Albany International Airport

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Albany International Airport
FAA diagram of Albany International Airport.png
FAA airport diagram


ALB is located in New York
Location of the Albany International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Albany County
Operator Albany County Airport Authority
Serves Albany, New York
Location Colonie, New York
Focus city for Cape Air
Elevation AMSL 285 ft / 87 m
Coordinates 42°44′57″N 073°48′07″W / 42.74917°N 73.80194°W / 42.74917; -73.80194
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1/19 8,500 2,591 Asphalt
10/28 7,200 2,195 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 154,094
Based aircraft 85
Passengers (2013) 2,393,506

Albany International Airport (IATA: ALBICAO: KALBFAA LID: ALB) is a public airport seven miles (11 km) northwest of Albany, in Albany County, New York, United States. It is owned by the Albany County Airport Authority.[1]

It is an Airport of Entry[3] in the town of Colonie. It was built on the site of the Shaker settlement about 6 miles (10 km) north of Albany and stretching north to the hamlet of Verdoy. The airport is below class C airspace.[4]

In the past, most airlines operated mainline aircraft to ALB. The biggest aircraft that flew into ALB was Air Force One (Boeing 747), which has made four appearances: in 1994, 2009, 2011, and again in 2012. The C-5 Galaxy has landed for training, for cargo during Hurricane Katrina, and for the transportation of President Obama's motorcade on September 20 and 21, 2009. An Air Canada Airbus A340-300 (which has seating for 286 passengers) made an unscheduled arrival on December 21, 2007. Also, on August 10, 2012, a United Airlines Boeing 767-400 flight from Munich, Germany was diverted to Albany due to bad weather conditions at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey where the flight was expected to land.

Many times a week, UPS runs a 757-200 for cargo. FedEx Airlines brings the Boeing 757-200 to the airport about 5 times a week for cargo. Today, about half of the planes that depart and land in ALB are regional aircraft. Airlines that operate mainline aircraft are Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways. The largest passenger aircraft to fly into ALB on a year-round daily basis is the Boeing 737-800 operated by Southwest Airlines (and, less regularly, by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines). Additionally, United Airlines occasionally flies the larger Boeing 737-900 to and from ALB.

The airport previously had pay-as-you-go Wi-Fi access throughout the airport provided by WiFiFee, but recently introduced free WiFi service.


Albany International was the first, and remains the oldest, municipal airport in the United States. In 1908 the airstrip was on a former polo field on Loudonville Road, three miles (5 km) north of the city in the town of Colonie. In 1909 the airport moved to Westerlo Island, in the city of Albany, but at that time was in the town of Bethlehem; the airport was named at this time. The airport was named after Teddy Roosevelt's son, Quentin, a fighter pilot during World War I. A $10,000 prize was established for sustained flight between Albany and New York City; Glenn Curtiss achieved this on May 29, 1910. Other early pioneers of aviation that stopped at this early field were Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and James Doolittle.

Mayor John Boyd Thacher II once said "a city without the foresight to build an airport for the new traffic may soon be left behind in the race for competition". He therefore decided to build in 1928 a new modern airport on the Shaker site near Albany-Shaker Road in Colonie, not far from the original polo fields used as the first site of the municipal airport. The Shakers not only sold the land used but also loaned the use of tractors and tools.

The early Albany Airport was often closed and threatened with closure which prompted repeated improvements in the late 1930s and 1940s. The airport was closed from January 1939 until December 1940, when it reopened to traffic during daylight hours only, and then with no restrictions since January 1942. The airport has not been closed (other than for weather and emergency landings) since.

The February 1947 C&GS chart shows three 3500-ft runways aimed 12, 98 and 133 degrees magnetic.

ALB was jointly owned and managed by the city and county of Albany until 1960 when Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd ended the city's stake.

In 1962 a new terminal building opened. A landside building had ticket counters, a coffee shop, and baggage claim on the first floor and a restaurant, offices and viewing area on the second floor. A single-story boarding concourse extended outwards from this building. In 1968 this concourse was widened to allow more concessions and boarding space. The terminal was expanded again in 1979, with the addition of a new two-story building attached diagonally to the northwest. It had boarding gates for Allegheny Airlines on the second floor, and baggage carousels on the first floor.

