Rickenbacker’s upgraded runway opens amid supply chain crunch

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The primary runway at Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) is now open after completing upgrades that were aimed at growing operations of large freighters such as the B747-8Fs operated by Cathay Pacific, Cargolux and other carriers.

The improved runway opens at a time when global supply chain disruptions have impacted the entire freight industry. As one of the world’s few cargo-focused airports, Rickenbacker says it has proven to be a critical part of the supply chain as ocean backlogs, overseas production issues and rising ocean shipping costs are driving many companies to turn to airfreight.

At over 3,658 metre in length, Runway 5R-23L is the primary runway of the predominantly cargo airport. Multiple phases of Federal Aviation Administration grant funding supported the improvements including:

  • Asphalt resurfacing to an advanced aircraft classification;
  • Construction of 12 metre shoulders and expanded blast pads;
  • Relocation/replacement of airfield navigational aids;
  • Updated lighting and signage.


The improvements “will facilitate growth over the next two decades, maximize efficiency of aircraft ground movement, and strengthen the Columbus Region’s global connectivity,” the airport says.

Rickenbacker was recently named Ohio Airport of the Year for its leadership during an unpredictable year that brought emergency PPE shipments, record-breaking shipments of international cargo, and its first passenger aircraft converted for cargo. The airport has an annual economic impact of USD 2.5 billion.

“We thank our congressional leaders for advocating for this important project,” said Joseph R. Nardone, president & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. “Thanks to their leadership as well as the State of Ohio, Rickenbacker can continue to serve as a critical global gateway for years to come.”

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