Charleston International Airport
|Charleston International Airport
|IATA: CHS – ICAO: KCHS – FAA LID: CHS
|Airport type||Public / Military|
Joint Base Charleston
|Operator||Charleston County Aviation Authority / Charleston Field|
|Location||North Charleston, S.C. (USA)|
|Elevation AMSL||46 ft / 14 m|
|Source: Charleston Co. Aviation Authority|
Charleston International Airport (IATA: CHS, ICAO: KCHS, FAA LID: CHS) is a joint civil-military airport located in North Charleston, South Carolina. It has two runways and is operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority under a joint-use agreement with Charleston Field, a facility of Joint Base Charleston. It is South Carolina's busiest airport; in 2013 the airport served 2,913,265 passengers in its busiest year on record and became classified as a security-level Category I airport by the Transportation Security Administration. The airport is located in North Charleston and is approximately 12 miles (20 km) northwest of downtown Charleston. The airport is also home to the Boeing South Carolina facility that assembles the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
In 1928, the Charleston Airport Corporation was founded and purchased 700 acres of land previously belonging to a mining company. Although privately developed at first, the City of Charleston floated bonds in 1931 to acquire a portion of the site for passenger service. Within ten years, three runways were paved and outfitted with lighting for nighttime operations. In World War II, control of the airfield passed to the United States Army though civilian service was allowed to continue to use the airfield. After the war, the airfield reverted to civilian use for a short time. In 1949, a new passenger terminal was built.
During the Korean War, the airfield was reactivated for military use and in 1952, the City of Charleston and the United States Air Force reached an agreement on control of the base and the runways—an arrangement that has been renegotiated over time and that continues to this day. In 1979, the civilian portions of the airport were transferred from the City of Charleston to the Charleston County Aviation Authority, which had operated two other airports in the area. The current terminal on the south end of the airport was built in the 1980s on land acquired by Georgia Pacific.
In October 2009, Boeing announced that it would build a major plant on 265 acres at the airport as a second final assembly site for its 787 Dreamliner commercial aircraft. The facility began limited operations in July 2011 and rolled out its first completed aircraft in April 2012. Additional facilities to compliment aircraft assembly have since been announced by the company.
Throughout its history, all four domestic legacy carriers and their predecessor companies have served Charleston International Airport. Aside from the legacy carriers, Charleston has seen periods of additional air service from international and low-cost carriers. Air South served the airport in 1995 and 1996 before folding. In 2001, Air Canada briefly served Charleston from Toronto but ended service immediately after the September 11th attacks. AirTran Airways served the airport from 2007 to 2009.
In 2011 Southwest Airlines began service to Charleston, increasing passenger figures and reducing fares for most flights. In February 2013 JetBlue Airways began service to Charleston from New York (JFK) and Boston.
Facilities and aircraft
Joint Base Charleston owns and operates the runways at the airport and has an agreement with the Charleston County Aviation Authority to allow civilian use of the field. In 2009 secondary runway 3/21 was closed for nearly a year for reconstruction and resurfacing. In 2012 the main runway 15/33 was closed for reconstruction to replace the concrete and to extend the runway width from 150 feet to 200 feet. The main runway reopened in August 2013.
General aviation services are located on the east side of the airport and are operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
The current airline terminal was built in 1987 and was designed by Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff, Davis & Floyd, Inc., and Lucas & Stubbs. In recent years area officials have hoped to update the terminal's interior, which has been described as dated and dark. In 2013, the Charleston County Aviation Authority approved a $189 million Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) which will upgrade amenities and facilities in phases over a three year period.
In 2013 the airport had 104,287 aircraft operations, an average of 286 per day: 29.7% general aviation, 27.2% scheduled commercial, 24.7% air taxi, and 18.4% military. About 16.7% of these flights were local operations, where the origin and destination were the same.
