Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport
|Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport|
|USGS satellite image as of June 29, 2006|
|IATA: BHM – ICAO: KBHM – FAA LID: BHM
|Owner||Birmingham Airport Authority|
|Elevation AMSL||644 ft / 196 m|
|Daily aircraft operations||301(Avg)|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration; Birmingham Airport Authority, ACI|
Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport (IATA: BHM, ICAO: KBHM, FAA LID: BHM), formerly Birmingham Municipal Airport and later Birmingham International Airport, is the major airport that serves Birmingham, Alabama and Central Alabama, United States. A joint civil-military facility, it is located five miles (8 km) northeast of downtown Birmingham, near the interchange of I-20 and I-59. Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport currently averages 301 daily aircraft operations, including 136 flights daily to 43 airports in 40 cities. BHM served 3,222,689 passengers in 2007, and is the largest and busiest airport in the state of Alabama. It had also been mentioned by Atlanta talk show host Clark Howard as a cheap alternate airport for Atlanta travelers due to the presence of Southwest Airlines until February 2012. The airport was renamed in July 2008 after Fred Shuttlesworth. The airport is an 'International Airport' by name only. There are currently no scheduled international flights from the airport. The Southern Museum of Flight is located on Airport Authority property, adjacent on the east side of the North-South runway. The airfield is capable of handling all aircraft types. The main runway is 12,002 feet (3,658 m) long. The secondary runway is 7,100 feet (2,200 m) long. A Category II instrument landing system allows operations in visibility as low as a quarter mile.
The first commercial air service to Birmingham began in 1928 by St. Tammy and Gulf Coast Airways, operating through Roberts Field on the west side of Birmingham on a route from Atlanta, Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana. Delta Air Service began service to Birmingham in late 1929 with six seat Travel Air airplanes along a route stretching from Love Field in Dallas, Texas to Birmingham. When American Airways (now American Airlines) began their Atlanta, Georgia to Fort Worth, Texas route, Birmingham was not included in the route because their Ford Tri-Motor aircraft could not land at Roberts Field. As a result of this development, Birmingham began construction of a new airport, Birmingham Municipal Airport on the current Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport site.
The new airport opened with great public fanfare on May 31, 1931 with a single two story, white, Georgian style terminal and a single east-west runway. The terminal stood immediately east of the later 1962 and 1971 terminal complexes. No remains of the 1931 terminal or landscaping are visible. With the addition of American Airlines in 1931 and Eastern Airlines in 1934, air traffic increased enough to warrant a second runway.
World War II saw the airport leased to the United States Army Air Forces for $1 a year to support national defense. Birmingham Army Airfield was a section assigned to the Third Air Force as a fighter base, operated by the 310th Army Air Force Base Unit. The Army Air Force considerably improved the airport with land acquisitions, paving of additional taxiways, and construction of a control tower and an aircraft modification center south of the terminal (this is now operated by Pemco).
After the airport was returned to city control in August 1948, Southern Airways began service to the airport. By March 1951, four runways were in operation, Runways 5/23 (now designated 6/24) and 18/36, as well as additional runways at approximately 45/225 degrees on the north side of Runway 5/23 and 85/265 degrees primarily south of Runway 5/23. Runway lengths were all approximately 4,000 feet (1,200 m) to 5,500 feet (1,700 m). The runway at 45/225 degrees is now largely removed, though a paved portion remains crossing taxiway F near the Alabama Air National Guard facilities, used as a location for airport equipment and helicopter landing/parking. The runway at 85/265 is also mostly removed, with remaining segments making up taxiway A5 and a portion of taxiway F east of Runway 18/36.
By 1959, Runway 5/23 was lengthened to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and service was started to Birmingham by Capital Airlines which operated British-manufactured, four engine Vickers Viscount turboprop airliners. Capital’s merger with United Air Lines resulted in the initiation of the first ever jet service to Birmingham with the French-manufactured Sud Aviation Caravelle IV-R twin jet operated by United. By the late 1960s, Douglas DC-8, Douglas DC-9, Convair 880 and Boeing 727 jetliners were all being operated in scheduled service at BHM.
