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Preserving an airport community

Changes are coming to Ohio’s Cincinnati Municipal Airport/Lunken Field that will impact flight schools, based and transient aircraft owners, corporate aviation, and FBOs. AOPA is working with local partners to ensure general aviation and the robust aviation community are protected.

AOPA is engaged with elected officials and airport management at Cincinnati Municipal Airport/Lunken Field amid a number of changes. Google Earth image.

The airport community is currently experiencing growing pains as new space is made available and development opportunities arise. Last year, the decision was made to permanently close Runway 21R/3L. The closure plan has been in the works for a few years as the runway is no longer eligible for federal grant dollars and was creating “hotspots”—an FAA term for runways that have potential risk for incursions or collisions.

Airport Manager Jaime Edrosa is working closely with local based flight schools and air traffic control to manage the impact of the runway closure and plan needed upgrades to the airport—which will turn 100 next year. Edrosa, a pilot himself, understands the wants and needs of the aviation community and is committed to including light GA in future planning. With the closure of the parallel runway, land that has been unusable due to runway protection areas will be opened for potential aeronautical development. Airport management remains open to various development proposals that could include more hangar space for based aircraft.

Amid the runway closure, the airport is also handling several construction projects and proposals. One developer is in negotiations with the city to upgrade the “old terminal” into a boutique aviation-themed hotel. Upon the elimination of the parallel runway, the airport will also undergo a full water drainage study, as it is prone to flooding of the Little Miami River—it once flowed where Runway 21L/ 3R currently resides.

Cincinnati Municipal has a booming aviation community, with more than 100 based light GA aircraft, multiple active flight schools, flying clubs, and frequent corporate traffic. It is also one of the busiest airports in Ohio with over 122,000 operations in 2023—outpacing John Glenn Columbus International Airport and Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. Airport management and local pilots, supported by AOPA, have been protecting this airport—one of the oldest operating municipal airports in the country—for many years.

In 2017 and 2018, AOPA helped fend off a local developer who wanted to construct a private hangar facility for personal use, and in the process tear down and eliminate more than 60 city-owned T-hangars with no logical plan to rebuild. This rearrangement would have displaced the majority of the based light GA aircraft.

AOPA, local pilots, and aviation businesses remain committed to preserving the flourishing aviation community. On April 3, Queen City Flying Service owner Josh Hunter and associate Gary Brown held an audience with Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, and AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Kyle Lewis and Cincinnati Municipal Airport Support Network volunteer P.J. Daley were also invited to attend.

Queen City Flying Service, a flight school and aircraft rental provider, was evicted as a result of the sale and closure of an FBO. With the scarcity of flight training administrative space at the airport, Queen City Flying Service was essentially operating day to day with no designated area. The meeting proved to be insightful, and the mayor’s office and staff were engaged and knowledgeable on the planning outlook for the airport. Topics focused on space scarcity at the airport, the yearslong hangar waitlists, and the lack of developable land designated for private hangar construction.

As the Cincinnati Municipal Airport aviation community gears up for a number of changes, AOPA will remain engaged and informed, working with elected officials and airport management to ensure the space at the airport is best used to preserve its unique community—like the one at welcoming spaces like the South Line, known by the pilot/tenant community as “South Beach,” where you can find hangar doors open, and people who love GA.

Lillian Geil
Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, State Legislation

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