Kentucky Airports Ranked: The Ultimate List of Best-to-Worst Places to Fly

Written by Em Thomas
Published: December 10, 2023
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Kentucky is a gorgeous state, centrally located just south of the Midwest. There’s a lot to do and see in Kentucky, from the hip cities to the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. If you’re heading to Kentucky, you’ll probably want to fly into one of the five public airports in the state. Two of the airports are located in large hubs of Kentucky, while the other airports are in more rural destinations. Depending on the goal of your travel, any one of these five airports could fit your needs.

Kentucky has two international airports included in its five public airports. The airports of Kentucky are spread out over the state, making it convenient to fly to whichever part of Kentucky you aim to visit! While all five airports in Kentucky are operating, some have a better reputation than others. From delays, to location, to busyness, these airports have been ranked for their quality. Here are the public airports of Kentucky, organized from worst to best. Let’s dive in!

5. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

An aerial shot of the Saint Francis Seraph Church in Cincinnati, Ohio

©Wirestock Creators/

This airport’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) location identifier is CVG.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is the worst-ranked public airport in Kentucky. The airport serves both northern Kentucky as well as Ohio, making it a seemingly convenient stop. However, the airport has some of the most severe delays of any airport in the United States. Located in Cincinnati and Covington, this airport sees 4,269,258 enplanements annually, making it the busiest airport in Kentucky.

4. Louisville International Airport

Louisville, Kentucky, USA downtown skyline on the Ohio River at dusk.

The FAA location identifier for the Louisville International Airport is SDF because the airport was previously called the Standiford Field Airport.

©Sean Pavone/

The second-busiest airport in Kentucky is also the second-worst-ranked public airport in the state. That airport is the Louisville International Airport, the second of Kentucky’s two international airports. This airport, like the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, has a reputation for seeing significant delays. The Louisville International Airport serves Louisville, the largest city in the state. The airport itself sees 1,877,861 enplanements annually.

3. Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport

Airbus A380 seconds before landing

The FAA code for Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is OWB.

©pablorebo1984/iStock via Getty Images

The third-best public airport in Kentucky is the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport. This airport has a pretty positive reputation, with some delays being cited but overall good reviews. The airport serves Owensboro, Kentucky which is a moderately sized city located southwest of Louisville. It’s out of the way from the major cities of Kentucky, so the location may not be ideal depending on where you’re aiming to go. However, if Evansville is your goal, Owensboro is only a short drive south. The airport sees 19,532 annual enplanements, making it the least busy of the public airports.

2. Barkley Regional Airport

Boeing 737-800

The FAA location identifier for the Barkley Regional Airport is PAH, due to its location in Paducah, Kentucky.

©motive56/iStock via Getty Images

The second-ranked airport in Kentucky is the small but mighty Barkley Regional Airport. Barkley Regional Airport is the second-smallest public airport in the state, but it has a fantastic reputation. Delays are minimal and the facility is clean and well-kept. It’s located in Paducah, Kentucky, however, so the location may not be ideal depending on your final destination. Paducah is a small city located on the far west side of the state. The airport hosts 20,934 enplanements annually, so if you’re looking for a low-key airport to fly into, Paducah could be a good match.

1. Blue Grass Airport

Historic buildings in downtown Lexington

The FAA location identifier for the Blue Grass Airport is LEX, due to its location in Lexington, Kentucky.

©benkrut/iStock via Getty Images

The best airport in the state of Kentucky is the Blue Grass Airport, located in Lexington, Kentucky. Blue Grass Airport is phenomenal for quite a few reasons. First, the airport is located in one of the major tourist destinations of Kentucky, making it a convenient spot for travelers to fly into. The airport is also moderately sized, with 657,018 annual enplanements. This means there are more flights to choose from heading to more destinations than the prior two airports. This large airport has great reviews and a good reputation for minimal delays. If you’re considering a trip to Kentucky in the near future, check out the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington.

Summary of the Public Airports in Kentucky

If you’re considering a trip to this beautiful state, try to fly into either the Barkley Regional Airport or the Blue Grass Airport. Both of these airports offer stellar reviews, making your travel goals simple.

Here’s a quick summary of the public airports in Kentucky, including their rank, size, and location.

RankAirportLocationSize (2019)
1Blue Grass AirportLexington657,018
2Barkley Regional AirportPaducah20,934
3Owensboro-Daviess County Regional AirportOwensboro19,532
4Louisville International AirportLouisville1,877,861
5Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International AirportCincinnati and Covington4,269,258

The photo featured at the top of this post is © okimo/iStock via Getty Images

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About the Author

Em Thomas is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering places, travel, and chili peppers! She's an MBA student with a passion for storytelling. Though she's a Michigan native, she presently resides in Denver, Colorado. While she doesn't currently have any pets of her own, she's an avid dogsitter with an affinity for big dogs!

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