During the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, pilots and crews from the Alabama Air National Guard's 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Birmingham were selected to train Cuban exile fliers in Nicaragua to fly the Douglas B-26 Invader in the close air support role. Although the 117th was currently flying the RF-84F Thunderflash, it had only recently retired its RB-26C Invaders, making it the last squadron in the Air Force to do so; thus the 117th was seen as the logical choice for the CIA's secret mission. Seven of the volunteer aviators participated combat operations during the final day of the invasion, on August 19, 1961. Birmingham natives Leo Baker, Wade Gray, Riley Shamburger, and Thomas "Pete" Ray were killed when their (two) aircraft were shot down. While American involvement had been suspected since before the invasion even began, Pete Ray's frozen body was kept as concrete proof of U.S. support.
Continued growth in passenger traffic by 1962 resulted in the construction of a second passenger terminal and a new air traffic control tower, built west of the original 1931 terminal. This was dedicated on February 11, 1962 as the Birmingham Air Terminal. Charles H. McCauley Associates was the supervising architect and Radar & Associates was the designing architect. It consisted of a single story building of repeated bays with steeply pitched roofs, which flanked a wider, higher center bay at the south end of the building for ticketing. A long, flat roofed northern section comprised the ground-level aircraft gates. The south portion remains today for various airport support functions.
In 1973 the current semi-circular terminal was completed west of the 1962 terminal and air traffic control tower. It originally had 15 aircraft gates and a 1,600 space parking deck. Allegheny Air (now US Airways) began service from Birmingham to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the late 1970s. Deregulation of the airline industry saw airlines such as Comair, Florida Express, People Express, Air New Orleans, L'Express Airlines, and most importantly Southwest Airlines enter the Birmingham market. With the introduction of flights to Canada and Mexico, the official name of the airport was changed to Birmingham International Airport on October 20, 1993. Also in 1993, the airport marked the completion of a $50.4m terminal renovation.
In the early 1990s, Runway 18/36 was extended to 7,100 feet, allowing its routine use by airline jets. By the early 2000s, Birmingham had constructed a new 211 feet (64 m) tall control tower and completed significant improvements to the air cargo areas, including an entirely new facility at the far west end. The 1960s blue air traffic control tower was demolished in 2001. In 2006, Birmingham International Airport celebrated its 75th year of serving the central Alabama region. In July 2007, an 2,000-foot (610 m) eastward extension to Runway 6/24 was completed and dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Now at 12,002 feet (3,658 m) in length, Runway 6/24 allows a fully loaded and fueled Boeing 747 to land or takeoff in Birmingham.
On June 23, 2008, Birmingham city mayor Larry Langford announced his proposal to rename the airport as the Fred L. Shuttlesworth International Airport, in honor of civil rights activist Fred Shuttlesworth. On July 16, 2008, Mayor Langford and the Birmingham Airport Authority voted to change the name of the airport from the Birmingham International Airport to the Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport after the former civil rights activist. The name change cost about $300,000. In October 2008, the airport was officially renamed again to Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport. The FAA approved the name change and signage of the airport took place on April 3, 2009.
Terminal expansion and modernization 
There is a $201.6 million dollar terminal renovation project in progress. This project includes a renovation and upgrade to the airport's existing concourse C, as well as completely new concourses A and B. There will also be changes made to the interior lobby and ticketing area of the main terminal building, as well as improving the way passengers get from the parking deck to the terminal. More security screening areas, concessions, as well as US customs offices will be added. The new airport is said to be built with new efficient building standards, making it one of the greenest airports in the country. As of August 2011 the project is well underway, with Terminal A, the old cargo terminal, and concourse B already demolished. For more information regarding this project, see the project's website, or the project's photo gallery. The first phase of construction was completed on February 26, 2013 with the entire modernization project to be complete by 2014. The second phase of construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2013 (when the new concourses A and B opens) when the airport's current and only concourse C will be demolished and renovated. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new terminal took place on February 26, 2013 with the terminal to open for business on March 13, 2013.
The project team includes the following:
- KPS Group and KHAFRA (Architects & Engineers)
- A.G. Gaston Construction (Project Management)
- Brasfield & Gorrie and BLOC Global Services Group (Construction Management)
Aerospace industrial use 
An aircraft modification facility on the southwest side of the airport, originally built during World War II, is now operated by Pemco Aeroplex and owned by Nader Banilohi, with much of its recent work in support of the U.S. Air Force KC-135 fleet.
