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2018 Year In Review

Growing Our Airport, Maximizing Your Convenience

Blue Grass Airport is easily considered one of the most convenient airports. It certainly has location going for it, being so close to Lexington’s center of town and central Kentucky’s population. There is no long drive home when you arrive back after a late evening flight. For most, home is just a short distance away. Convenience, though, has come to mean so much more than easy access. It’s the saving of time in a busy world. It’s making it from Point A to Point B with short and sweet flights to the airport’s 17 non-stop destinations. It’s parking just steps away from the terminal and getting to your gate with ease. This is what makes Blue Grass Airport different. Deeply ingrained in our philosophy—and our facilities—is convenience and hospitality.



Let’s Talk about Convenience Your convenience is a consideration in everything we do and every improvement we make. Now more than ever, it is our guiding light—and we’re pretty sure it is why people are so loyal to central Kentucky’s hometown airport. The addition of new air service at Blue Grass Airport is a prime example. In June 2018, Allegiant announced new seasonal, twice weekly flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), which serves Florida’s Emerald Coast. Beginning on February 14, 2019, United Airlines began offering two daily non-stop flights to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Convenience means providing the destinations our customers need and want for business and leisure travel. The airport team also provided physical improvements to our facilities this year. Blue Grass Airport broke ground for a new $15 million aircraft rescue and firefighting facility. Its location, along with the relocation of the airport’s snow removal equipment complex in 2015, will enable necessary improvements to the airport’s main taxiway and provide additional connectivity for aircraft.

Van Alford (left) and Eric Frankl (right) celebrate with Congressman Andy Barr during the firehouse groundbreaking ceremony.

Improvements continued with the opening of our new WestLEX general aviation facility. Designed to provide support services to airport tenants leasing hangars on the west side of the airport, WestLEX is a unique option for private aircraft owners. Amenities include a large 12,000square-foot community hangar for aircraft storage and maintenance as well as a comfortable lounge, conference room and flight planning area. This year, facility improvements, construction projects and new service announcements have contributed greatly to our convenience factor—but so have special events such as Wings for All® and Honor Flight Kentucky celebrations! With the announcement of Breeders’ Cup World Championships returning to Lexington in 2020, we look forward to rolling out the purple carpet and serving as a gateway to this prestigious event held just steps away from our terminal. Please take the time to read about the exciting things happening at Blue Grass Airport, and you’ll understand why convenience is so important to us. W.V. Alford, Jr. Board Chair

Eric J. Frankl, A.A.E. Executive Director

Blue Grass Airport | LEX



Our Passengers Really Count! Blue Grass Airport has seen yet another record year in passenger growth. In 2018, total passengers who traveled through Blue Grass Airport numbered 1.3 million—enplanements of 682,662 and deplanements of 678,368. This record-setting number was a 3.4% increase over the previous year. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to this growth. Chief among them are new flights and passenger loyalty, which owes greatly to the airport’s unparalleled convenience and the excellent customer service and amenities that Blue Grass Airport delivers every day.

Capital Convenience— New Flights to Washington, D.C. Announced in October, new non-stop service between Blue Grass Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) will make travel to the nation’s capital even more convenient. This new service on United Airlines will begin February 2019. With two daily flights, this service will also provide an excellent gateway for passengers connecting to other regions, including the mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Europe.



More Time at the Beach, Less in the Car Allegiant launched new non-stop service from Lexington to Florida’s Emerald Coast region in June. The new seasonal flights operate twice weekly from LEX to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS). Our already strong partnership with Allegiant continues to grow and provide new vacation destinations. Allegiant serves five additional cities from Blue Grass Airport and celebrated its 10-year anniversary at LEX in 2018.

Kentucky Voluntary Travel ID As Kentucky makes significant improvements to the security of its licenses, the state will roll out two identity credential options to residents in the future—standard or Voluntary Travel ID credentials. The Voluntary Travel ID has all the benefits of a standard license plus it will be federally accepted to board U.S. domestic flights nationwide. Beginning October 1, 2020, a standard driver’s license will not be accepted at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. More information is available at

Top Destinations from 1 2 3 4 5


Orlando (Sanford), FL Punta Gorda, FL Ft. Lauderdale, FL Atlanta, GA St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL

6 Chicago (O’Hare), IL 7 Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX 8 Washington, D.C. (Reagan National) 9 Philadelphia, PA 10 New York (LaGuardia), NY

Blue Grass Airport | LEX


Congressman Andy Barr, distinguished guests and airport officials gathered on August 30, 2018 for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new aircraft rescue and firefighting facility. Officials acknowledged Kentucky’s congressional delegation for their valuable support in securing $10 million in federal funding for the project.

