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Fly through the history of the Columbus Airport with this photo archive

With a $2 billion terminal planned for the John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, OH, we are taking a look at its nearly 100 year history.

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Port Columbus in 1960, seven years after the tower was constructed. | Photo provided by Columbus Regional Airport Authority

With a $2 billion terminal planned for John Glenn International Airport, big changes could soon be landing at our local port.

In fact, these changes could start as soon as 2024, according to a new report from The Columbus Dispatch. If plans proceed, the airport expects crews to finish construction on this multi-billion dollar project by 2029 — just in time for CMH to celebrate the century mark.

However, before billion dollar budgets were in the works, our humble airport was known as Port Columbus. And today, we’re diving into its history the best way we know how: through photos.

The first flight at Port Columbus took place on July 8, 1929 where thousands of Columbusites watched two Ford motors lift off into the sky. In one year of operation, 11,000+ passengers flew to and from CBUS.

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The tower was built after a large increase in travel to and from Columbus in the 1950s. | Photo provided by Columbus Regional Airport Authority

Fast forward to the 1950s, and Columbus was taking off as an airport. This includes expanding a runway from 4,500 ft to 8,000 ft + building the iconic watch tower. Kudos to the original builders, too — this tower lasted until 2004.

By the 1970s, the airport became Port Columbus International Airport after adding a US Customs facility. This was a major hit among fliers and led to the city focusing this airport on commercial flights as opposed to industrial.

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In 1978, Port Columbus had approximately 2.5 million passengers travel through it each year. | Photo provided by Columbus Regional Airport Authority

From the 1980s to modern day is when the airport started to become the place we know it as today. This includes a total of $170+ million in upgrades, such as larger runways, more concourses, and parking garages. Last year, the airport reported one million seats depart from CBUS in July alone.

Want to know more about our airport? Check out a quick history of Ohio astronaut and politician John Glenn, the namesake of CMH. Or plan your next getaway with our guide to the airport.