Blue Grass Airport (IATA: LEX, ICAO: KLEX, FAALID: 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.
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. 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. 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.
The airport is the third busiest airport in Kentucky, behind Louisville International Airport (3.4 million passengers/year) and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (6.3 million passengers/year).
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.125business 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.