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Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport Celebrates 75th Anniversary

November 15, 2022


Click here for media gallery from event and for images of SDF Through the Years exhibit.

Airport Authority unveils ‘SDF Through the Years’ exhibit

Today the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) celebrates its 75th anniversary for passenger air service that first began on November 15, 1947. In honor of the occasion, the Louisville Regional Airport Authority unveiled the special banner exhibit, SDF Through the Years that is featured in the Jerry E. Abramson Terminal through the end of the year.

The 13-banner exhibit features a variety of historical photos from the 1940s to the present including specialty topics focusing on visits by United States Presidents, famed celebrities as well as key partners UPS and the Kentucky Air National Guard 123rd Airlift Wing. There will be two displays for passengers and visitors to enjoy – one pre-security on the ticketing level near 5/3 Bank and a second post-security in the Connector area.

“Louisville has a rich tradition of aviation,” said Dan Mann, Executive Director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. “In its 75-year history, SDF has served millions of passengers, been home to countless airlines and welcomed some of the world’s most famous on its runways. I’m proud of all the Airport Authority has accomplished in the past, and I believe we’re positioned for great things ahead in the future.”

Momentum remains strong at SDF since 2021 with three new airlines – Breeze Airways, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines – and 15 new routes announced from Louisville. The airport has a record-high 37 nonstop destinations on eight airlines. This includes today’s announcement that Sun Country will begin service from SDF with nonstop service to Minneapolis (MSP) beginning in May 2023. Earlier this year, American Airlines began nonstop service to Boston (BOS) from Louisville, following the May 2021 launches of new nonstop service to Los Angeles (LAX) on Spirit and San Francisco (SFO) on Breeze.

“It was Muhammad Ali who said, ‘It’s not bragging if you can back it up.’ Today is a great day to brag about our airport — they have a lot to brag about, and they back it up every day,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “I’m grateful to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport team — present and past — for everything they’ve accomplished from adding new flights and carriers to increasing passenger traffic, major renovations and upgrades, and renaming the airport after the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali.”

SDF continues to be an economic driver for the region with a $10.4 billion annual impact, more than 82,000 jobs and $454.1 million contributed to state and local taxes. This means nearly one in every eight jobs in the Louisville Metro is due to direct or indirect operations at Louisville airports. The two facilities are also responsible for generating nearly $1.00 in every $7.00 of tax revenue in Louisville Metro.

Today, SDF remains in the top as one of the world’s busiest cargo airports. In 2021, it was ranked no. 6 in the world and no. 3 in North America according to Airports Council International (ACI) World Airport Traffic Report.

“As we continue with the SDF Next Program with improvements focusing on both the terminal and airfield, we’re laying the innovative groundwork to be prepared for the decades ahead,” added Mann. “I’m confident the next 75-years and beyond, may prove to be SDF’s best years yet.”

Click here for more information on the history of the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.