General aviation facilities 
Atlantic Aviation operates two general aviation fixed base operator facilities, and there are numerous corporate hangars north of Runway 6/24 and east of Runway 18/36. AirMed International, a fixed-wing air ambulance company, operates its main hub from here.
Terminal and concourses 
BHM currently has one new terminal building with two new concourses, which opened on March 13, 2013. The landside terminal (the area before the security threshold) has two levels. The upper level has ticketing and check-in facilities, restaurants and bars, business centers and meeting rooms, as well as an observation lounge. The lower level has baggage claim facilities, areas to book ground transportation such as rental car and taxicabs, and local and regional hospitality facilities. The airport also has its own police force with offices on the lower level of the terminal.
Terminal A referred to the former 1962 terminal, which was still in use as office space until closed in 2011. Concourse B was closed in June 2011 and demolished alongside Terminal A for the first phase of the terminal modernization project to make way for two new concourses, to be titled concourses A and B, which is expected to opened for business on March 13, 2013. Concourse C was closed in March 13, 2013 upon completion of concourses A and B. Upon completion of the modernization project in 2014, the main terminal will be doubled from its current size and will have 3 concourses: A, B and C.
The new concourse A, which opened on March 13, 2013, consists of 8 gates: A1-A8. It is used by Southwest, Delta, and US Airways.
The new concourse B, also opened on March 13, 2013, consists of 5 gates: B1-B5. It is used by United, American, and US Airways.
Future Concourse C, which is expected to completed in 2014, will consist of 6 gates: C1-C6.
Former concourse B consisted of 6 gates, B1-B6. Prior to its closure and demolition, concourse B was used by Northwest/Northwest Airlink, American/American Eagle, Continental/Continental Express, and US Airways Express. Northwest moved to concourse C in May 2009 and was merged into Delta a year later. American Airlines moved to concourse C on June 10, 2011; while US Airways and Continental moved to concourse C on June 24, 2011. Concourse B was then closed and demolished in August 2011 to make way for the construction for future concourses A and B.
Former concourse C consisted of 13 gates, C1-C14. It was the only concourse at the airport in operation and in use during the first phase of the terminal modernization project. Therefore all commercial and charter services used this concourse. Concourse C was then closed when the new concourses A and B opened on March 13, 2013.
The current 1974 terminal was built in the International style of architecture popular for American commercial and institutional buildings from the 1950s through the late 1970s. It consists of a single curved terminal with concourses radiating outward. Large floor to ceiling plate glass windows form curtain walls on the departure level of the terminal with horizontal bands of repetitive white architectural panels above and below. A slight departure from typical International style, the upper band of panels is decorated with raised circles of four sizes, two circles per size per panel. The roof is flat over the terminal and concourses; a series of steel columns painted white with stay cables for the terminal awning project from the roof. An enclosed white-clad Observation Deck juts out from the airside terminal face at a sharp angle between concourses B and C. On the airside of the terminal, a large horizontal white sign with teal lettering identifies the city as Birmingham.
Externally, concourse C (and concourse B before its demolition) is radically different than the terminal structure, consisting of straight radial spokes clad with white panels. Concourse C includes a circular end which invokes the appearance of the terminal, whereas concourse B terminated at a flat wall. The concourse walls have relatively few windows, typically at waiting and dining areas. The presence of multiple shops, restrooms and service areas reduces the need for windows in the concourses. Jetways are used for the majority of the gates and aircraft, though Delta Connection and United Express uses stairs leading to the tarmac to board flights on regional jets. Passenger gates and services are located on the second floor with airside baggage handling and aircraft servicing on the ground level.
The interior of the terminal was renovated in the early 1990s and completed in 1993 at a cost of $50.4 million which included new floor surfaces, lighting, wall coverings, renovated public spaces, and public art. The flooring is a mixture of carpet and large tiles, with tile primarily in the heavily used terminal spaces, dining areas, and restrooms. Primary colors are off-white, beige and gray. Numerous planters are positioned in hallways.
The on-going terminal expansion and modernization project is expected to result in significant changes to the appearance of the terminal and concourses.
