Cleveland Explores Shuttering Burke Lakefront Airport

 - January 17, 2023, 3:41 PM
A fixture of Cleveland's Lake Erie waterfront for more than three-quarters of a century, Burke Lakefront Airport's days may be numbered, based on recent studies commissioned by the city. (Photo: GRALISTAIR, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

The city of Cleveland is exploring the possible closure of Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL), having commissioned two separate studies to determine the economic impact and land-use options for the property on the shores of Lake Erie. According to AOPA, the airport is grant obligated, having received $20 million in FAA airport improvement grants since 2005, with most recent funding coming in 2013. That should extend the city’s obligation to operate the airport for at least another decade.

In a letter to Cleveland mayor Justin Bibb, the general aviation pilot organization expressed its concerns over the closure discussion and requested that the city include aviation stakeholders in the process, as well as keep the studies transparent to the taxpayers of Cleveland and airport users.

Established in 1947, KBKL has a 6,600-foot main runway and since 1964 has served as host to the annual Cleveland National Airshow, an event that attracts tens of thousands of spectators. The airport, close to downtown is within walking distance of FirstEnergy Stadium, home to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Burke Lakefront is an airport that the aviation community cannot afford to lose,” said Kyle Lewis, AOPA’s Great Lakes regional manager. "The mayor's plan is short-sighted, and we hope to change the conversation."