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Port Columbus International Airport

Port Columbus International Airport
Entryway into Port Columbus


CMH is located in Ohio
Location of the Port Columbus International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Columbus Regional Airport Authority
Location Columbus, Ohio
Elevation AMSL 815 ft / 248 m
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10R/28L 10,125 3,086 Asphalt
10L/28R 8,000 2,438 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Aircraft operations (2008) 163,984
Passenger volume 6,355,974
Cargo tonnage (2007) 5,205
Source: FAA[1] and CRAA[2][3]

Port Columbus International Airport (ICAO: KCMHFAA LID: CMH), commonly shortened to Port Columbus, is a Class C international airport located 6 miles (9.7 km) east of downtown Columbus, Ohio, USA. It is managed by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which also oversees operations at Rickenbacker International Airport and Bolton Field. The airport code 'CMH' stands for "Columbus Municipal Hangar," an old name for the airport.[4]

Port Columbus is primarily a passenger airport. It provides 151 non-stop flights to 34 airports via 15 airlines daily.[5] Traffic reached 6,355,974 passengers in 2014, a 2.1% increase over the previous year.[6]

According to a 2005 market survey, Port Columbus attracts about 50% of its passengers from outside of its 60-mile (97 km) radius primary service region.[7] In addition, the airport also handles freight and US mail, with 10,411,920 units of freight and 8,537,279 units of mail passing through in 2006.[3]

Today Port Columbus provides service to almost all major airline hubs in the United States, with exceptions being Seattle (Alaska Airlines, Delta), San Francisco (United), and Salt Lake City (Delta). However, the San Francisco Bay area is served via Oakland by Southwest Airlines. The airport is the largest passenger airport in central Ohio and second busiest in the state after Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Accessing Port Columbus by road is possible by two interstate highways: I-270 to the northeast and I-670 to the west. The main airport roadway, International Gateway, connects directly to I-670.[8]

Port Columbus is known for its lengthy and costly renovation projects as well as displaying community artwork such as Brushstrokes in Flight, a sculpture located inside the terminal atrium designed by Roy Lichtenstein.[9]


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Historical airline service 1.2
    • Recent improvements 1.3
  • Infrastructure 2
    • On-site facilities 2.1
    • Airfield 2.2
    • Aircraft 2.3
  • Terminals 3
  • Airlines and destinations 4
    • Scheduled 4.1
    • Charter 4.2
  • Statistics 5
    • Top domestic destinations 5.1
    • Annual traffic 5.2
  • Ground transportation 6
    • Car 6.1
    • Bus 6.2
    • Taxi 6.3
  • Incidents and accidents 7
    • June 27, 1954 7.1
    • January 7, 1990 7.2
    • July 1, 1991 7.3
    • January 7, 1994 7.4
    • February 16, 1999 7.5
    • May 2, 1999 7.6
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Original Port Columbus Airport Terminal used from 1929–1958[10]

Early history

The airport opened July 8, 1929 on a site selected by Charles Lindbergh, as the eastern air terminus of the Transcontinental Air Transport air-rail New York to Los Angeles transcontinental route. Passengers traveled overnight on the Pennsylvania Railroad's Airway Limited from New York to Columbus; by air from Columbus to Waynoka, Oklahoma; by rail again on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe from Waynoka to Clovis, New Mexico; and by air from Clovis to Los Angeles.[11] The original terminal building and hangars are still in use; the terminal has been restored and has rental office space and the hangars are still hangars.[12]

The diagram on the February 1951 Coast & Geodetic Survey instrument-approach chart shows runways 006/186 3550 ft long, 052/232 4400 ft, 096/276 4500 ft, and 127/307 5030 ft.

A $12 million terminal building opened on September 21, 1958.[12] Jet airline flights (American 707s) started in April 1964.

