MIAMI – Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) has announced that it will receive US$24,093,095 in grant funding. The grant will support airport infrastructure and comes from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as part of the agency’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

Each year, based on activity levels and project needs, the FAA awards a developed sum of AIP entitlement grant funding to airports throughout the US. The grant announcement is part of over $1.2 billion in grants provided to 405 airports in 50 states and federated states in the AIP and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act.

According to SDF, the grant will help fund multiple projects that aim to mitigate noise for adjacent residential properties and on campus at the University of Louisville and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Improvements include the reconstruction of Taxiway G, the renovation of the pavement on both Parallel Runways and B, D, and E Taxiways. Additional upgrades are also planned for lighting and lighting control systems.

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport UPS Worldport. Photo:

Comments from Airport and City Officials

According to Airports International, Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, said, “This is great news for Louisville’s airport. As the fourth busiest cargo airport in the world and second in North America – it’s vital that we continuously improve our airfield to ensure it’s ready to meet the current and future needs for both our cargo and passenger airline partners.”

On his part, Congressman John Yarmuth said, “More Louisvillians work at the airport than anywhere else in the city, so ensuring that Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport continues to stay on the cutting edge of transportation and logistics is crucial to creating an economy that works for everyone in our community.”

“With the travel sector hit hard by the economic freefall that’s resulted from the COVID pandemic, the nearly 70,000 families that rely on Louisville airport jobs are especially vulnerable. “That’s why we insisted that the CARES Act include funding to help airports recover more quickly and help drive our economic recovery. I am proud to have supported this legislation and these investments in our airport and its employees.”

UPS BOeing 747-400. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport

Louisville International is a 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) civil-military airport. As stated above, it is the fourth busiest cargo airport in the world and the second busiest in North America. Its IATA airport code, SDF, is based on the airport’s former name, Standiford Field. Over 4.2 million passengers and over 5.7 billion pounds (2.89 million tons) of cargo passed through SDF in 2019.

While the airport has no regularly-scheduled international passenger flights, it is a port of entry, handling numerous international cargo flights. Located at SDF is Worldport, the worldwide air hub for UPS (United Parcel Service). According to UPS Worldport Facts, the facility is currently 5.2 million square feet (48 ha) in size and capable of handling 115 packages a second or 416,000 per hour.

According to recent assessments from Seabury, global air cargo capacity is down by 35% with only 20% of belly cargo still flying. However, freighter capacity has been stable for the last month.

The federal grant for SDF is one example of a government safeguarding the functionality of its air cargo supply chain, as air cargo will play a significant role in supporting the recovery of the global supply chain and the economy.   

Featured image: UPS Worldport Air Hub at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Photo: Wiki Commons