Blue Grass Airport

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Blue Grass Airport
Blue Grass Airport Logo.svg
Blue Grass Airport Terminals.jpg


KLEX is located in Kentucky
Location of Blue Grass Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board
Operator Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board
Serves Lexington, Kentucky
Location Fayette County
Elevation AMSL 979 ft / 298 m
Coordinates 38°02′11″N 084°36′21″W / 38.03639°N 84.60583°W / 38.03639; -84.60583
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 7,004 2,135 Asphalt
9/27 4,000 1,219 Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations 69,485
Based aircraft (2015) 107
Passengers 1,245,251
Source: Blue Grass Airport[1]

Blue Grass Airport (IATA: LEXICAO: KLEXFAA LID: LEX) is a public airport in Fayette County, Kentucky, 4 miles west of downtown Lexington. Located among world-renowned horse farms and situated directly across from Keeneland Race Course, Blue Grass Airport is the primary airport serving central and eastern Kentucky. More than 1.2 million passengers depart or arrive annually at Blue Grass Airport. In 2016, the airport served 1,245,251 passengers via four major airline carriers: Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.[2]

The airport covers 911 acres (3.69 km2) and has two runways. On August 4, 2010, a new 4,000 foot runway, 9/27, opened replacing the previous 3,500 foot runway, 8/26. [3] Blue Grass Airport is home to the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, which features more than 25,000 square feet of exhibit space displaying restored aircraft and memorabilia. The current main terminal building opened in 1977. On April 18, 2007, Blue Grass Airport opened an extension of Concourse B, adding six boarding gates with four new jet bridges.

Blue Grass Airport is a catalyst for economic growth in the region, contributing to both the Lexington area and other parts of Kentucky. The airport is an important component of Lexington's economy, providing 3,478 jobs for Lexington and an annual economic impact of $370 million.[4] In addition to commercial passenger service, the airport also offers corporate and general aviation services, including a newly constructed general aviation terminal, U.S. Customs, charter flights, aircraft maintenance, hangars and flight instruction.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Allegiant Air Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Baltimore, Myrtle Beach, Savannah
A, B
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia B
Delta Air Lines Atlanta B
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit, New York–LaGuardia, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Washington–National B
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark A


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest Domestic Routes from LEX (Apr 2015 – Mar 2016)[5]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 178,000 Delta
2 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 79,000 American Eagle, United Express
3 Charlotte, North Carolina 75,000 American Eagle, US Airways Express
4 Detroit, Michigan 57,000 Delta Connection
5 Orlando/Sanford, Florida 40,000 Allegiant
6 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 39,000 American Eagle
7 Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Florida 29,000 Allegiant
8 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 28,000 American Eagle, US Airways Express
9 St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida 24,000 Allegiant
10 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 17,000 Allegiant

Airline market share[edit]

Largest Airlines at LEX (Apr 2015 – Mar 2016)[6]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 ExpressJet 313,000 25.77%
2 Allegiant Airlines 231,000 19.01%
3 Delta Air Lines 208,000 17.16%
4 PSA Airlines 152,000 12.49%
5 Envoy Air 73,061 5.46%