Artwork displays 
Several pieces of artwork are displayed within the Terminal and on the airport grounds. Approaching the airport along Messer Airport Boulevard, travelers pass a series of white three dimensional triangular shapes placed on raised posts along the shoulder and median of the roadway with a mid-span folded crease to suggest the wings of birds in flight or aircraft. The two-story open space between the baggage claim carousels and the exterior entrances is filled with internationally recognized artist Larry Kirkland’s mixed sculptural work Birmingham Beacons. The centerpieces of this work are two tall steel towers, recalling Birmingham’s heavy industrial heritage, carved with images from nature, science, leisure and cultural activities that reflect the local environment and people. A granite map of Alabama, a small red stone house with quotes from local residents, and a series of suspended objects round out the piece. The viewing area between concourses B and C displays whimsical sculptures of fruits and vegetables depicted as airplanes. Across from the viewing area is a display of the dedication plaque for the 1962 Birmingham Air Terminal and the large analogue clock with blinking stars which once hung above the main entrance doorway of the 1962 terminal and, with an adjacent sign, welcomed arriving passengers to Birmingham as they exited the terminal. Modified from its original appearance, the clock now includes photos of the current terminal, the 1931 terminal, and Birmingham’s Moorish style Terminal Station which served the railroads of Birmingham until being demolished in 1969.
Airlines and destinations 
- Note: Currently, all airlines and flights operate out of the new terminal (Concourses A and B).
|American Airlines||Dallas/Fort Worth||B|
|American Eagle||Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami||B|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta||A|
|Delta Connection operated by Compass Airlines||Minneapolis/St. Paul||A|
|Delta Connection operated by ExpressJet||Atlanta, Detroit, New York-LaGuardia
|Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle Airlines||Atlanta, Detroit||A|
|Southwest Airlines||Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Houston-Hobby, Jacksonville (ends June 1, 2013), Las Vegas, New Orleans (ends June 2, 2013), Orlando, St. Louis, Tampa||A|
|United Express operated by ExpressJet||Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental||B|
|US Airways Express operated by Chautauqua Airlines||Washington-National||A/B|
|US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines||Charlotte||A/B|
|US Airways Express operated by PSA Airlines||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National||A/B|
Scheduled cargo airlines and destinations 
|FedEx Express operated by Mountain Air Cargo||Memphis|
Southwest Airlines carried the most passengers through BHM in 2011; transporting 1.31 million passengers, 45% of total BHM passengers; Delta carried 807,000 passengers as the second largest carrier. Additionally, Southwest Airlines operates BHM as a connecting airport for over 180 different flight pairs. Southwest uses Las Vegas and Phoenix to connect passengers to the west coast.
Top destinations 
|2||Charlotte, NC||131,000||US Airways|
|3||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||84,000||American|
|4||Houston, TX (IAH)||82,000||United|
|8||Chicago, IL (Midway)||57,000||Southwest|
|10||Houston, TX (Hobby)||52,000||Southwest|
Commercial aircraft 
In January 2013, typical commercial passenger traffic included a mix of Airbus A319/A320, Boeing 737, Embraer 170, MD-80, DC-9, CRJ 900, CRJ700, CRJ 200, and Embraer 145 models operating approximately 128 take offs or landings daily. The overwhelmingly dominant mainline aircraft was the Boeing 737 due to Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines service at the airport with the type. Delta Airlines also uses the Airbus A319/A320, MD-80, and DC-9 on its mainline flights. American Airlines uses the MD-80 and occasionally the Boeing 737 on it's mainline flights. Delta Connection (Compass Airlines) uses the Embraer 170 as does occasionally Republic Airlines on behalf of US Airways Express. The CRJ700/900 family was the most common regional aircraft, being used by Delta Connection, United Express, and US Airways Express. The Canadair Regional Jets and ERJ 145 shared the second spot for regional jets, being utilized by the airlines above as well as American Eagle. No scheduled passenger service is offered on turboprop aircraft from BHM, although Mountain Air Cargo operates daily flights to Memphis using the ATR-72 twin-turboprop aircraft on behalf of FedEx Express. Unique regularly scheduled aircraft included a Boeing 727-200 and Boeing 757-200 operated by FedEx as well as the Airbus A300-600 and Boeing 767-300F (seasonal) operated by UPS, the only wide body aircraft to routinely use the airport. Numerous other aircraft are used for frequent charter flights. Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport is also a primary diversion airport for both Memphis International Airport and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport due to it's 12,002 ft runway, which frequently brings brief but unique visitors.