Airlines and destinations
The airport consists of a single passenger terminal with flights departing from two concourses: Concourse A on the right and Concourse B on the left. Each concourse has its own TSA security checkpoint. The airport is equipped to handle international flights but currently does not have any regularly scheduled international flights.
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|Delta Air Lines||
|ExpressJet (Delta or United)||
|Mesa (United or US Airways)||
|Republic (US Airways)||
|2||Charlotte, NC||210,000||US Airways|
|4||New York (JFK), NY||71,000||Delta, JetBlue|
|5||Washington (National), DC||69,000||US Airways|
|6||New York (LaGuardia), NY||65,000||Delta|
|7||Chicago (Midway), IL||64,000||Southwest|
|9||Philadelphia, PA||54,000||US Airways|
|10||Chicago (O’Hare), IL||53,000||United|
|Atlas Air||Grottaglie, McConnell AFB, Paine Field|
|FedEx Express||Memphis, Nashville|
|Martinaire for UPS Airlines||Greenville/Spartanburg, Columbia (SC)|
|Suburban Air Freight||Savannah|
Charleston International Airport is located near the interchange of Interstate 26 and Interstate 526 and is accessible from both interstates using International Boulevard and Montague Avenue exits. The airport does offer a free cell phone parking lot for passenger pickups. For short-term and long-term parking, the airport offers surface or garage parking for up to 30 days. Rental cars from major companies are available. The airport is expected to complete a new dedicated rental car pavilion adjacent to the terminal in 2014.
CARTA, the regional mass transit system, serves the airport with three routes that operate seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
- CARTA Express Route 4, also known as North Area Shuttle (NASH) Express is an express service to downtown Charleston with stops at the North Charleston Visitors Center and at the Tanger Outlets. Total trip time from the airport to downtown is usually 25-35 minutes.
- CARTA Route 11 is a local service that connects the airport to downtown Charleston with several stops along Dorchester Road and Meeting Street in North Charleston. Total trip time from the airport to downtown is usually 50-55 minutes.
- CARTA Route 105, also known as the North Area Shuttle (NASH) Collector is a free service that connects the airport with certain destinations in North Charleston, including the visitors center, the convention center complex (including the North Charleston Coliseum and performing arts center), and some of North Charleston's neighborhoods and business districts.
As of 2014, one-way fares are $3.00 for the Route 4 express service and $1.75 for the Route 11 service.
Taxis and shuttles are available from CHS to Charleston and other destinations in the Lowcountry. Fixed rates are set by the Charleston County Aviation Authority for most major destinations.
Accidents and incidents
- On September 11, 1974, Eastern Air Lines Flight 212, a flight originating in Charleston and headed to Chicago with a stopover in Charlotte, crashed on approach in dense fog conditions near Douglas Municipal Airport (now Charlotte/Douglas International Airport). Of the 78 passengers and four crew members aboard the Douglas DC-9 aircraft, 72 were killed.
- 2013 Operations Report
- "Joint Civilian/Military (Joint-use) Airports". Airport Improvement Program. Federal Aviation Administration. 2002-03-06. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- "Charleston airport sets new passenger record". Warren L. Wise. Charleston Post & Courier. 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
- "AirTran pulling out of Charleston". WCSC. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Banner year for Charleston International Airport". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- FAA Airport Master Record for CHS ( PDF), effective 2007-12-20
- "Main Charleston area's airport runway to shut down for reconstruction June 18". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Airport History
- Wiesenthal, Eric (December 26, 1981). "Airport Taking Shape". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- 2013 Operations Report
- Wise, Warren (March 6, 2014). "JetBlue to add 2 flights daily from Charleston to Washington". The Post and Courier. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "First phase of Charleston airport overhaul to be completed by mid-March". Warren L. Wise. Charleston Post & Courier. 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
- Charleston International Airport, official site
- Charleston Air Force Base, official site
- Anna.aero article, Analysis of airport traffic and serving airlines
- (PDF), effective March 6, 2014
- Resources for this airport: