Network President Jeff Zucker announced the CNN Airport Network will officially end on March 31, citing a "deep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices."
"Having to say goodbye to such a beloved brand is not easy," Zucker wrote. "I want to thank our friends and colleagues who have contributed to its success and to celebrate the fact that for 30 years, the CNN Airport Network has kept millions of domestic travelers informed. It has also become an iconic part of the traveling experience in this country."
For years, CNN critics mocked the anti-Trump network for heavily relying on airport travelers for its viewership, which had cratered for much of the Trump presidency.
"Best. news. EVER," NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck declared on Twitter.
"Wtf I love COVID now ..." Spectator USA editor Amber Athey joked.
"2021 is looking up already," Daily Wire senior editor Emily Zanotti wrote.
"CNN has just forfeited 95 percent of its viewership," conservative commentator Matt Walsh quipped.
"You hate to see it, and by that I of course mean CNN at the airport," Twitter conservative David Burge said.
For decades, CNN was the only network to appear on airport televisions as travelers waited at gates, bars, food courts, and baggage claim carousels.
CNN Airport does not use the exact same feed as the standard CNN, as additional sports and weather segments are added while some graphic video is removed. CNN Airport also goes out of its way not to air any coverage of plane crashes or other disasters that could spook passengers.
As part of the deal, CNN paid airports to leave the network on, and many travel hubs even have agreements in which CNN pays for their TVs and infrastructure. The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported that airports also receive "up to six minutes each hour to promote the airport or local attractions" as part of the deal.
"CNN Airport covers the costs related to the TVs and related infrastructure, provides programming specifically geared for airports, and pays us for the opportunity to be in our facility," a representative from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International told Fox News in 2018, while Miami International’s spokesperson simply pointed to a document proving that CNN is willing to pay the most.
Long-term contracts typically gave CNN the ability to curate content seen by travelers whether they like it or not. The eight-year contract that was signed in 2016 promises Miami International Airport "a maximum annual guarantee of $150,000" that may be adjusted annually to ensure the deal is on par with similar airports.
For years, the agreements had blurred the lines between news and advertising as the network blurred the lines between news and political activism.
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.