinton and Trump flew into LEX.



Blue Grass Airport

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board

Like many commercial service airports in the U.S., Blue Grass Airport is owned by an independent unit of local government and is operated by a governing board. Its 10 members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council. Members serve a four-year term and are eligible to be reappointed for a second four-year term. The airport board provides oversight through its four standing committees: Air Service, Marketing and Community Relations; Construction, Maintenance, Operations and General Aviation; Finance and Audit;

Larry C. Deener Chair

James Coles

W.V. Alford, Jr. Vice Chair

Garyen Denning

and Human Resources. All committees focus on setting standards of excellence by supporting the airport’s vision of being a responsive and essential link in the vibrancy of the Bluegrass region. The year saw several new additions to the airport board including East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s Chief Operating Officer Don Mosier, LexingtonFayette Urban County Government Commissioner of Public Safety Ronnie Bastin and CRM Companies President of Development Garyen Denning.

Doris Benson Secretary

Elizabeth Woodward Treasurer

Ronnie Bastin

Richard Moloney

Don Mosier

Kelley Sloane

2016 Year In Review

2016 Gross Operating Revenue $17,542 in (000s)

Financial Review

Blue Grass Airport is committed to fiscal responsibility, efficient operations and strategic investment. The airport is focused on maintaining its financial well-being by prudently managing finances and resources to create value for our region. The airport continues to generate a consistent revenue stream through various aeronautical and non-aeronautical activities. Our community can be proud that no local tax dollars are needed to support the airport. All operating expenses are funded by the airport’s own revenue. During 2016, the airport staff continued to strengthen its financial sustainability and focused on initiatives including: • Keeping our cost to the airlines competitive to maintain and provide new air service for our community

Parking $6,055

Car Rental $2,493

General Aviation $1,292

Airline $6,496

Concession $565 Advertising $407 Other $234

2016 Gross Operating Expense $11,997 in (000s)

Maintenance and Supplies $1,826

• Managing the airport’s resources consistent with the board’s values and policies • Issuing bonds for new projects, including west side hangar development, rental car maintenance facilities, baggage belt system and parking initiatives

Utilities $1,161 Salaries and Benefits $6,633

Marketing $479

• Building the airport’s reserves • Analyzing projected cash flows to ensure the airport’s investment returns can be maximized

Other $476 Supplies and Equipment $470 Insurance $409 Professional Services $350 Travel $193

For a look back at more of Blue Grass Airport over the past seven decades, visit


4000 Terminal Drive, Suite 206 Lexington, KY 40510-9607 859.425.3100

Photos provided by Bill Straus Photography, Faron Collins and Tim Webb. Special thanks to the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Joseph Hayden family for sharing their historical photographs.

Profile for Blue Grass Airport

2016 Year In Review  

2016 Year In Review