New control tower

Historical airline service

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 72 airline departures each weekday: 41 TWA, 16 American, 6 Eastern, 6 Lake Central and 3 Piedmont.[13]

The first major airline to fly into Port Columbus was TWA, and it kept a presence at Columbus over seventy years during the era of airline regulation.[12] TWA offered a club for exclusive passengers up until 2000 when America West took over a gate held by TWA and the club itself due to financial problems.[14]

Port Columbus International Airport was formerly a hub of America West Airlines in the 1990s, but the company closed the hub in 2003 due to financial losses and the post 9/11-decline in air travel.[14]

Skybus had its hub at Port Columbus.

The airport was the home base of short-lived Skybus Airlines, which began operations from Port Columbus on May 22, 2007. The airline touted themselves as the cheapest airline in the United States, offering a minimum of ten seats for $10 each on every flight. It tended to serve major markets from secondary and even tertiary airports. For example, they served Los Angeles via Burbank, San Francisco via Oakland, Seattle and Vancouver via Bellingham, WA and Boston via Portsmouth, NH. Skybus ceased operations April 4, 2008.

Recent improvements

A $70 million renovation of airport facilities, designed by Brubaker, Brandt Inc., was initiated in 1979 for the airport's 50th anniversary and completed in 1981.[15] This upgraded the airport's capacity to 250 flights per day by adding what is known today as Concourse B and added fully enclosed jetways at every gate.[12] Ten years later in 1989, a second, $15.5 million, seven-gate south concourse (now Concourse A) was dedicated.[12] The concourse was used exclusively by US Airways at the time, and later housed hubs for both America West Airlines until 2003, and Skybus Airlines until they shut it down in 2008 due to their bankruptcy. A north concourse was completed in 1996, which is now Concourse C, and was expanded in 2002.[12]

President Barack Obama with U.S. Representative Mary Jo Kilroy (right) and Senator Sherrod Brown (left, behind secret service agent) arriving at Port Columbus in 2009

Between 1998 and 2000, numerous airport expansion and renovation projects were completed, including a $25 million terminal renovation in 1998 that included additional retail shops, new flight information displays, enhanced lighting, upgraded flooring, and a new food court. Also, new hangars and office spaces were completed for NetJets in 1999, as well as a $92 million parking garage including an underground terminal entrance, new rental car facilities, dedicated ground transportation area, improved eight-lane terminal access on two levels, and a new atrium and entrances in 2000, which were designed by URS Corporation.[12][16]

On April 25, 2004, a new 195-foot (59 m) control tower directed its first aircraft. This began several major facility enhancements to be constructed through 2025.[12] On October 21, 2010, a new arrivals/departures board replaced the old one in the main entrance area

Port Columbus is currently going under a Terminal Modernization Program, which includes new terrazzo flooring throughout the airport, new ceilings, new restrooms, more TSA security lanes, and new LED lighting. Construction started on Concourse A in late 2012 and is expected to be complete throughout the terminal in 2016. Concourses A and C are completed, while construction on Concourse B and the ticket lobby are underway.[17]

In 2013, the airport completed a $140 million runway improvement that moved the south runway farther from the north runway. This created a buffer distance that enables simultaneous takeoffs and landing on the north and south runways, increasing air traffic volume. Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman commented, "As the city grows, the airport needs to grow with it."[18]


Main flight information board at the entrance to Concourse B
Port Columbus Diagram
Aerial photograph of Port Columbus International Airport

On-site facilities

In 2001, Executive Jet Aviation (now known as NetJets, opened up a 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) operational headquarters at Port Columbus International Airport.[19]

In November 2006, Skybus Airlines began leasing 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of office and hangar facilities at the Columbus International AirCenter adjacent to Port Columbus.[20]

Envoy Air operates a maintenance base at Port Columbus, along with Republic Airways who operate their flagship base at Port Columbus.

The airport has its own police and fire departments (ARFF-C).


The original 1929 layout for the airport covered 524 acres (212 ha), with two runways 2,500 and 3,500 feet (760 and 1,070 m) long.[21] In 1952 the current south runway was lengthened to 8,000 feet (2,400 m), making it the longest runway in the midwest at the time.[12] The north runway was extended to 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in 1997[12] and the south runway has since been extended to 10,125 feet (3,086 m).[1]

Port Columbus international Airport covers 2,185 acres (884 ha) and has two runways:[1]

  • Runway 10R/28L: 10,113 ft × 150 ft (3,082 m × 46 m), air carrier runway, ILS equipped.
  • Runway 10L/28R: 8,000 ft × 150 ft (2,438 m × 46 m), air carrier runway, ILS equipped.

Runway 10L/28R is just north of the 40th parallel north.


For the 12-month period ending January 1, 2009, the airport had 163,984 aircraft operations, an average of 449 per day: 44% air taxi, 18% general aviation, 37% scheduled commercial, and 1% military. There are 92 aircraft based at this airport: 46% single engine, 16% multi-engine, 37% jet aircraft, and 1% helicopters.[1]


Ticketing counters flanking Concourse B

Port Columbus International Airport has 3 airport concourses. Concourse A (gates A1 – A7) is home to Southwest Airlines, which uses all the gates with the exception of A1 (no jet bridge) and A7 (ground-level boarding gate). Concourse B (gates B15 – B36)is home to American Airlines, United Airlines, and Air Canada. The Vacation Express charters also depart from B. Gates B15 through B18 and B33 are no longer accessible due to concession and restroom construction. Gate B36 recently had its jet bridge removed. Concourse C (gates C46 – C56)is home to Delta Airlines, which uses gates C51-C56. Gates C47-C50 are not currently in use, while gate C46 is used for international arrivals and connects directly to customs and immigration. Currently, the only international arrivals are the seasonal flights from Freeport, Cancun and Punta Cana, as well as the daily flights to Toronto.

Airlines and destinations

Non-Stop Destinations served

In June of 2015, Southwest Airlines had the greatest number of flights at the airport, with 956 flights. Delta Air Lines/Delta Connection had the second greatest, with 949, followed by United Airlines/United Express (677), American Airlines/American Eagle (658), US Airways/US Airways Express (637), and finally Air Canada Express (108). Southwest Airlines enplaned the greatest number of passengers (109,876) followed by Delta Air Lines/Delta Connection (71,352), United Airlines/United Express (41,943), American Airlines/American Eagle (41,366), US Airways/US Airways Express (41,102), and finally Air Canada Express (2,815).[22]


Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson B
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix B
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National B
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St Paul
Seasonal: Cancún
Delta Connection Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Raleigh/Durham
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Orlando
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago–Midway, Dallas-Love, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington–National A
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare
Seasonal: Denver
United Express Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles B


Airlines Destinations Concourse
Vacation Express
operated by Interjet
Seasonal: Cancún C
Vacation Express
operated by Sunwing Airlines
Seasonal: Freeport B
Vacation Express
operated by Swift Air
Seasonal: Punta Cana B


Top domestic destinations

Busiest domestic routes from CMH (August 2014 - July 2015)[23]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, GA 420,240 Delta, Southwest
2 Chicago, IL (ORD) 281,040 American, United
3 Chicago, IL (MDW) 200,820 Southwest
4 Charlotte, NC 183,740 US Airways
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 179,500 American
6 Baltimore, MD 136,140 Southwest
7 Phoenix, AZ 129,880 Southwest, US Airways
8 Orlando, FL 123,040 Delta, Southwest
9 New York–LaGuardia, NY 115,490 Delta
10 Philadelphia, PA 112,230 US Airways

Annual traffic

Annual passengers (enplaned + deplaned) for Port Columbus International Airport[24][25]
Year Passengers Change Year Passengers Change Year Passengers Change
2010 6,366,191 2.13% 2000 6,873,998
2009 6,233,485 9.79%
2008 6,910,045 10.48%
2007 7,719,340 14.63%
2006 6,733,990 1.85%
2005 6,611,575 6.09%
2014 6,355,974 1.92% 2004 6,232,332 0.32%
2013 6,236,528 1.79% 2003 6,252,233 7.25%
2012 6,350,446 0.44% 2002 6,740,935 0.90%
2011 6,378,722 0.20% 2001 6,680,897 2.81%

Ground transportation


The airport is accessible directly by taking exit number nine on Interstate 670 to International Gateway. Alternatively, drivers located south of the airport can also get to the airport via Hamilton Road, just south of Interstate 270, and enter at Sawyer Road.[8]

Parking is available long-term and short-term in the six-story attached parking garage, though the first two levels are dedicated to rental cars. Additional there is valet parking and long-term parking is also available in three outdoor lots along International Gateway, named blue (with some covered parking area), green and red. These lots access the terminal via a free shuttle, which runs continuously throughout the day. Additionally, there is a small free "cell phone lot" accessed from the outbound side of International Gateway.[26][27]


Port Columbus can be accessed by bus, via the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), which offers two airport routes. Route 92 serves the east side of Columbus throughout the day, and route 52 serves Ohio State University during school breaks. Bus travel between the airport and other regions requires a transfer.[28] The GoBus operates a twice daily schedule to Athens Ohio and back.


Inbound taxi services operate through numerous taxi businesses in the Columbus area. A number of taxi services provide outbound transportation in the taxi lane.[29]

Incidents and accidents

June 27, 1954

An American Airlines Convair CV-240 (N94263) from Dayton International Airport was on approach to Runway 27 at 300 feet (91 m) when the left side of the plane collided with a US Navy Beechcraft SNB-2C Navigator (BuA23773), also on approach. The Convair recovered and landed, though the nose gear collapsed on landing. The Beechcraft crashed short of the runway, killing two on board.[30]

The probable cause was attributed to "A traffic control situation created by the tower local controller which he allowed to continue without taking the necessary corrective action. A contributing factor was the failure of both crews to detect this situation by visual and/or aural vigilance."[30]

January 7, 1990

A Piper Aztec from Duluth, Minnesota, veered off the left side of the runway when the nose gear collapsed on landing. The aircraft was damaged significantly, though the pilot survived. The pilot reported having difficulty with the landing gear during taxi from Duluth, and witnesses reported seeing the nose gear of the aircraft canted 60 degrees left during landing.[31]

The probable cause was attributed to "Pilot's inadequate preflight of the airplane and the continued operation of the airplane with a nose gear steering problem."[31]

July 1, 1991

A New Creations Learjet 25XR (N458J) from Philadelphia International Airport lost sight of the runway on approach in heavy rain and lost directional control, resulting in no fatalities.[32]

The probable cause was attributed to "The failure of the pilot to maintain visual reference with the runway during a landing, which resulted in a loss of directional control. Also causal to the accident was the pilot's failure to initiate a go-around, after he lost sight of the runway during the touchdown. Factors related to the accident were the heavy rain and the lack of runway centerline lights."[32]

January 7, 1994

Atlantic Coast Airlines Flight 6291 was a BAe Jetstream 41 being operated for United Express; it was on approach to runway 28L when it entered into a stall at 430 feet (130 m) above runway level. The aircraft collided with a stand of trees and came to rest inside a commercial building 1.2 miles (1.9 km) short of the runway and burst into flames. The accident killed two of three crewmembers and five of nine passengers.[33]

The probable cause was attributed to "(1) An aerodynamic stall that occurred when the flight crew allowed the airspeed to decay to stall speed following a very poorly planned and executed approach characterized by an absence of procedural discipline; (2) Improper pilot response to the stall warning, including failure to advance the power levers to maximum, and inappropriately raising the flaps; (3) Flight crew experience in 'glass cockpit' automated aircraft, aircraft type and in seat position, a situation exacerbated by a side letter of agreement between the company and its pilots; and (4) the company's failure to provide adequate stabilized approach criteria, and the FAA's failure to require such criteria. Member Vogt concluded that the last factor was contributory but not causal to the accident. Additionally, for the following two factors, Chairman Hall and Member Lauber concluded that they were causal to the accident, while Members Vogt and Hammerschmidt concluded they were contributory to the accident: (5) The company's failure to provide adequate crew resource management training, and the FAA's failure to require such training; and (6) the unavailability of suitable training simulators that precluded fully effective flight crew training."[33]

February 16, 1999

America West Airlines flight 2811, an Airbus A320 (N628AW), experienced a landing gear malfunction during approach to CMH. After visual confirmation of the fault from the ground, the pilot initiated a missed approach and declared an emergency. On the second approach, the plane landed. Damage was limited to the nose landing gear rims and tires. The incident was very similar to the more recent JetBlue Airways Flight 292.[34]

May 2, 1999

During taxiing, a Cessna 172 accidentally entered a perimeter road instead of Taxiway Charlie. After turning onto the road, the Cessna struck a fence with its left wing. Investigation revealed that the perimeter road was unmarked.[35]

The probable cause was attributed to "The pilot's failure to maintain obstacle clearance and his visual perception of the perimeter road as Taxiway Charlie. A factor in the accident was the absence of a sign identifying the perimeter road."[35]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for CMH (Form 5010 PDF), effective November 18, 2010
  2. ^ Columbus Airport Passenger numbers
  3. ^ a b "Port Columbus Sets New Passenger Record in 2007". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. January 25, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Airport ABCs: An Explanation of Airport Identifier Codes". Retrieved July 22, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Port Columbus Non-stop Destinations". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2010. Retrieved December 21, 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "REGIONAL AIRPORTS ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY, WILBUR SMITH ASSOCIATES, INC., January 2005, Chap 1 pp2-4" (PDF). Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "Art Displays and Children's Postcards". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2007. 
  10. ^ "". Marker #94-25 Original Port Columbus Airport Terminal, 1929–1958 / Original Port Columbus Airport Terminal, 1929–1958. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ Fred J. Bunyan (January 1959). "Columbus Prepared for Progress". Flying Magazine. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Port Columbus Milestones". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ Official Airline Guide, Washington DC: American Aviation Publications, 1957 
  14. ^ a b "America West in Columbus". PSA History Page. 2003–2007. Retrieved July 22, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Engineering News-Record". Engineering News-Record 202 (1–13): 271. 1979. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ URS Corporation – Port Columbus International Airport
  17. ^
  18. ^ Weese, Evan (August 22, 2013). "Port Columbus 'Staying Ahead of Demand Curve' With New South Runway". Columbus Business First. 
  19. ^ "Executive Jet, Inc. Inaugurates New Operations Center". Netjets Inc. June 14, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Skybus will establish headquarters at Columbus International AirCenter". Skybus Airlines Inc. November 10, 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2007. 
  21. ^ "75 Years of Flight in Columbus". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2004. Retrieved August 16, 2007. 
  22. ^ "June 2015 Traffic Report" (PDF). flyColumbus. Columbus Regional Airport Authority. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  23. ^,%20OH:%20Port%20Columbus%20International&carrier=FACTS
  24. ^ "Port Columbus Air Service Reports". Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (pg 61). Retrieved Mar 29, 2015
  26. ^ "Parking Maps". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2007. Retrieved August 16, 2007. 
  27. ^ "Shuttle Lots and Airport Property". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  28. ^ "COTA Map" (PDF). Central Ohio Transit Authority. 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Taxi Services". Columbus Regional Airport Authority. 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2007. 
  30. ^ a b "ASN Aircraft accident description Convair CV-240-0 N94263". Aviation Safety Network. 1954. Retrieved November 13, 2007. 
  31. ^ a b "Aircraft Incidents and Accidents, Columbus, Ohio 43219 Port Columbus International Airport". 1990. Retrieved November 13, 2007. 
  32. ^ a b "ASN Aircraft accident description Learjet 25XR N458J". Aviation Safety Network. 1991. Retrieved November 13, 2007. 
  33. ^ a b "ASN Aircraft accident description British Aerospace BAe 4101 Jetstream 41 N304UE". Aviation Safety Network. 1994. Retrieved November 13, 2007. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b "Aircraft Incidents and Accidents, Columbus, Ohio 43201 Port Columbus International Airport". 1999. Retrieved November 13, 2007. 

External links

  • National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) CMH Local
  • Port Columbus International Airport (official site)
  • Real-Time Flight Information for Port Columbus
  • FAA Airport Diagram (PDF), effective June 23, 2016
  • Resources for this airport:
    • AirNav airport information for KCMH
    • ASN accident history for CMH
    • FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KCMH
    • FAA current CMH delay information
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