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Louisville International Airport

Coordinates: 38°10′27″N 085°44′11″W / 38.17417°N 85.73639°W / 38.17417; -85.73639
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(Redirected from Worldport (UPS air hub))

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport
Standiford Field
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorLouisville Regional Airport Authority (LRAA)
ServesLouisville metropolitan area
Hub forUPS Airlines
Elevation AMSL501 ft / 153 m
Coordinates38°10′27″N 085°44′11″W / 38.17417°N 85.73639°W / 38.17417; -85.73639
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17R/35L 11,887 3,623 Concrete
17L/35R 8,579 2,615 Concrete
11/29 7,250 2,210 Concrete
Statistics (2023)
Aircraft operations172,855
Cargo handled6,013,812,675 lbs.
Sources: Louisville International Airport,[1][2] FAA[3]

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (IATA: SDF, ICAO: KSDF, FAA LID: SDF), formerly known as simply Louisville International Airport, is a civil-military airport in Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The airport covers 1,500 acres (6.1 km2)[4] and has three runways. Its IATA airport code, SDF, is based on the airport's former name, Standiford Field. Despite being called an international airport, it has no regularly-scheduled international passenger flights, but is a port of entry, handling many UPS Airlines international cargo flights through the United Parcel Service's worldwide air hub, often referred to as UPS Worldport.[5]

Over 4.6 million passengers passed through the airport in 2023,[1] while over 6.7 billion pounds (3.38 million tons) of cargo passed through in 2022.[2] It is also the second-busiest in the United States in terms of cargo traffic, and fourth-busiest for such in the world.[6] The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a "primary commercial service" airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings (enplanements) per year.[7] Federal Aviation Administration records show the airport had 1,877,861 revenue enplanements in 2018, an increase of 11.46% from 1,684,738 in 2017.[8]

Because of UPS Airlines' operations, Louisville International Airport is the second-busiest cargo airport in the United States, only falling short of FedEx's SuperHub at Memphis International Airport, and also the world's fourth-busiest airport by cargo traffic, behind Shanghai Pudong, Memphis and Hong Kong.[9] The Kentucky Air National Guard's 123d Airlift Wing operates C-130 transport aircraft from the co-located Louisville Air National Guard Base.

On January 16, 2019, the Regional Airport Authority voted to change the name of the airport to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in honor of the boxer and Louisville native Muhammad Ali.[10] On June 6, 2019, the airport unveiled its new logo, featuring "Ali's silhouette, arms up and victorious, against the background of a butterfly."[11]


Standiford Field was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1941 on a parcel of land south of Louisville that was found not to have flooded during the Ohio River flood of 1937. It was named for Dr. Elisha David Standiford, a local businessman and politician, who was active in transportation issues and owned part of the land. The field remained under Army control until 1947, when it was turned over to the Louisville Air Board for commercial operations.[12]

Until around 1947, Bowman Field was Louisville's main airport, which was too close to downtown to expand. For many years, passenger traffic went through the small brick Lee Terminal at Standiford Field. Today's more modern and much larger facilities were built in the 1980s. Most of the Lee Terminal was later torn down.[citation needed]

When Standiford Field was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1941, it had one 4,000-foot (1,200 m) runway. The airfield opened to the public in 1947 and all commercial service from Bowman Field moved to Standiford Field. American, Eastern, and TWA were the first airlines and had 1,300 passengers a week. The airlines used World War II barracks on the east side of the field until May 25, 1950, when a proper terminal opened. Lee Terminal could handle 150,000 passengers annually and included 6 new gates, which increased terminal space to 114,420 square feet (10,630 m2). The three runways (1, 6 and 11) were all 5000 ft.

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 45 weekday departures on Eastern Airlines, 19 American, 9 TWA, 4 Piedmont and 2 Ozark. Scheduled jet flights (Eastern 720s to Idlewild) began in January–February 1962.

In 1970, the terminal again expanded; the main lobby was extended and the 33,000-square-foot (3,100 m2) Delta Air Lines concourse was built.[12]

The 1980s brought plans for a new terminal, the Louisville Airport Improvement plan (LAIP). Construction of a new landside terminal designed by Bickel-Gibson Associated Architects Inc. began, costing $35 million with capacity for nearly 2 million passengers in 1985.[13] Parallel runways, needed for expanded UPS operations, were part of the airport expansion.[12] Most of the improvements were completed in the 1990s and the airport was totally renewed.