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility Underway Protecting the traveling public is a tremendous responsibility and Blue Grass Airport places the utmost emphasis on making sure its first responders have the necessary resources and facilities. In 2018, airport officials broke ground on a new 23,196square-foot facility. Slated for 2020 completion, the facility will accommodate 18 full-time officers and four bays for aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles. All bays provide officers with immediate access to the airport’s runways, ramp and terminal building.




An Economic Engine for Kentucky

Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program The airport’s five-phase multi-year program to enhance operational safety and increase efficiency of aircraft movement continues. While the primary emphasis of this program focuses on the realignment of the airport’s main taxiway and additional connectivity for aircraft, the project also incorporates the new public safety firehouse and the 2015 relocation of the airport’s snow removal equipment complex. The relocation of these two facilities are required to make the necessary improvements to the taxiways. Combined costs for the entire five-phase program are expected to be approximately $66 million once completed. This project provides additional job creation and continued economic growth for central Kentucky and beyond.

New Facilities, New Equipment Some important examples of growth in 2018 include: Completion of modern rental car service facilities; renovation of the U.S. Customs office; design of a new baggage handling system; and the addition of a new firetruck and snow removal equipment to the airport’s fleet. The new snow removal trucks are multi-tasking—they do the work of two standard trucks, with only one driver, and consist of a plow in the front and a broom in the middle. Innovation at its finest! Blue Grass Airport | LEX



General Aviation Facility Opens

The month of August brought great festivities for our general (or private) aviation community as they celebrated the opening of WestLEX, a support facility designed to provide services to aircraft owners on the west side of the airfield. This project is part of a $5 million investment by the Airport Board to support private aviation. In recent years, the airport has constructed new hangars in this area and with the addition of WestLEX, aircraft owners and flying clubs have easy access to receive personalized assistance from airport staff. The airport is pleased to announce that NexGen Aviation is also now offering flight training from this facility. Architecturally, WestLEX adheres to an appealing style reflective of the region’s equine barns. Designed by J.R. Miller & Associates and built by Long Construction, it complements the awardwinning architecture of neighboring hangars. WestLEX is open year-round and accessible via the Gumbert Road entrance to the airport, immediately off Versailles Road. In addition to providing services for the general aviation community, the large hangar will be available for rental to those in the community seeking an event venue.



Conveniently located near the airport’s general aviation runway, WestLEX will provide hangar tenants with aircraft fueling services and towing assistance to/from individual hangars. Additional amenities include a large 12,000-square-foot community hangar for aircraft storage and maintenance as well as a comfortable lounge, conference room and flight planning area.

EKU Department of Aviation Partnership For many years, the airport has collaborated with Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) to provide valuable learning experiences for aviation students by offering internship opportunities, airport tours, hands-on experience, interaction with the airport leadership team and representation in the student aviation chapter. With the new WestLEX facility, EKU students can work part-time to learn more about general aviation and better understand airport operations and customer service.

Blue Grass Airport | LEX


Staying Engaged with the

Community Wings for All® Imagine rehearsing for a flight to lessen the heightened anxiety of air travel. That was the purpose of a Wings for All® event held at Blue Grass Airport in November for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The event also educates airport, airline and TSA professionals on how to best assist passengers with special needs. Hosts for the event included The Arc of Kentucky, Autism Society of the Bluegrass, Delta Air Lines and the Transportation Security Administration.

Wings for All® participants experienced an airplane environment so they are more relaxed the day of their trip.



Flights to Washington, D.C. Honoring Kentucky’s Veterans Blue Grass Airport was the host airport for three Honor Flight Kentucky trips on American Airlines during 2018. More than 200 Kentucky veterans traveled from LEX to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., where they participate in a full day of honors and sightseeing.

Bourbon Balls and Bourbon Barrels Cork & Barrel’s airport location celebrated its oneyear anniversary at Blue Grass Airport by dedicating the first barrel of their private selection—from Boone County Distilling Company—to the airport. From Kentucky Derby travelers to guests for the Barbasol Championship, bourbon balls are a special welcome.

