Louisville International Airport
Louisville International Airport (SDF) is located only 10 minutes from downtown Louisville, and covers over 1,200 acres of land. The airport currently has nonstop service to more than 25 destinations and served more than 3.4 million passengers in 2011. The airport has one ‘Y’ shaped passenger terminal, two (A and B) concourses and 23 boarding gates. Despite being termed an international airport, all destinations are currently located within the USA.
History of the Airport
The airport was known as Standiford Field until the name was changed to Louisville International in 1995 (the original International Airport Transport Association code of ‘SDF’ still stands to this day). It was originally known as Standiford Field because it was named after a local businessman and politician (Dr. Elisha David Standiford) who was active in transportation issues and owned part of the land.
Louisville International ranks third in North America and ninth in the world in terms of the amount of cargo that is handled. This is mostly due to the airport being the ‘Worldport’ (international air-sorting) hub of the United Parcel Service (UPS). The mammoth facility measures at 5.2 million square feet, with a perimeter of 7.2 miles! The facility has 70 aircraft docks, 155 miles of conveyors, and can process 416,000 packages per hour. As a result of UPS’s facility at Louisville International, UPS has become Kentucky’s largest private sector employer.
Due to the expanded UPS operations over the years, parallel runways were built at Louisville International as part of an expansion plan in the 1980’s. These runways run north and south, allowing for simultaneous takeoffs and landings. There is an east/west runway that is shorter than the parallel runways, and is normally only used in poor weather conditions.
In addition to UPS, the Louisville International Airport is also home to the 123rd Airlift Wing (AW) of the Kentucky Air National Guard. The 123rd AW occupies two parcels of leased land at the airport.
The airport is practically right across the street (less than one mile) from the Kentucky Exposition Center (home of the Kentucky State Fair). Passengers can get a great bird’s eye view of the Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park while arriving into the airport as the park is also located just across the street. For fans of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is located only a few miles from the airport.
Parking at Louisville Airport
There are plenty of parking opportunities available at the airport. There is a four level parking garage across from the passenger terminal, with short-term parking (less than 4 hours) located on level 1 and long-term parking (more than 4 hours) located on levels 1 through 3. Valet parking is also available where passengers may drop off and pick up their vehicles on the upper level roadway on the west end of the terminal. If picking up a passenger(s), drivers can wait in the Cell Phone Lot (accessible from the upper level roadway).
For arrivals, several rental car companies serve the Louisville International Airport. Rental car counters are on the lower level of the terminal near the baggage claim, and shuttles are provided outside on the same level.
Airlines Serving Louisville Airport
Serving the largest city in the state of Kentucky, Louisville International Airport gets service from several major U.S. airline companies. All flights arrive in the Lower Level of the terminal building and all of the departure gates in the two concourses are located on the Upper Level. Additionally, the ticketing desks and check-in kiosks are located in the main section of the Upper Level.
Anyone who wants to travel between Louisville International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport can reserve a flight on American Airlines. The flight to the busiest airport in Texas is also offered through the American Airlines affiliate American Eagle. Miami International Airport is the other destination that’s available through American Eagle. Both of these domestic airlines are owned by the AMR Corporation that’s based in Fort Worth. American Airlines and American Eagle operate in Concourse A at Louisville International Airport.
Direct flights to two major airports in New York City are offered by Delta Air Lines. This giant airline takes passengers from Louisville International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia Airport, which are both located in the borough of Queens in the heart of NYC. Being a major Midwest city, Louisville is also connected to other major metropolitan areas in the region thanks to Delta. Detroit and the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis are directly accessible through Delta Air Lines service from Louisville International Airport. Atlanta and Memphis are the other major destinations on the daily Delta schedule. The Delta fleet waits for passengers near the gates of the A Concourse.
Southwest Airlines operates the most diverse schedule at Louisville International Airport. The largest domestic low-cost airline links Kentucky’s largest city with major southwest and west destinations such as Phoenix, Denver, and Las Vegas. Chicago and St. Louis are two important Midwest cities that are accessible through Southwest Airlines. With direct flights to Atlanta and Baltimore, this busy low-fare airline also links Louisville with some of the biggest cities on the East Coast. Major destinations in Florida such as Tampa and Orlando are also part of the Southwest Airlines service that’s offered in Concourse B at Louisville International Airport.
United Airlines operates trips to Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Newark, and Washington District of Columbia. The service from this major American carrier is offered in Concourse A in Louisville International Airport. Operating in Concourse B, US Airways offers exclusive trips to Charlotte and Philadelphia.