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Cincinnati Enquirer:  Women of the Year 2021:  Candace McGraw, CEO of CVG helps region soar

Cincinnati Enquirer / Alexander Coolidge / October 13, 2021

When Candace McGraw first landed at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2009, the region’s dominant hub was in freefall.

Reviled for sky-high airfares that were among the highest in the nation, the airport’s traffic was plummeting after the merger of Delta and Northwest airlines as the newly combined carrier swiftly de-hubbed CVG.

It was also the depths of the Great Recession, which slowed economic activity and sacked demand for business travel.

“When I arrived at CVG in late 2009, we had a great team and a tremendous can-do spirit,” McGraw recalled. “We just needed direction on how to stem the decline the airport was in and to leverage our strengths.”

First serving as chief administrative officer, then promoted to CEO of the airport in 2011, McGraw sought to move on from CVG’s historic reliance on one dominant carrier and pushed hard to court low-cost carriers that previously avoided the airport.