Bangor International Airport
|Bangor International Airport|
|IATA: BGR – ICAO: KBGR
|Owner/Operator||City of Bangor|
|Elevation AMSL||192 ft / 59 m|
Bangor International Airport (IATA: BGR, ICAO: KBGR) is a joint civil-military public airport 3 mi (4.8 km) west of the city of Bangor, in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. It is owned and operated by the City of Bangor and was formerly a military installation known as Dow Air Force Base. The airport has a single runway measuring 11,439 by 200 ft (3,487 by 61 m) . Although most of the Air Force's aircraft and people left in the late 1960s, Bangor International Airport remains home to the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the Maine Air National Guard, flying the KC-135 Stratotanker.
The airport owes its prosperity to its location on the Great Circle Route, or major air corridor, between Europe and the East Coast of the United States.
Bangor International is operated as an "enterprise fund", which means that the expense of operating it comes from airport revenue. Revenues are generated by air service operations, resident aviation related industrial companies, real estate, cargo, international charter flights, and corporate/general aviation traffic. One of three international airports in the state, it serves the residents of central, eastern, and northern Maine as well as parts of Canada. It was designated by NASA as an emergency landing location for the Space Shuttle.
Bangor International Airport began as Godfrey Field in the 1920s, on land owned by local attorney Edward Rawson Godfrey (1877–1958). On Aug. 19, 1923, 15 Martin Bombers and 11 DeHaviland Scout Planes under the command of Gen. Billy Mitchell — virtually the entire U.S. Army Air Corps — landed there on a practice mission.
Regular air passenger service to Portland and Boston was begun in 1931 by Boston-Maine Airways, owned by the Boston and Maine and Bangor and Aroostook railroads and under contract to Pan American, which was interested in the airport as a stop on its planned intercontinental air route between the U.S. and Europe. Amelia Earhart was a celebrity pilot on some of the earliest flights for Boston-Maine Airways in the 1930s. The airport was equipped with floodlights for night flights as early as 1937. In 1940, Boston-Maine became Northeast Airlines, which eventually merged with Delta Air Lines in 1972.
Just before World War II, Godfrey Field was taken over by the Army Air Corps and became the Bangor Army Air Field. It was operated until 1968 as Dow Air Force Base, and still later as Bangor Air National Guard Base.
In 1948, Bangor was one stop on the round-the-world flight of Richarda Morrow-Tait, the first woman to pilot a plane around the globe. She landed at Dow but took off for the next leg (to Canada) from the airport in nearby Old Town. The Canadian authorities refused her permission to hop the Atlantic and ordered her back to Bangor. She defied them and completed the trip.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bangor was a destination for Northeast Airlines before its merger into Delta. Northeast usually used the Douglas DC-6 for service between Bangor and Boston and New York. In 1965, there was still a single weekly DC-3 flight to Bangor operated by Northeast Airlines.
In 1968, Dow AFB was closed as an active duty Air Force installation. Most of the base was purchased by the city and reopened the following year as Bangor International Airport. The portion of Dow AFB not turned over to the city became the basis for the current Air National Guard Base and the Maine Army National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility.
From the 1970s into the 1990s, the airport attracted 3,000 to 5,000 commercial flights a year, mostly charter jetliners flying between Europe and the West Coast of the United States, or the Caribbean and Mexico. Bangor was a logical refueling stop, and as a U.S. Port of Entry, passengers could go through customs and immigration checks while their plane was being serviced. Travelers from every part of the world mingled in the airport lounge — from the French & Belgian contingents of the Elvis Presley Fan Club on their way to Memphis, to President José López Portillo of Mexico on his way to Moscow with members of his military staff. Laker Airways, World Airways, Lot Polish Airlines, Aeroméxico, British Airways, Balair, Condor Airlines, LTU International, Capitol International Airways, Aeroflot and Pan American were a few of the companies whose livery became common in the skies above Bangor. Finnair briefly used Bangor as a hub for regularly scheduled daily flights.
