Rickenbacker International Airport

Last updated

Rickenbacker International Airport
Rickenbacker Inland Port Logo.png
LCK Terminal.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
Owner/Operator Columbus Regional Airport Authority
Serves Greater Columbus
Location Franklin / Pickaway counties, near Columbus, Ohio
Hub for
Occupants 121st Air Refueling Wing

Ohio Military Reserve

Ohio Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2
Time zone UTC−05:00 (-5)
  Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (-4)
Elevation  AMSL 744 ft / 227 m
Coordinates 39°48′50″N082°55′40″W / 39.81389°N 82.92778°W / 39.81389; -82.92778
Public transit accessAiga bus trans.svg COTA alt logo.svg 22, 24, Great Blue, Red, Green shuttles
Website rickenbackeradvantage.com
Maps
LCK0608.png
FAA airport diagram
Rickenbacker International Airport
Runways
Direction LengthSurface
ftm
05R/23L12,1033,689 Asphalt/concrete
05L/23R11,9023,638Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Aircraft operations24,168
Based aircraft50

Rickenbacker International Airport( IATA : LCK, ICAO : KLCK, FAA LID : LCK) is a civil-military public airport 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown Columbus, near Lockbourne in southern Franklin County, Ohio, United States. The south end of the airport extends into Pickaway County. The base was named for flying ace and Columbus native Eddie Rickenbacker. It is managed by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which also operates John Glenn Columbus International Airport and Bolton Field. [1] Rickenbacker International is primarily a cargo airport for the city of Columbus, although since 2012 it has served an increasing number of passenger flights as well as charter carriers. [2]

Contents

The United States Air Force maintains a presence in the form of the Ohio Air National Guard's 121st Air Refueling Wing. Rickenbacker International is also home of the Ohio Army National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2 and the headquarters for the Ohio Military Reserve, one of the state defense forces of Ohio.

In 1999 and 2007, the airport held Gatherings of Mustangs and Legends. Dozens of Mustang airplanes attended each time. [3] The airport will host the Columbus Air Show in 2023. [4]

History

The facility opened in June 1942 as Lockbourne Army Airfield, named for the nearby village of Lockbourne. [5] [6] Soon renamed the Northeastern Training Center of the Army Air Corps, it provided basic pilot training and military support; it also trained Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) to fly B-17 bombers and glider pilots to fly the Waco CG-4A. After the war, the airfield switched from flight training to developing and testing all-weather military flight operations. The primary unit at the base was the all-Black 447th Composite Group, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

During the Cold War, the facility was renamed Lockbourne Air Force Base and was assigned to the USAF Strategic Air Command, then on May 18, 1974, redesignated Rickenbacker Air Force Base by Department of the Air Force Special Order GA-11 of March 6, 1974, to honor Columbus native Eddie Rickenbacker, the leading American fighter pilot of World War I.

The base was transferred from the Strategic Air Command (SAC) to the Air National Guard and redesignated Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base on April 1, 1980.

Current Rickenbacker Tower Rickenbacker International Airport Tower 1.jpg
Current Rickenbacker Tower

The base was recommended for closure by the 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which would have moved the 121st Air Refueling Wing and the 160th Air Refueling Group of the Ohio Air National Guard to Wright-Patterson AFB. But following a proposal by the State of Ohio, the 1993 Commission recommended that the Air National Guard units remain at Rickenbacker, operating as tenants in a military cantonment area. The military facilities were renamed Rickenbacker Air National Guard Station on September 30, 1994, by the 1991 Commission.

In August 2001 construction started on a consolidated Navy and Marine Corps Air Reserve Center at Rickenbacker International Airport. The $10 million center, scheduled for completion in early 2003, sits at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Club Street next to the Air National Guard facility. Developed by the Navy Reserve, the project consolidated the Naval Air Reserve Center at Rickenbacker with the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center on Yearling Road in Columbus. The nearly 1,000 Navy and Marine Corps reservists at the two reserve centers shifted their activities to the new facility, allowing the old Naval Air Reserve Center at Rickenbacker to be redeveloped by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates the 5,000-acre (2,023 ha) airport.

In 2015, Cathay Pacific Cargo and Emirates SkyCargo boosted their services at the airport to support growth at the airport. Thanks to their additional service, logistics company Morrison Express launched operations at Rickenbacker in 2016 to support them. [7] [8]

A new Air Traffic Control tower was opened at the airport in 2016. [6]

In 2018, the airport launched a $565,000 improvement project to boost the efficiency of its jetways. New ground power units and pre-conditioned air units were installed. Funding was provided largely from an FAA grant awarded as part of its Voluntary Airport Low Emissions program, which helps airports meet air quality standards set by the US Clean Air Act. [9] [10]

That same year, the company upgraded its animal transport facility to ensure operational efficiency and animal safety. The facility earned U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) status as both a certified Export Inspection Facility and a Permanent Port of Embarkation for livestock. The upgrade included 12 new animal stalls and an on-site USDA office. [11]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines such as Emirates, Korean Air, and Etihad serviced the airport with passenger aircraft converted to transport loose cargo when demand for air travel waned and demand for freight continued to rise. On April 1, 2021, Rickenbacker and the CRAA celebrated the 500th arrival of a converted passenger plane: Emirates flight 2501 from Copenhagen.

In 2020, Rickenbacker was one of the most cost-effective small commercial airports in the country for passengers. It ranked as the third-cheapest airport of its size that year. [12] The COVID-19 pandemic brought historical traffic levels to the airport. Monthly international arrivals peaked at 120 in 2020 and even higher in 2021 as airlines brought medical cargo in to the airport. 2021 was the airport's best year to date due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on cargo aviation. [13] [14] It was named the 2021 Airport of the Year by the Ohio Aviation Association for its role in bringing emergency protective equipment, its record-breaking shipments of international cargo, and receiving its first passenger aircraft converted for cargo. [15] [16]

Rickenbacker took part in an FAA research project on drones in 2021. It was one of five airports to participate in the agency’s Airport Unmanned Aircraft Systems Detection and Mitigation Research Program. [17] [18]

Operations

Rickenbacker was run by the Rickenbacker Port Authority, until merging in 2003 with Port Columbus and Bolton field creating the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. As of July 2006, Rickenbacker is the world's 126th busiest cargo airport according to Air Cargo World. [19] Rickenbacker ranks as one of the world's top 20 fastest growing cargo airports in July 2006 with 112,888 tons, a 15.3% increase from the previous year. This is mainly due to the transfer of AirNet Systems operations from Port Columbus International Airport to Rickenbacker. This number is expected to increase with the introduction of the new intermodal facility that is under construction. As of now it has scheduled service from FedEx Express along with FedEx Feeder contractors, Mountain Air Cargo and CSA Air and UPS Airlines along with contractors Air Cargo Carriers. Multi-weekly 747 freighter service is operated by Atlas Air and Kalitta Air. Another airline based at Rickenbacker is Snow Aviation.

Rickenbacker International Airport was also the site for filming all aircraft exterior shots in the movie Air Force One starring Harrison Ford while also acting as Ramstein Air Base in the film. In 2007, Rickenbacker hosted the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends air show, one of the largest-ever gatherings of operable classic warbirds, especially the P-51 Mustang.

Facilities and aircraft

Rickenbacker International Airport covers 4,342 acres (1,757 ha) and has two runways: [1]

In the year ending December 31, 2022 the airport had 24,168 aircraft operations, average 66 per day: 52% commercial, 35% general aviation, and 14% military. At the time, 50 aircraft were based at the airport: 32 military aircraft, 10 jets, 4 single-engine, and 4 multi-engine airplanes. [1] [20]

The airport has a fixed-base operator that offers fuel – both avgas and jet fuel – as well as services such as conference rooms, a crew lounge, snooze rooms, showers, and courtesy transportation. [21]

In December 2006, PlanetSpace entered negotiations with the Ohio government to build a spaceport at Rickenbacker. [22] The company has since been dissolved by the Government of Canada. [23]

Also in 2006, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority completed a noise compatibility study for the airport. This program helps to guide suggested flight paths and targets soundproofing of buildings exposed to high levels of aircraft noise. [24]

AirNet Express headquarters is at the airport. [25]

In 2008, Norfolk Southern opened the Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal next to the airport. [26] This facility allows the handling of approximately 250,000 Intermodal containers annually and anchors Norfolk Southern's Heartland Corridor. The project allows easy access to and from the deep water port at Norfolk, Virginia via the use of double stack containers as well as improved access to rail hubs in the Chicago area. [27]

In February 2022, Kintetsu World Express opened a sales office at the airport. [27]

Old Rickenbacker Tower Rick Tower.jpg
Old Rickenbacker Tower

Airlines and destinations

Since the completion of the current passenger terminal in 2003, Rickenbacker has acted as a secondary airport for Columbus and has seen a number of carriers come and go, [28] including Southeast Airlines, Boston-Maine Airways, Hooters Air, Direct Air, USA3000 Airlines, Fly Mission Air, and Vision Airlines. [29] [30] In 2012, low-cost carrier Allegiant Air launched service to Sanford and St. Petersburg, FL and has since been successful in expanding service to ten additional leisure destinations in the Southern United States. Today, Allegiant is the sole passenger airline in Rickenbacker.

Multiple major cargo airlines, including a number of international carriers, also operate at Rickenbacker International Airport.

Passenger

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Allegiant Air Fort Lauderdale, Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda (FL), Sarasota, Savannah, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville (FL), Myrtle Beach, Norfolk
[31]


Destinations map

Cargo

AirlinesDestinations
Cargolux Anchorage, [32] Chicago–O'Hare, [33] Luxembourg, [33] New York–JFK [32]
Castle Aviation Akron/Canton, [34] Cleveland [35]
Cathay Cargo Anchorage, [36] Atlanta, [36] Chicago–O'Hare, [36] Hong Kong
Emirates SkyCargo Amsterdam, Chicago–O'Hare, [37] Dubai–Al Maktoum, Frankfurt, [38] New York–JFK [38]
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Anchorage, Hanoi, Miami
FedEx Express Baltimore, [39] Cleveland, [40] Detroit, [41] Indianapolis, [42] Memphis, [43] Nashville, [44] Newark, [45] Richmond [42]
Seasonal: Hartford [46]
FedEx Feeder Indianapolis, [47] Parkersburg [48]
Kalitta Air Anchorage
Korean Air Cargo Seoul–Incheon [49]
National Airlines Anchorage, Tokyo–Narita
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha
Turkish Airlines Cargo Istanbul
UPS Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh [50]
Seasonal: Hartford [51]

Statistics

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from LCK
(January – December 2022) [52]
RankCityPassengersCarriers
1 Punta Gorda/Fort Myers, Florida 27,610Allegiant
2 St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida 22,360Allegiant
3 Orlando/Sanford, Florida 22,990Allegiant
4 Sarasota, Florida 16,810Allegiant
5 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 13,120Allegiant
6 Savannah, Georgia 14,340Allegiant
7 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 12,700Allegiant
8 Destin–Fort Walton Beach 11,530Allegiant
9 Charleston, South Carolina 4,420Allegiant
10 Norfolk, Virginia 1,120Allegiant

Motor racing

In 1953 and 1954 the airport was used for two meetings organized by the Sports Car Club of America. [53]

Accidents and incidents

See also

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References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency

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