Task force created to help CVG keep jobs, money in Tri-State

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati's USA Regional Chamber of Commerce is spearheading a task force to try and research under served routes, lobby airlines to add those routes, and lure low cost airlines to help fill space at CVG.

Right now, the airport is one flight away from no longer offering international passenger service.

The task force comes on the heels of the news that Chiquita is considering moving its headquarters out of Cincinnati, due in part to CVG's lack of International flights.

In 2003, CVG had more than 21 million passengers, 635 daily flights, non-stop flights to more than 130 destinations, and non-stop flights to four international locations.  Now, CVG has about eight million passengers, non-stop flights to more than 60 destinations, and one International non-stop flight to Paris.

Could the problems at CVG ultimately lead to major economic trouble if businesses decide to leave, or not come at all?

Aviation expert Jay Ratliff says yes.

"That's one of the things that strategic planners at Chiquita and other businesses are looking at, saying, 'Look, it's difficult for us to compete now, to have business as usual now. What's it going to be like in 3 or 4 years when we have half the flights at CVG that we have now?'" said Ratliff.

Those numbers are educated guesses on Ratliff's part.  He said he hopes he's wrong about them, but the reality is that the flights at CVG have been steadily going down, and that is never good for business travelers.

The membership of the task force, meaning which businesses are represented, is not being disclosed.  But it's most likely the case that the biggest companies that call Cincinnati home are among those who will have a seat at the table to lobby their backyard airport for help.

Unlike leisure travelers, who are mostly concerned with price, business travelers are most interested in the number of nonstop flights that are offered, says Ratliff.

"Time is money and when you've got a sales force that needs to be immediately responding to an opportunity on the west coast, catching a 9 o'clock flight and being there in 4 hours is far superior than connecting through a Dallas or Chicago," he said.

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