During the 1990s, Southwest Airlines began service to the airport which helped passenger boardings increase 97.3 percent. In 1995, the airport's name was changed from Standiford Field to Louisville International Airport. Around that time SDF opened the two new parallel runways: runway 17L/35R, 8,578 feet (2,615 m) long and runway 17R/35L, 11,887 feet (3,623 m); both are 150 feet (46 m) wide. The Kentucky Air National Guard moved its base to SDF with 8 military aircraft; a new UPS air mail facility, new corporate hangars, a four-level parking garage and a new control tower were also added. A new FBO was added, run by Atlantic Aviation and managed by Michael Perry.

In 2005, a $26 million terminal renovation designed by Gensler Inc. was completed.[14] As of 2024, the airport is in the midst of a major renovation project called SDF Next, which includes more than $400 million in planned enhancements to the Jerry E. Abramson Terminal, work on the baggage claim, updates to security and lighting, and changes to the rental car counters, among other improvements.[15]

On January 16, 2019, the Louisville Regional Airport Authority voted to rename the airport Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, after boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a Louisville native.[16]



Concourse B

The Jerry E. Abramson Terminal is the airport's main commercial terminal. It consists of two floors with ground transportation and baggage claim services on the first floor and ticketing, passenger drop off, and concourse access on the second floor.[17] There are 24 gates in the two concourses. These concourses are connected by a rotunda and connector that contains a unified security checkpoint located in the main section of the terminal.

  • Concourse A contains 12 gates[17]
  • Concourse B contains 12 gates[17]


Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport has three concrete runways, two of which are parallel with one crosswind. The westernmost runway (17R/35L) is the longest of the three at 11,887 feet (3,623 m) and was extended in 2007 to accommodate larger aircraft flying nonstop to destinations as far away as the Pacific Rim and Asia.[18][19]


UPS Worldport Air Hub at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport

Worldport is the worldwide air hub for UPS (United Parcel Service) located at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Because of UPS, Louisville is the fourth-busiest cargo airport in the world, and the second busiest in the United States.[9] Although UPS has had a hub at Louisville since 1980, the term was not used officially by the company until 2002, after a $1 billion, five-year expansion.[20] Previously, the project was named Hub 2000. The facility is currently the size of 5.2 million square feet (48 ha; 80 football fields) and capable of handling 115 packages per second, or 416,000 per hour.[21][22] With more than 20,000 employees, UPS is one of the largest employers in both the city of Louisville and Kentucky as a whole. The facility, which serves all of the company's major international and domestic hubs, mainly handles express and international packages and letters.

A 1,000,000-square-foot (93,000 m2) expansion was completed in spring 2006 to integrate heavy freight into the UPS system. The expansion was prefaced by the purchase of Menlo Worldwide Forwarding, formerly Emery Worldwide. The new facility, designated Worldport Freight Facility (HWP), went online in April 2006 and was the first of the company's regional hubs to begin integrating the Menlo volume into the system. Menlo's facility in Dayton, Ohio, was taken offline in June 2006.

In May 2006, UPS announced that for the third time in seven years it would significantly expand its Worldport hub, with a second investment of $1 billion. The second expansion was completed in April 2010, with the facility now measuring 5,200,000 square feet (480,000 m2), with a perimeter of 7.2 miles (11.6 km). The plan was for more than 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) to be added to its existing facility, with another 334,500 square feet (31,080 m2) of space to be renovated with new technology and equipment. Worldport sorting capacity was to expand from 300,000 packages per hour to 416,000 packages per hour. Additionally, several ramps at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport were to be built or altered bringing a total increase of just over 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2).

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Allegiant Air Austin, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda (FL), St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, Sarasota, Savannah
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth
Seasonal: Miami
American Eagle Boston, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [24]
Breeze Airways Charleston (SC), New Orleans, San Francisco, Tampa
Seasonal: Fort Myers
Delta Air Lines Atlanta [26]
Delta Connection Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia [26]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Tampa
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando [28]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [29]
United Airlines Denver, Houston–Intercontinental [30]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [30]


Air Cargo Carriers Charleston (WV), Decatur, Madison, Warsaw (IN), Traverse City (MI)
Ameriflight Huntsville, Knoxville, Moline/Quad Cities, Smyrna (TN), South Bend
FedEx Express Cincinnati, Greensboro (NC), Indianapolis, Memphis, Roanoke
SkyLink Express Hamilton (ON)
UPS Airlines Albany (GA), Albany (NY), Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Birmingham (AL), Bogotá, Boise, Boston, Buffalo, Burbank, Campinas, Casablanca, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Cologne/Bonn, Columbia (SC), Columbus–Rickenbacker, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dubai–International, Dublin, East Midlands, Fargo, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Wayne, Gary/Chicago, Greensboro (NC), Greenville/Spartanburg, Hamilton (ON), Harrisburg, Hartford, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Houston–Intercontinental, Jackson (MS), Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Knoxville, Lafayette, Lansing, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Manchester (NH), McAllen, Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal–Mirabel, Newark, Newburgh, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Peoria, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Sacramento–Mather, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan, Seattle–Boeing, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Sioux Falls, Spokane, Springfield/Branson, Syracuse, Tampa, Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Washington–Dulles, West Palm Beach


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from SDF
(April 2023 – March 2024)
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 353,780 Delta, Southwest
2 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 196,690 American
3 Charlotte, North Carolina 162,430 American
4 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 138,530 American, United
5 Orlando, Florida 134,670 Southwest, Spirit
6 Denver, Colorado 133,100 Southwest, United
7 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 98,030 Southwest
8 Baltimore, Maryland 89,970 Southwest
9 Las Vegas, Nevada 78,710 Southwest, Spirit
10 New York-LaGuardia, New York 75,660 American, Delta

Airline market share[edit]

Largest Airlines at SDF
(April 2023 – March 2024)
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Southwest Airlines 1,076,000 23.25%
2 American Airlines 634,000 13.70%
3 Delta Air Lines 605,000 13.09%
4 Republic Airways 585,000 12.65%
5 Spirit Airlines 398,000 8.60%
6 Others 1,328,000 28.71%

Airport traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at SDF airport. See Wikidata query.

Annual traffic and cargo[edit]

SDF Airport Annual Passengers and Cargo 2004-Present[32][33]
Year Passengers Total Cargo (lbs.) Year Passengers Total Cargo (lbs.) Year Passengers Total Cargo (lbs.)
2004 3,438,138 3,834,924,928 2014 3,355,811 5,055,706,407 2024
2005 3,730,678 4,001,736,489 2015 3,359,472 5,182,270,067 2025
2006 3,663,041 4,372,563,774 2016 3,346,545 5,372,687,454 2026
2007 3,819,154 4,584,225,636 2017 3,474,340 5,737,961,328 2027
2008 3,682,420 4,353,419,373 2018 3,866,057 5,782,767,038 2028
2009 3,263,812 4,297,972,629 2019 4,239,064 6,151,136,493 2029
2010 3,349,162 4,777,478,457 2020 1,636,931 6,431,419,629 2030
2011 3,398,864 4,824,644,236 2021 3,176,874 6,729,100,374 2031
2012 3,365,115 4,780,426,911 2022 3,888,332 6,761,880,348 2032
2013 3,404,080 4,885,617,722 2023 4,659,648 6,013,812,675 2033