The main terminal building at Albany International Airport

The Albany County Airport Authority was created by the county in 1993 with a 40-year lease to operate the airport in 1996. Construction of a new terminal began on May 16, 1996 and opened in June 1998. It was designed by Reynolds, Smith & Hills and Stracher-Roth-Gilmore,[5] and it was built around the existing terminal, most of which was demolished upon its completion. Only the 1979 extension remains from the old terminal building.[6]

In 1999, the Airport Authority began construction of a 16,000 sq. ft. addition to the new terminal to accommodate Southwest Airlines. The project was completed in 2000 and included the addition of two new dual jet bridges enabling passengers to board and deplane from the front and rear of the aircraft.[7]

Service history[edit]

At the time of US Airline Deregulation in 1978, most of Albany's service was provided by two "trunk carriers" (American Airlines and Eastern Air Lines) and one "local service carrier" (Allegheny Airlines, which renamed itself USAir in 1979). After Deregulation, many new airlines expanded to Albany. Most did not survive the tumultuous 1980's.

Airlines that served Albany after Deregulation include:

  • Braniff International Airways, which added Albany as part of an unsuccessful large expansion in 1979. Albany was the only Upstate New York market served by this colorful and storied Dallas-based airline, which shut down in 1982.
  • Empire Airlines, a regional carrier based in Utica, opened a hub at Syracuse Hancock International Airport after Deregulation and operated flights from Albany and numerous destinations in the Northeast with a fleet of large regional jets and turboprop aircraft.
  • Mall Airways, a commuter carrier, ran a hub at Albany in the 1980s with small turboprop aircraft, and operated flights around the Northeast and into Canada.
  • Peoplexpress Airlines, a low-cost carrier founded in 1981 with a hub at Newark International Airport. People grew quickly into a major carrier, but some bad decisions led to its downfall and purchase by Continental Airlines in 1986. Continental's Continental Express and Continental Connection affiliates served Albany until they merged with United in 2010.
  • Piedmont Airlines, a pre-deregulation local service carrier based in North Carolina, expanded to the Northeast with a hub at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. They served Albany from this hub. They also bought Empire in 1985 and merged them into itself. In 1987, Piedmont was bought by USAir who wanted to eliminate the unwelcome new competition. Piedmont Airlines, now a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways and operates under the name US Airways Express, provides US Airways with all ground handling services at Albany International Airport. Piedmont Airlines still operates flights in and out of Albany International Airport, but its aircraft are branded with the US Airways Express logo.
  • Republic Airlines, an airline formed from the merger of three pre-Deregulation local service carriers, added service from Albany to their Detroit hub in 1984. They were bought by Northwest Airlines in 1987; Northwest was bought by Delta Air Lines in 2008 and took over their operations in 2009.
  • United Airlines, which had long served Rochester and Buffalo, added Albany and Syracuse in 1982. United and its affiliates serve Albany today.

During 1986–1987, the airline industry consolidated through a series of mergers, so that after 1989 the US airline industry was dominated by a group of six "legacy carriers:" American, United, Delta, Northwest, USAir, and Continental. All of them served Albany themselves or by their regional affiliates. During the 1990s, Albany and other Upstate markets enjoyed little low-fare service, and the legacy carriers mostly kept fares high. Southwest Airlines' entry into Albany in 2000 ushered in a new era of low fare service at the airport.

Recent history[edit]