Security Made Convenient In partnership with Commerce Lexington and Valvoline USA, Blue Grass Airport hosted two Global Entry enrollment interview events in 2018. The Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network membership allows low-risk, pre-screened international travelers to have expedited entry into the United States. The program requires applicants to complete an in-person interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials—typically conducted at only a few dozen locations across the United States. Blue Grass Airport also hosted enrollment events for TSA PreCheck®. Low-risk air travelers enrolled in this expedited screening program enjoy a more efficient and stress-free screening experience.

Breeders’ Cup World Championships 2020 Blue Grass Airport is excited to begin preparations for delivering excellent hospitality and access to central Kentucky as we welcome the world once again for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup. Congratulations to our neighbors at Keeneland for the honor of hosting this world-renowned event again! Blue Grass Airport | LEX


A Hardworking and Dedicated

AIRPORT TEAM Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board Like many commercial service airports in the United States, Blue Grass Airport is owned by an independent unit of local government and is operated by a governing board. Its 10 volunteer 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 committees, which 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.

W.V. Alford, Jr. Chair

Elizabeth Woodward Vice Chair & Treasurer

James Coles Secretary

Ronnie Bastin

Garyen Denning

Buckner Hinkle, Jr.

Daniel Mason

Richard Moloney

Don Mosier

Brian Wells

The airport board was chaired by Van Alford, Jr. in 2018. Additionally, in 2018, Buckner Hinkle, Daniel Mason and Brian Wells joined the board after Doris Benson, Larry Deener and Kelley Sloane concluded their terms. The airport team is thankful for their boundless enthusiasm and energy that has helped shape the airport into what it is today.



Best Places to Work Winner Blue Grass Airport is not only a wonderful airport for passenger travel, it is also a great place to work. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management agrees and named the airport one of the “Best Places to Work in Kentucky.” The airport earned the award during the 2018 Annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky competition. The airport strives to serve its passengers with exceptional service every day and focuses on developing a culture that respects and appreciates its staff so they can excel. Blue Grass Airport has a team of 90 full-time employees and 20 part-time employees.

Remembering George M. Gumbert, Jr., M.D. Beloved and well-respected member of the Blue Grass Airport family, George M. Gumbert, Jr., M.D., died during 2018. By profession he was an orthopedic surgeon, but by passion and dedication he was a stalwart of Lexington’s aviation community. He served on the board governing the airport for 35 years, 21 of those as chairman. During his tenure on the board, he advocated for needed expansion and oversaw the construction of a new 70,000 square-foot terminal, which officially opened in 1976 and was five times the size of the building it replaced. That terminal is part of the current terminal, albeit expanded and renovated over the years. Among other distinctions, Gumbert was a licensed pilot, a certified FAA flight examiner and co-founder of The Aviation Museum of Kentucky. A large part of his legacy is Blue Grass Airport as we know and love today. His presence will be missed, but his influence and hard work in the interest of this airport will remain. George Gumbert (far right)

Blue Grass Airport | LEX


Financial Highlights Blue Grass Airport is committed to fiscal responsibility, efficient operations and strategic management of its cash and investments. The airport prides itself on prudently managing its expenses and adhering to fiscally conservative policies while always placing the utmost importance on the safety and security of its passengers. The airport strives to achieve public accountability through open board meetings, an audited financial statement completed annually by a Certified Public Accounting firm, an internal auditor function and a comprehensive strategic planning process that focuses on long-term development and risk management. Because of this commitment to operate like a business, the airport is selfsufficient. All operating expenses are funded by the airport’s own revenues, ensuring no local tax dollars subsidize operations.

2018 Gross Operating Revenue $19,223 (in 000s) $1,478





General Aviation


Ground Transportation


2018 Gross Operating EXPENSE $13,650 (in 000s)


$7,115 Airline


Professional $465 Services





Supplies & Equipment

$6,503 Parking

$694 Other


Training & Travel


Salaries & Benefits

$1,265 Utilities


Maintenance & Supplies



From top: A 1920’s Ford Tri-Motor visited The Aviation Museum of Kentucky and provided public flights • American Airlines lands at Blue Grass Airport • Sunset at WestLEX General Aviation Services • President Trump waves to the crowd upon arriving at LEX • Triple Crown Winner Justify arrives to begin his retirement.

Blue Grass Airport | LEX


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

Photos provided by Bill Straus Photography, Keni Parks Photography and Rick Samuels/The Blood-Horse.



Profile for Blue Grass Airport

2018 Year In Review  

2018 Year In Review  


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