Airport History

Lexington 's Blue Grass Airport serves over one million passengers each year and occupies approximately 1,000 acres. The airport offers commercial flights to destinations worldwide and also provides a variety of corporate and general aviation services including U.S. Customs cargo inspection, flight instruction, charter aircraft, airplane maintenance, aircraft storage and more.

Here's a look at how it all began…

1940

The city and county governments purchased 523 acres of farmland off of Versailles Road to construct what would eventually become known as Blue Grass Field.

1941

Runway construction began on March 6 and progressed quickly since World War II was looming in Europe and Asia.

1942

The first aircraft, an Army Air Corps B-25 bomber, officially landed at Blue Grass Field on July 11. The United States Army took control of the airport and began using it as a secondary training facility and supply gateway during World War II.

1945

Airport operations were turned over to the city on August 15 and plans were made to build the first terminal building.

1946

The first terminal was completed October 13. Eastern and Delta Air Lines provided the first commercial passenger flights to Lexington. The Lexington-Fayette County Airport Board was formed.

1968

First jets operate at Blue Grass Airport.

1976

A new terminal opened on April 22 to allow room for expansion.

1989

The terminal building expanded to handle an increasing number of passengers. A new concourse was added for Delta Air Lines in December.

1999

A new parking structure was constructed to provide convenient, hassle-free parking for airport customers.

2002

Blue Grass Airport unveiled a new state-of-the-art security system, which serves as a model to airports nationwide.

2004

Construction began on a new rental car ready return center and safety area improvements on runway 4-22.

2005

Blue Grass Airport opened an airport-operated executive lounge—The Club at Blue Grass. The Club includes state-of-the-art business facilities, an upscale passenger lounge and personalized service. In October 2005, The New York Times Bookstore opened its first airport location at Blue Grass Airport.

2006

Blue Grass Airport completed a four-phase Runway Safety area improvement project, including construction of a one-of-a-kind retaining wall with a Kentucky mural. Airport employees received the 2006 Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award for this project.

2007

A new $16.9 million concourse addition opened in April 2007, including six new passenger boarding gates, additional seating and restroom facilities.

2008

Blue Grass Airport opened new concessions for passengers including Quizno's sandwich shop, Bourbon Bar and Lounge, deSha's American Tavern, Café Ritazza and Blue Grass MarketPlace.

Helping Our History Take Flight

Blue Grass Airport is an American aviation story. It's remarkable history has been chronicled through a series of oral history interviews. A total of 16 oral histories were collected to better document and archive the history of the airport in order to tell the stories that might otherwise be lost in time. The end goal of this project is to produce a book that permanently records this history. Watch the oral history interviews here.

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