Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport
Shown here is a display replica of one of the signature aircraft employed by The Blue Angels, the United States Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, in their Labor Day weekend maneuvers at Burke Lakefront Airport. The Cleveland International Air Show, held annually at this airfield on the shores of Lake Erie, is a favorite fall event for Clevelanders young and old.
Burke Lakefront Airport, named for former Cleveland Mayor and U.S. Senator Thomas A. Burke, occupies about 450 acres of reclaimed lakefront land just a bit east of East Ninth Street’s termination at Lake Erie. The airport serves private and charter aircraft, as well as air taxi services, and is a reliever to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to the city’s southwest. At times in its past, Burke has been served by various commercial and commuter airline operations, including Wright Airlines and Midway Airlines. Its airfield is capable of handling aircraft as large as Boeing 737s.
The airport, like its larger sibling Hopkins, is owned and operated by the City of Cleveland. The architecture of the airport is dated, piecemeal, utilitarian and rather nondescript, yet the facility offers a refreshingly relaxed and low-key traveling experience. As at several instances in its past, the city administration is once again considering a revitalization plan for Burke that would coordinate with long term development aims for the city’s scenic lakefront.
In addition to the annual air show, for a time (up until 2007), Burke Lakefront Airport was also the event site for the Grand Prix of Cleveland, an open-wheel, Indy-car style auto race, typically held over the weekend nearest July 4th. During both the air show and auto race, normal airport activities are halted, and substantial grandstands and midway are erected alongside the airfield to accommodate the great numbers of attendees, and the necessary concessions and services.
More information on Burke Lakefront Airport is available at the City of Cleveland’s airport website: www.clevelandairport.com.