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Business Courier: CVG’s cargo business hits a new high

Cincinnati Business Courier / Chris Wetterich / December 28, 2022

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport continues to send staggering amounts of cargo airborne from its runways, setting a new all-time record in October. It's a trend that could continue as the holiday shipping season reaches it peaks.

Companies moved 190,562 tons of cargo through the airport in October, up from the previous all-time record set in September of 180,184. It’s the third month in a row CVG has broken the record.

Overall, cargo volume is up 18.2%, year over year, for 2022.

“I can’t say enough about how cargo does tremendous things,” said Bobby Spann, the airport’s vice president for external affairs.

CVG remains the seventh-largest cargo airport in North America, with Miami being No. 5 and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport being sixth.

Cargo makes up an increasing amount of the airport’s landed weight, a key metric for CVG’s finances because airlines pay a fee for how many tons they bring into the airport. CVG charges about $2.25 for every thousand pounds of landed weight. In October, cargo accounted for 69% of the airport’s landed weight, an all-time high. Before the pandemic, the mix was closer to 55% cargo, 45% passenger.

CVG’s two main cargo players are DHL, which has its North American superhub at CVG, and Amazon, whose $1.5 billion Prime Air U.S. hub opened in 2021. FedEx also has a presence. Diversifying the airport’s mix of both passenger carriers, as well as its passenger-cargo mix and real estate leases have been a major growth strategy over the past decade.

For the past four years, CVG has been one of the fastest-growing cargo airports in the United States. The airport has 115 cargo plane parking spots and 890 acres devoted to cargo hubs.