Blue Grass airport opened with a star-shaped layout. In WWII it was used by pilots training at Bowman for dead-stick landing practice in preparation for glider assaults.[7]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • December 5, 1987: After suffering an in-flight engine fire en route from Dallas, Texas to New York, the flight crew of a Hawker Siddeley HS.125 business jet, registration number N400PH, touched down short of the runway while attempting an emergency landing at Blue Grass Airport. The jet crossed a highway and struck an automobile, utility poles, and 2 fences, killing the pilot and co-pilot, and injuring both passengers in the aircraft and 2 people in the automobile. The accident was attributed to the crew's inadvertent retraction of the aircraft's flaps, causing the jet to suddenly lose altitude.[8][9]
  • November 1993: The flight crew of an unidentified commercial jet at Blue Grass Airport was cleared for takeoff on Runway 22 but mistakenly lined up at the shorter Runway 26 instead. Tower personnel noticed the mistake and cancelled the aircraft's takeoff clearance just as the crew realized their error. The aircraft subsequently made a safe departure from Runway 22.[10]
  • August 30, 2002: A Learjet 35C, registration number N45CP, overran Runway 4 on landing, killing 1 passenger and seriously injuring 4 other occupants of the aircraft. The accident was attributed to the pilot's application of additional forward thrust after failing to properly deploy the jet's thrust reversers.[11]
  • August 27, 2006: Comair Flight 5191, a Bombardier CRJ-100ER operated by regional carrier Comair on behalf of Delta Connection, overran Runway 26 and crashed after being cleared to take off from the much longer Runway 22. There were 49 fatalities, with the first officer, James Polehinke, being the only survivor.
  • March 25, 2009: A Cessna 182, registration number N4871N, crashed 3 mi (5 km) west of Blue Grass Airport, killing the pilot and sole occupant. The pilot apparently became disoriented during the landing approach after losing electrical power in densely clouded IFR conditions, but the cause of the crash had not been positively determined as of September 2009.[12]
  • March 25, 2010: A medical helicopter, Eurocopter EC135, had to make an emergency landing at Blue Grass Airport on Wednesday, March 24, 2010. The chopper, with a patient on board, skidded to a stop along a grassy area next to a runway after one engine lost power. There were no reports of injuries, but emergency vehicles flooded the area moments after the helicopter landed.
  • January 12, 2011: Blue Grass Airport in Lexington was on alert Wednesday morning after a plane had to be turned around due to a cracked windshield. US Airways Flight 3792 from Lexington to Charlotte was supposed to leave Blue Grass Airport at 6:50 a.m., but was delayed to 9 a.m. and was in the air around 9:20 a.m. About 10 minutes later, the plane had to be immediately turned around because of a cracked windshield. Passengers got back to the airport safely and a spokesperson for the airline says the crack appears to have made it through the outer most layer, one of several layers. One passenger described it as a big crack, a significant crack and looked like a spider web. The airline said the damage was contained to one side where the first officer sits. The airline also said the flight was canceled, and that the plane will have to be repaired and all the passengers would be re-booked on other flights. Blue Grass Airport officials say the incident did not disrupt any other flights.
  • March 9, 2011: NASCAR driver Greg Biffle and two others were unhurt after the landing gear of the private plane, Falcon 20,[13] they were flying collapsed as the plane landed at Blue Grass Airport in the morning. The incident happened at about 11:00 AM, when a mechanical failure during the landing caused the aircraft to skid to a stop on the runway, which is the main runway at the airport. The plane was en route to Lexington from Statesville, North Carolina.
  • December 21, 2011: A AirTran Boeing 717 carrying 106 passengers had engine trouble on its way from O'Hare International Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and safely landed at Blue Grass Airport just after 4 p.m. An AirTran spokesperson says the captain shut the engine down during flight and diverted to Lexington. Crews replaced that engine overnight. There were no reported injuries.

Popular culture[edit]

Blue Grass Field was Auric Goldfinger's flight destination in the James Bond film Goldfinger.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blue Grass Airport Passenger Statistics 2015
  2. ^ Blue Grass Airport Passenger Statistics
  3. ^ 2013 Passenger Statistics Blue Grass Airport. Retrieved 2014-05-19
  4. ^ Blue Grass Airport Economic Impact Study 2011
  5. ^ Lexington, KY: Blue Grass (LEX) RITA. Retrieved ?Mar 2016
  6. ^ Lexington, KY: Blue Grass (LEX) RITA. Retrieved ?Mar 2016
  7. ^ James A Clark Jr. Jim Clark Soldier Farmer Legislator. p. 45. 
  8. ^ "NTSB Probable Cause Report ATL88MA053". National Traffic Safety Board. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  9. ^ Staff writers (1987-12-06). "2 Killed, 4 Injured in Kentucky Plane Crash". The Dallas Morning News. 
  10. ^ "NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System report #256788". NASA. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  11. ^ "NTSB Probable Cause Report NYC02FA177". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  12. ^ "NTSB Preliminary Report ERA09FA215". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Goldfinger Script - transcript from the screenplay and/or James Bond movie

External links[edit]