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • September 28, 1953: Resort Airlines Flight 1081, a Curtiss C-46 Commando leased from the USAF, crashed on landing at Louisville-Standiford Field when the aircraft ballooned slightly during the flare-out, causing a loss of control when it climbed to 300 feet and stalled. Out of the 41 on board, 22 passengers and 3 crew were killed. Failure of the left elevator during landing was the cause.[34]
  • March 10, 1957: Eastern Airlines Flight 181, a Martin 4-0-4 crash-landed at SDF. All 34 passengers and crew aboard survived with just one serious injury. The pilot's improper landing approach caused an excessive sink rate, causing a portion of the left wing to separate inboard of the #1 engine and left the aircraft partially inverted. The plane was damaged beyond repair.[35][36]
  • September 8, 1970: Delta Air Lines Flight 439, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 inbound from Chicago–O'Hare attempting an instrument landing at night at SDF landed 156 feet short of the runway threshold, hitting sloping terrain, becoming airborne, bouncing and then skidding down the runway for nearly 1,500 yards before coming to a stop. All five crew and 89 passengers survived. The aircraft was substantially damaged, but repaired and later put back into service. Pilot error was the cause.[37]
  • June 7, 2005: UPS Airlines Flight 6971, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 with four occupants aboard, suffered a collapse of the nose gear assembly after touchdown due to improper handling of the aircraft by the flying pilot after the main landing gear touchdown and the pilot-in-command's inadequate supervision during landing. The aircraft had substantial damage but was repaired and returned to service.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "By the Numbers in 2023" (PDF). Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 19, 2024. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Louisville Regional Airport Authority Aviation Statistics" (PDF). Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. December 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 4, 2023. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  3. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for SDF PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. effective January 19, 2024.
  4. ^ "Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF)". flylouisville.com. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021. Airport Statistics
  5. ^ "US Customs and Border Patrol". Archived from the original on October 30, 2012.
  6. ^ "Table 2 – TOTAL CARGO TRAFFIC 2013 – Preliminary World Airport Traffic and Rankings 2013 – High Growth Dubai Moves Up to 7th Busiest Airport – Mar 31, 2014". Airports Council International. March 31, 2014. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). faa.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "Calendar Year 2018 Final Revenue Enplanements at All Airports" (PDF). faa.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. October 9, 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "ACI reveals top 20 airports for passenger traffic, cargo, and aircraft movements – ACI World". May 25, 2020. Archived from the original on May 25, 2020. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  10. ^ "Mayor Fischer celebrates decision to rename Louisville airport to honor Muhammad Ali" (PDF) (Press release). Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Regional Airport Authority. January 16, 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2024.
  11. ^ Ladd, Sarah (June 7, 2019). "Louisville's renamed Muhammad Ali International Airport debuts logo". usatoday.com. Louisville Courier Journal. Archived from the original on April 19, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c "History". Louisville International Airport. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "[Untitled]". Engineering News-Record. 209. McGraw-Hill. 1982. Archived from the original on July 8, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2012.[title missing]
  14. ^ Adams, Brent (June 17, 2002). "Capital projects at Louisville Airport proceed; officials keep eye on security costs". Louisville Business First. archives.californiaaviation.org. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  15. ^ "SDF Next". Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Archived from the original on November 8, 2023. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  16. ^ Kobin, Billy (January 16, 2019). "Louisville is renaming its airport after Muhammad Ali". Courier Journal. courier-journal.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2021. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c Louisville Regional Airport Authority. "Terminal Map". Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  18. ^ "Louisville Regional Airport Authority 2017 Annual Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  19. ^ "Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport". Archived from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  20. ^ "UPS Pressroom". November 6, 2002. Archived from the original on November 6, 2002.
  21. ^ "UPS Worldport Facts". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  22. ^ Reddy, Frank. "A world of packages flows through UPS air hub: ISEs play key logistics roles at Worldport facility in Louisville". ISE Magazine
  23. ^ "Destinations – Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF)". Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". American Airlines. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  25. ^ "Breeze Airways". Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  26. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  27. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "Spirit Airlines Lines up for a Landing in Louisville" (Press release). Archived from the original on February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  29. ^ "Route Map". Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Timetable". Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  31. ^ a b "RITA | BTS | Transtats – Louisville, KY: Louisville International-Standiford Field (SDF)". March 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  32. ^ "SDF Airport Reports and Statistics 2004-2017". flylouisville.com. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  33. ^ "SDF Airport Reports and Statistics 2018-Present". flylouisville.com. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  34. ^ Accident description for N66534 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 30, 2019.
  35. ^ Accident description for N453A at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on March 20, 2022.
  36. ^ "Investigation of Aircraft Accident: EASTERN AIRLINES: LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: 1957-03-10". National Transportation Library. March 10, 1957. Archived from the original on July 9, 2023. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  37. ^ Accident description for N3329L at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on March 19, 2022.
  38. ^ Accident description for N250UP at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on March 20, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]