Incidents and accidents 
One fatal Part 121 (Air Carrier) accident has occurred at or in the immediate vicinity of Birmingham International Airport since 1934; the crash of Pennsylvania Central Airlines (a United Airlines predecessor) Flight 105 on January 6, 1946. The DC-3 landed on Runway 18 and continued off the end of the runway into Village Creek, three crew members sustained fatal injuries as a result of the accident.
Two Part 135 (Air Taxi & Commuter) accidents have occurred since 1962 which resulted in fatalities. The most significant accident was the crash of L'Express Airlines Flight 508 on July 10, 1991 with the loss of 13 lives. Eight fatal General Aviation accidents have occurred at or in the vicinity of Birmingham International Airport since 1962, including a flight line ground accident
On March 22, 2013 following a $201 million renovation construction in the airport terminal, a digital arrival/departure screen fixture fell on a mother and her children killing ten year old Luke Bresette, and injuring his mother and 2 other siblings of Overland Park, KS.
Popular culture 
The airport was the setting and filming location for the 2008 video of the Grammy Award-nominated and GMA Dove Award Song of the Year winning song “Give Me Your Eyes” by contemporary Christian artist Brandon Heath. The video was filmed in the 1962 Birmingham Air Terminal and the current terminal’s Baggage Claim and lower level Arrivals roadway areas. The airport scenes include over 100 extras.
See also 
- Alabama International Airport Authority
- List of airports in Alabama
- Alabama World War II Army Airfields
- FAA Airport Master Record for BHM ( PDF), effective 2012-02-06.
- BHM Statistical Reports. Birmingham Airport Authority Official Site.
- 2010 North American final rankings
- Birmingham International Airport sets passenger record for 2007 of 3.2 million
- (PDF), effective May 2, 2013. Federal Aviation Administration.
- Dodd, Don “Birmingham Aviation: From Fairgrounds Air Shows to the Southern Museum of Flight”, Alabama Review, January 2004.
-  Georgia Encyclopedia, Delta Air Lines
-  Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport Official Website > About BHM > Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport 75th Anniversary > 75th Anniversary Timeline
-  US Geological Survey, Aerial Photo; Birmingham Airport, Alabama; March 9, 1951
-  Aerial Photo, Birmingham Airport, 1967, University of Alabama collection
- Federal Aviation Administration Airport Diagram, Birmingham International (BHM), SE-4, June 5, 2008
- Birmingham Air Terminal dedication plaque; 1973 Terminal 2nd Floor
-  Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport Official Website > About BHM > Birmingham International Airport 75th Anniversary > 75th Anniversary Video
-  Birmingham International Airport Official Website > About BHM > History
- Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport, United States of America – Airport Technology
-  AirNav > Birmingham International Airport > FAA Information effective February 14, 2008
- MyFox Birmingham | Langford Looks to Rename Airport After Rev. Shuttlesworth
- Airport Authority Votes to Change Airport Name
- Terminal Modernization Project: Project Team
- "US Airways, Continental moving to concourse C at BHM". June 23, 2011.
- Birmingham International Airport – History
- Kirkland, Larry. Birmingham Beacons interpretative sign, 1992.
- Birmingham News; February 4, 2012
- Southwest Airlines Flight Schedule (Effective December 1–21, 2009)
- "Birmingham, AL: Birmingham Municipal (BHM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. August 16, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
- Flight Aware > Live Flight Tracker > Birmingham International Airport; retrieved February 23, 2012
- Civil Aeronautics Board, Docket No. SA-111 File No. 301-46, adopted June 17, 1946 DOT Library – Special Collections
- NTSB Aviation Accident Data and Synopses database. (retrieved December 2007). National Transportation Safety Board.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY Brandon Heath – “Give Me Your Eyes”
- brandonheath (2008-11-03). "Behind the Scenes – "Give Me Your Eyes" Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- Official website
- (PDF), effective May 2, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for BHM, effective May 2, 2013
- Resources for this airport: