Aerial photo of Louisville International Airport
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Kentucky Department of Aviation (KDA) recently selected Garver to serve as one of two firms to fulfill the state’s aviation services needs. Garver is proud to be a part of the Kentucky aviation industry’s long tradition of providing passengers with a high-level of service and its rich history of bringing the latest in aviation engineering technology to the state.
Historical Kentucky aviation facts, compiled from the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, the Kentucky Aviation Historical Society, Louisville International Airport, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport:
In 1908, only five years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, Matthew B. Sellers flew Kentucky’s first airplane in Carter County. Sellers designed and built the plane himself. He continued to develop aircraft in Kentucky and later in the northeast. Mr. Sellers became recognized as an authority of aeronautics and served with distinction on national aeronautic boards.
In 1921, A.H. Bowman and W. Sidney Park formed the Bowman-Park Aero Company in Louisville. The company was one of the first firms to specialize in aerial photography. The location Bowman and Park operated out of became known as Bowman Field.
In 1928, the state legislature created the Louisville and Jefferson County Air Board to operate Bowman field as a publicly owned facility. In fact, Kentucky was the first state to enact enabling legislation for the creation of airport authorities. Airline service began that year between Louisville and Cleveland.
During World War II Bowman Field was the busiest airport in the country, following an investment of $1 million for construction of barracks and other facilities, including nine mess halls. At that time, thousands of members of the military called Bowman Field and Louisville their temporary home while undergoing combat readiness training.
World War II brought numerous other airfields to Kentucky, including the airfield that is known today as the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and also the airport in Lexington, Kentucky, Blue Grass Field, which has been home to the Aviation Museum of Kentucky since its founding in 1995.
Following World War II, community leaders in Louisville recognized the enormous potential for commercial aviation in Kentucky. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turned over a 4,000-foot runway they’d built known as Standiford Field to the community, all commercial flights to Louisville were moved there from Bowman Field.
In 2010, Kentucky’s five primary airports combined for a total of 6,133,451 commercial passenger boardings.
Currently, Louisville International Airport ranks third in North America—and ninth in the world—in total amount of cargo handled.