Nonstop destinations from Albany International Airport effective August 2014.
  • Albany International Airport is receiving $5.9 million in federal stimulus money to benefit the effort to remove a water tower which is considered an obstruction by the FAA for incoming aircraft on the runway 28 approach.[8]
  • American Eagle ended service to ALB on November 1, 2008. Originally ALB had service by American Airlines, but that ended after 9/11.
  • Albany International Airport is one of only 4 airports in the world using dual jet bridges (one bridge for the back, one for the front). However, only Southwest Airlines uses them, and not on all flights.[citation needed]
  • US Airways used to have major operations at Albany, including its own hangar, MetroJet services to Orlando and Baltimore, and dozens of mainline flights a day. These services were cut down when US Airways went bankrupt in the period after the 9/11 attacks.[citation needed]
    A US Airways Express Dash 8 at Albany Airport
  • Construction has recently been completed on the 1,300-foot (400 m) runway extension for runway 1/19. The runway now measures 8,500 feet (2,600 m).[9]
  • With the January 2006 shutdown of Independence Air, the airport is in further discussions with Frontier Airlines[10] to expand service to the airport.
  • In the past ALB had been serviced by Delta Express flying to Orlando and Tampa, MetroJet flying to Orlando and Baltimore. In those airlines' final years of operation, when they flew alongside Southwest Airlines, Albany had up to eight flights to Orlando.
  • ALB has become a focus city for Cape Air flying to Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Boston.
  • Albany currently faces high domestic air fare prices due to Southwest and US Airways, which make up a large portion of the operations at the airport. ALB has an agreement with Delta Air Lines to fly larger aircraft to and from Atlanta. The increase in operations paired with an increase demand is projected to allow the fares at ALB to decrease.
  • In 2001, ALB completed a glycol waste-to-energy plant which treats de-icing fluid. This system removes 99.99% of glycol pollutants, and allows direct discharge into a nearby creek. The plant generates more power than it consumes, and saves the airport over $750,000 per year in sewage fees.[11]
  • In February 2011, the Albany County Airport Authority announced that they would be meeting with at least five airlines, some that don't currently serve Albany, about the rising fares and declining service at the Albany International Airport. Albany fares increased by 14.24 percent over 12 months to the third period of 2010 to $384.15. The percentage increase was the 19th greatest of the 100 major airports tracked in the DOT study. The airport also noted that the airport has seen a net loss of four daily flights over the past year, although there are promising signs with Delta Air Lines increasing mainline service to Atlanta International Airport on McDonnell Douglas MD-88 jets; as well as Cape Air's three new non-stop flights between Albany and Boston that began in March on the airline's Cessna 402s.[12]
  • In March 2011, Albany International Airport CEO John O'Donnell said that the airport was considering adding an incentives program to increase business at the airport. According to O'Donnell the program would offer significant incentives" for airlines to add service. A couple of the airports on the list of possible new destinations are Los Angeles, Denver, Fort Myers, Houston, and possible seasonal service to Myrtle Beach and Cancun.[13]
  • In July 2011, Albany International Airport began to seek a $1.25 million grant to attract new destinations and airlines. Albany Airport is hoping that this grant will add nonstop service to Houston, Texas, as well as many other destinations.[14]
  • As of August 5, Albany International Airport is receiving $500,000 from local Capital Region businesses to add flights and airlines.[15]
  • In September 2011, the Albany International Airport received $750,000 in a federal grant that will be used to provide a revenue guarantee to an airline that will provide non-stop service to Houston, Texas, Denver, Colorado or Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.[16]
  • It was officially announced that November 16, 2011 would be the final day of service between Watertown and Albany. The service offered by Cape Air will be replaced by American Eagle, on 44-seat regional jets to Chicago-O'Hare. This will not affect Albany's service to Odgensburg and Massena.[17]
  • On March 25, 2012, Albany's Delta flights to New York-JFK ended and shifted to New York-LaGuardia though the new flight stopped soon.
  • On September 2, 2013, Albany ended all international flights as Air Canada ended service to Toronto-Pearson and as of now, there are no plans to gain international flights.
  • On March 17, 2014 JetBlue Airlines officially announced it would begin service to and from Albany starting on December 10, 2015 with two daily non-stop flights, one to Orlando and the other to Fort Lauderdale, FL.[18]

CommutAir hub[edit]

In early 2001, CommutAir started to invest in an Albany hub. The hub was to connect smaller cities with bigger cities with Continental Express and mainline. At its peak CommutAir served Allentown, Bangor, Binghamton, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington, Elmira, Portland, Harrisburg, Nantucket, Scranton, La Guardia, Islip, Hartford, White Plains, Manchester, Providence, Syracuse, Rochester, Lake Placid, Montreal, Ottawa, and Plattsburgh. The hub was closed down in late 2005 to shift operations to Cleveland. A few of the markets did do well. The hub was served by Beechcraft 1900s operated by CommutAir for Continental Connection. Currently, CommutAir operates 2 flights from Albany to its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport for United Express.