In 1977, Erwin Kreuz, a 50-year-old West German brewery worker on his way to San Francisco, stepped off a refueling charter flight in the mistaken belief that he had reached his destination. Speaking no English, he spent four frustrating days in Bangor looking for San Francisco landmarks before realizing he was not in California. When his story made local and then national news, Bangorians were so delighted with his error that he received the key to the city, met the Governor of Maine, was made an honorary member of the Penobscot Indian tribe, received a marriage proposal, and was even given a gift of local land. The San Francisco Chronicle paid his way to California, where he was similarly feted, and he was invited back to Bangor the following year to help open the Bangor Mall.
Bangor has been the port of entry for over a million servicemen and women returning from the Gulf War, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the NATO operations IFOR and SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina on military charters. Starting in 1991, a combination of local veterans groups and interested citizens formed themselves into troop greeters to avoid the situation of the Vietnam War, when soldiers returned without ceremony or greeting. The civilian-driven "ceremony of return" in Bangor has been well organized and often ebullient. In 2006, former president Bill Clinton spontaneously joined the line of troop-greeters when his private plane made a refueling stop.
On July 8, 2010, ten captured Russian spies (members of the "Illegals Program"), were deported on a government-chartered jet that took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport bound for Vienna International Airport, with a stop in Bangor for refueling.
On May 22, 2012, a US Airways Boeing 767 from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Flight 787, was diverted to Bangor International after a passenger had passed a note saying she had a device surgically implanted inside her. Two F-15 Eagle fighters were scrambled and escorted the plane to Bangor, where the Cameroon-born French citizen was taken into custody. The airliner flew on to Charlotte without further incident.
Diversion destination 
Bangor is the first major American airport encountered by airliners approaching the United States from the east and the last for airliners heading towards Europe. With a runway that is more than two miles (3.2 km) long and an uncluttered airspace, it offers a place to land in case of bad weather at an airplane's destination, bomb threats, or passengers who prove unruly or are discovered to be on the Transportation Security Administration's No Fly List. One notable example was the diversion of singer Cat Stevens and his daughter, in September 2004.
Transatlantic flights are also sometimes diverted to Bangor when they experience mechanical trouble. Among those who have made unscheduled stops for that reason are former President George H. W. Bush and Colin Powell, and actors Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford. Pilots often use Bangor's location to prepare aggressive fuel estimates for transatlantic flights to North American destinations, since there is always the possibility of diverting to Bangor for an unscheduled refueling stop should the fuel load prove insufficient to reach the original destination in North America, and in fact it is somewhat common for this diversion to occur. In May 2001, Bangor handled two such flights from Britain within three hours. A Britannia Airways Boeing 767 to Cancún, Mexico, landed at Bangor on a Friday about noon. Three hours later, a British Airways Boeing 747 heading to Mexico City, did the same.
Between 2004 and May 2012, the airport handled 21 unscheduled landings for security reasons, 388 for fuel, 139 for weather, 50 for medical reasons, and 49 for maintenance issues. Because of its experience, the airport is able to quickly assemble firefighters, ambulances, police officers, and federal agents to meet such planes. During their involuntary visit to Maine, passengers receive food and donated cell phones to make calls. The airport receives $2,000 to $3,000 in handling and fuel fees, so makes a small profit for each diverted flight.
Current service 
Bangor Airport currently has up to 20 daily departures through Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways to LaGuardia Airport, Detroit Metro Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Orlando Sanford Airport, Fort Lauderdale International Airport, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, and to Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport.
Since the Iraq War, Bangor has also been busy with transcontinental and transatlantic military charter flights making refueling stops. Once in Bangor, planes will often disembark military passengers, refuel, reload the troops, and take off to air bases elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas.
Passenger counts went from 369,000 in 2001 to over 480,000 in 2005, thanks in part to marketing efforts by the airport.
In June 2006, the airport introduced nonstop Delta service to Atlanta. Atlanta was the third new destination added since 2003. However, after it merged with Northwest, Delta shifted its Bangor service from Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Boston to Detroit and New York City instead. Passenger traffic was down 4.7% in the first five months of the year 2007, and there was a 16.2% drop in May 2007. Delta Air Lines, the airport's largest carrier, saw a 33% decline in passengers in May.
