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Business Courier:  CVG unveils massive $175 million rental car facility

Cincinnati Business Courier / Chris Wetterich / October 12, 2021

Decades ago, thousands of people flew out of Terminals 1 and 2 at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in its former life as a Delta Air Lines hub.

Now, those facilities have been demolished and replaced by a massive, five-story, $175 million consolidated rental car facility that will allow passengers to walk from the terminal to their rental car without taking a bus. The facility will open to customers on Oct. 20.

“It’s hugely important for the airport for a couple of reasons,” said CVG CEO Candace McGraw. “It provides a new front-door entry into the airport. It provides a connected, walkable solution for all of the rental car companies. Not only did we change the roadway infrastructure, we built this ground transportation center that will take all of our commercial traffic off the roadways. That will ease roadway congestion coming in.”

The facility also has room for an expanded ticketing area to ease congestion in the existing check-in area. Existing airlines could move there and/or new airlines could come in. CVG hopes to add more airlines and nonstop flights.

“It gives us a lot of space for future growth,” McGraw said. “We didn’t build it to be an empty space.”

CVG has a $6.8 billion economic impact on the region.

“We’ve positioned this airport to be the economic engine of this community,” said CVG’s board chair, J. Michael Schlotman.

The airport also is moving the shuttles to its economy and value parking lots and hotels to west side of the facility.

CVG also has added a new rental car company, Sixt, which rents luxury cars, as well as the standard fare offered by Alamo, National, Enterprise, Avis, Budget, Payless, Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz. The companies will be able to clean and refuel their vehicles onsite at the facility.

Zipcar, whose customers check out cars via an app without any counters, also will have a presence at the airport.

The facility features murals spearheaded by ArtWorks, including by local artists Adrienne Gaither and Christian Dallas.

“We gave each artist the same brief. We wanted to talk about connectivity and travel and our region,” McGraw said.

The project’s funding sources include customer facility fees paid by rental car customers, McGraw said. The roadways were paid for in part by passenger facility fees paid for by passengers as well as some general airport revenue bonds CVG sold. Such dollars must be spent within the airport’s footprint, under federal law, so that money cannot be used to fund the operations for additional transit service.

Customers can walk directly from the baggage claim to the rental car counters. From there, they can take an elevator or stairs to the level where their rental car is located.

How CVG will use the existing parking lots where the rental cars had been located is to be determined, but it’s likely to be utilized for aviation purposes perhaps related to cargo, including freight forwarders, McGraw said.