Concourse A[edit]

Concourse A was opened in 1968. Prior to the opening of a much more modern Concourse B in June 1998, all gates in Concourse A were occupied by US Airways. United Airlines and Cape Air are currently the only two airlines in Concourse A. Other previous airlines at Concourse A include American Airlines, American Eagle, Northwest Airlines (before their merger with Delta Air Lines) and Continental Airlines (before their move to Concourse C). United, following its merger with Continental added gate A4. Concourse A has the Saranac Street Pub and a Paradies Shop (Capital News & Gifts).

Concourse B[edit]

Delta Air Lines and US Airways currently share the concourse, with Delta having three gates (B5, B7, B8) and US Airways having three gates (B9, B10, B11). Concourse B's amenities include a Paradies Shop (Capital News & Gifts), Hudson Valley Wine Bar, Starbucks and Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen. Gates B2, B4 (lower level) and B6 are currently not in regular use (B3 boarding area has been blocked and is currently used as office space). As of December 2015, JetBlue Airways will also occupy Concourse B.

Concourse C[edit]

Concourse C was opened in June 1998 as part of the airport's $184 million renovation project. Concourse C has three gates, 2 being currently being used by Southwest Airlines and 1 vacant. Concourse C has a Brioche Dorée Café, two Paradies Shops (Capital Book Sellers and Capital Gifts), a business center and an interfaith prayer chapel.

Concourse D[edit]

There have been discussions between the Town of Colonie and The Albany Airport Board regarding the construction of a new concourse. The concourse will be built to satisfy the needs of a growing US Airways and Southwest, and will also become an international concourse with immigration and customs facilities.[19] Southwest only has two gates for their operations which some have said is not enough, considering that Southwest has over a 40% market share with only 10% of the gates. At times, aircraft have to wait until one of the two gates open up or passengers have to deplane on the tarmac via airstairs. Proponents of the new concourse contend that it would also be useful to attract new airlines to ALB. The proposed concourse would have approximately 10 gates. However, there is insufficient space for the new facility on airport property at this time.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations Concourse(s)
Cape Air Boston, Massena, Ogdensburg A
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Detroit
Delta Connection operated by Endeavor Air Detroit
Seasonal: Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul
JetBlue Airways Fort Lauderdale, Orlando (both services begin December 10, 2015)[20] B
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa
Seasonal: Denver (begins June 13, 2015),[21] Fort Myers
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare A
United Express operated by CommutAir Newark, Washington-Dulles A
United Express operated by GoJet Airlines Chicago-O'Hare A
United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Washington-Dulles A
United Express operated by Republic Airlines Newark A
United Express operated by Trans States Airlines Washington-Dulles A
US Airways
operated by American Airlines
Charlotte B
US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin Philadelphia, Washington-National B
US Airways Express operated by Piedmont Airlines Philadelphia B
US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National B

Top destinations[edit]

Top ten busiest domestic routes out of ALB
(January – December 2014)[22]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Baltimore, MD 195,000 Southwest
2 Atlanta, GA 110,000 Delta
3 Charlotte, NC 108,000 US Airways
4 Chicago, IL (O'Hare) 99,000 United
5 Philadelphia, PA 91,000 US Airways
6 Chicago, IL (Midway) 87,000 Southwest
7 Orlando, FL 79,000 Southwest
8 Detroit, MI 72,000 Delta
9 Washington, DC (National) 60,000 US Airways
10 Washington, DC (Dulles) 54,000 United

Airline share[edit]

Southwest - 40.6%

United - 21.3%

US Airways - 20.3%

Delta - 16.1%

Cape Air - 1.3%

JetBlue - 0.4%

Cargo carriers[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Cincinnati
FedEx Express Fort Wayne, Memphis
Seasonal: Newark
UPS Airlines Hartford, Philadelphia, Syracuse
Seasonal: Louisville, Providence

Ground transportation[edit]


Albany International Airport has direct access to I-87 and New York State Route 7 via Albany-Shaker Road, a 3.3-mile four-lane boulevard. The New York State Department of Transportation is currently in the developing stages of the Exit 3 Project.[23] The Exit 3 Project will eventually provide better access to Albany International Airport and improve Exit 4. The airport is served by major car rental companies as well as by local taxi and limousine services.


Albany International Airport is served by CDTA Routes 610 and 737. Route 737 provides access to Downtown Albany, while Route 610 provides access to Colonie via Colonie Center. Adirondack Trailways and Vermont Translines also provides intercity bus service to and from the airport.


The closest rail station to Albany Airport is Schenectady Amtrak Station in Downtown Schenectady at 10 miles from the airport. For more rail options, Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak Station is 14 miles away and has more routes.


There are currently few sidewalks connecting the terminal to nearby hotels or other destinations. However, the New York State Department of Transportation has proposed installing pedestrian and bicycle facilities along Albany Shaker Road during an upcoming interchange project. This will connect the airport to hotels and businesses along Wolf Road.[24]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

On September 16, 1953: American Airlines Flight 723, a Convair 240, was flying Boston-Springfield-Albany-Syracuse-Rochester-Buffalo-Detroit-Chicago when it crashed and caught fire after flying into a series of radio towers in a fog while descending for landing. All 28 occupants on board (25 passengers and 3 crew) were killed.[25]

On March 3, 1972 Mohawk Airlines Flight 405, a Fairchild Hiller FH-227 crashed into a house in Albany, New York on approach to Albany County Airport. The crew had difficulty getting the cruise lock to disengage in one of the engines. While the crew attempted to deal with the problem, the aircraft crashed short of the airfield, killing 16 of the 48 people in the aircraft and one person on the ground. The lone surviving crew member was a stewardess, Sandra Quinn.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for ALB (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective July 29, 2010.
  2. ^ 2010 North American Final Rankings, Airports Council International - North America, archived from the original on May 15, 2011 [not in citation given]
  3. ^ "Customs at ALB". Albany International Airport. Archived from the original on August 31, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Albany Airspace". Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Albany International Airport". Stracher Roth Gilmore Architects. Archived from the original on September 7, 2002. 
  6. ^ "Albany Airport History". Albany County Airport Authority. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Cathy Woodruff (April 4, 2009). "Water tower work gets Federal boost". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Airport Begins Construction of Major Runway Extension". Albany International Airport. July 14, 2004. Archived from the original on November 17, 2006. 
  10. ^ Eric Durr (January 13, 2006). "Airport solid financially but needs more carriers". The Business Review (Albany, New York: American City Business Journals, Inc.). Retrieved August 12, 2008. 
  11. ^ Tom Gibson (September 30, 2002). "Let the Bugs Do the Work". Progressive Engineer. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ Eric Anderson (February 8, 2011). "Trends worry airport board". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  13. ^ Eric Anderson (March 11, 2011). "A lure for expanded air service". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ Pam Allen (July 20, 2011). "Albany Airport seeks 125m grant". Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ Pam Allen (August 5, 2011). "Albany International Airport attracts $500K in private funding to add flights – The Business Review". Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  16. ^ Michael Cignoli (September 28, 2011). "Albany Airport gets $750,000 grant to recruit new airlines, flights". The Saratogian. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ Eric Anderson (October 6, 2011). "Air service between Albany, Watertown to end". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  18. ^ Associated Press (March 17, 2014). "JetBlue to Start Service at Albany Airport in '15". Albany, NY: ABC News. Archived from the original on March 18, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Architecture+, Petersen Group picked for $1.8M airport terminal project". The Business Review (Albany, New York: American City Business Journals, Inc.). January 13, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2004. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Research and Innovative Technology Administration. "Albany, NY: Albany International (ALB)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation. 
  23. ^ "Adirondack Northway Exit 3 Project, Project I.D. No. 1721.51". New York State Department of Transportation. February 2014. 
  24. ^ New York State Department of Transportation (October 11, 2011). "I-87, Exits 3/4 Access Improvements" (PDF). Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Accident description (Record 19530916-0)". Aviation Safety Net. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 

External links[edit]