In November 2007, the new low-cost carrier Allegiant Air began flying out of Bangor; it now operates flights to Sanford, Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale Florida.
In April 2008, the airport received a US$2.9 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to upgrade the terminal building and aviation equipment. The project was started in June 2008 and was completed in spring 2009. The construction added a second story to the area around Gate 1 and gave the terminal two levels. There are also new passenger accommodations beyond the security checkpoint, including bathrooms and food and beverage vendors.
There have been no fatal accidents associated with commercial service at the airport since it was organized as a municipal corporation in 1969.
Airlines and destinations 
|Allegiant Air||Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando-Sanford
Seasonal: St. Petersburg/Clearwater
|Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines||New York-LaGuardia|
|Delta Connection operated by ExpressJet Airlines||Detroit, New York-LaGuardia|
|Delta Connection operated by GoJet Airlines||New York-LaGuardia|
|Delta Connection operated by Shuttle America||Detroit, New York-LaGuardia|
|US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin||Philadelphia, Washington-National|
|US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines||Philadelphia|
|US Airways Express operated by PSA Airlines||Washington-National|
Top destinations 
|1||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||72,000||US Airways|
|2||New York (LaGuardia), New York||63,000||Delta|
|5||St. Petersburg, Florida||14,000||Allegiant|
|6||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||3,000||Allegiant|
|7||Washington, D.C.||5,000||US Airways|
Military operations 
In addition to regular operations by the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the Maine Air National Guard and other aviation operations by the Maine Army National Guard, Bangor is often the first or last stop on U.S. soil for troops headed to or from Iraq, Afghanistan, or other overseas destinations.
Ground transportation 
Bangor International Airport is located off I-95. The airport is served by local taxi and limousine services as well as various rental car companies. The BAT Community Connector provides bus service between the airport and the surrounding region. Bus services to Portland, Boston, and Northern Maine operated by Concord Coach and Cyr Bus Lines are located approximately one mile from the airport.
In fiction 
See also 
- Maine World War II Army Airfields
- 4038th Strategic Wing (USAF) January 1, 1959 – April 1, 1961
- 4060th Air Refueling Wing January 1, 1959 – February 1, 1960
- Bangor Daily News, Jan. 30-31, 1971, p. 105
- Round the World Flights
- USA Today, May 19, 2005
- Time, November 7, 1977; New York Times, July 15, 1984; Washington Post, October 17, 2004
- Time, October 8, 1995
- "Accidental tourists: Flights with unruly passengers routinely end up in remote Bangor, Maine". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. 2012-05-24. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- Goo, Sara Kehaulani (September 22, 2004). "Cat Stevens Held After D.C. Flight Diverted". TheWashington Post. p. A10. Retrieved 2007-09-25. "Islam was questioned in Bangor, Maine, by Customs and Border Protection agents."
- Time, June 14, 1996
- Susan Carey; Andy Pasztor (Wednesday, January 11, 2012). "Nonstop Flights Stop for Fuel". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- "Unruly English sidetrack planes to Maine airport". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas). Associated Press. 2001-05-20. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- The Associated Press (16 July 2011). "AirTran, JetBlue good for Portland ... but bad for Bangor?". USAToday. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Bangor International Airport, United States of America". airport-technology. 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Research and Innovative Technology Administration (May 2012). "Bangor, ME: Bangor International (BGR)". U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
Further reading 
- Goo, Sara Kehaulani (2004-10-17). Bangor Is Used to Surprise Landings. The Washington Post. May 22, 2005.
- Bangor ANGB (2005-04-26). GlobalSecurity.org. May 23, 2005.
- Maine airport plays key role for no-fly diverted flights (2005-05-20). USA Today. May 22, 2005.
- Zezima, Katie (2006-09-20). "Saying Thank You to Those Who Answered the Call of Duty". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- Bangor International Airport (official site)
- Resources for this airport: