Ultimate Air Shuttle announces plans to end service at CVG — again

CINCINNATI -- Ultimate Air Shuttle is once again making moves to consolidate its Cincinnati operations.

The public charter, popular among business and corporate customers, announced Monday it will cease service from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport -- moving the last of its remaining flights bound for New York City to Lunken airfield in east Cincinnati, instead.

The move is effective Jan. 3. In an email, officials said the change -- its second attempt this year to completely pull out of CVG -- will provide a more "streamlined" experience; the plans recently received Department of Transportation approval. Ultimate currently flies twice a week to New York City via Morristown, New Jersey, from CVG, and four times a week to Morristown from Lunken.

Oftentimes, it was transferring passengers between the two. Lunken and CVG are roughly 20 miles apart.

"Our passengers love flying us, and we want to try to make it as convenient as possible for them," Rick Pawlak, managing director, Ultimate Air Shuttle, told WCPO. "The (transport) cost, it was significant, but it wasn't the reason we did it. It's more convenient logistically. There's a lot synergies that work better by moving operations to Lunken."

In May, Ultimate made a similar announcement in an attempt to leave CVG, but it received pushback from customers who liked the existing schedule. It backpedaled, consolidating all flights to Chicago Midway to Lunken but leaving Morristown intact.

Expect this move to stick, however. The DOT's OK allows Ultimate to keep its flight schedules, departure and arrival times the same. The charter will offer two daily departures on Mondays (6:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.) and one on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings (6:30).

"Now we have a schedule that makes the best sense," Pawlak said.

"A majority of our passengers live within a 10-mile radius of Lunken Aiport, so it's very easy for them to get to. That's why the bulk of our operation has always been out of Lunken Airport," he added. "They don't have to worry about traffic going over the bridge and so forth."

Pawlak said it's possible Ultimate could one day fly from CVG again. Ultimate last year relocated to the Delta Jet Center, the fixed-based operator at CVG, when Terminal 1 was demolished to make way for a new CONRAC, or consolidated rental car facility. Ultimate first took flight from CVG to New York in 2013.

But a parking lot expansion at Lunken could address a main complaint there -- and make the move more comfortable. Paving could begin soon to smooth over 60 extra spots.

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