Columbia Metropolitan Airport
|Columbia Metropolitan Airport|
|USGS aerial image - 2006|
|IATA: CAE – ICAO: KCAE – FAA LID: CAE|
|Owner/Operator||Richland-Lexington Airport District|
|Serves||Columbia, South Carolina|
|Location||Lexington County, near Columbia, South Carolina|
|Hub for||UPS Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||236 ft / 72 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Columbia Metropolitan Airport (IATA: CAE, ICAO: KCAE, FAA LID: CAE) is the main commercial airport for Columbia and the Midlands region of South Carolina. The airport is five miles (8 km) southwest of Columbia, in Lexington County. The airport is a regional cargo hub for UPS Airlines.
World War II era
The airport was built in the 1940 as Lexington County Airport. In 1940 the United States Army Air Corps indicated a need for the airfield as part of the buildup of its forces after World War II began in Europe. The earliest recorded Air Corps use of the airport was when the 105th Observation Squadron began flying Douglas O-38 and North American O-47 light observation aircraft on 24 September.
In 1941 the airport came under formal military control and an immediate program began to turn the civil airport into a military airfield. On 8 December 1941, the Columbia Army Airbase Columbia Army Airfield's mission was a training base for B-25 Mitchell crews.
One of the earliest units to train at Columbia AAB was the 17th Bombardment Group, which arrived on 9 February 1942. When the group arrived in Columbia its combat crews were offered the opportunity to volunteer for an "extremely hazardous" but unspecified mission which ultimately turned out to be the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan. Contrary to popular belief, the volunteers who made up the crews of the Doolittle Raid did not train for the Raid itself at Columbia.
Training at Columbia Army Air Base was phased down during the summer of 1945. Several units arrived at the base from overseas to inactivate during September and October. It was inactivated on 30 November and returned to civil authorities, which converted it back to an airport, however, the 350th Bombardment Squadron was assigned to Columbia Metropolitan Airport on 16 July 1947 as part of the Air Force Reserve, but it was never equipped or manned. It was inactivated on 27 June 1949
Passenger service was begun by Delta Air Lines which has served Columbia for over 70 years. Delta began flights from Columbia to Charleston, Asheville, Jacksonville, Augusta, Savannah and New York-LaGuardia. Delta DC-9 jet flights began March 7, 1966 with Flight 521 from Charleston continuing to Atlanta.
Eastern Airlines provided service to Charlotte, Washington, and New York. Piedmont Airlines flew from Augusta, Florence, and Charlotte in 1962. Southern Airways flew to Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg. In January 1978 Eastern started flights to Atlanta after a route swap with Piedmont Airlines. Southern Airways left in December 1978, six months before their merger with North Central Airlines to form Republic Airlines. Atlantis Airlines started service in 1979 for a brief time using Twin Otter aircraft. Piedmont Airlines introduced nonstop service to Miami in January 1980, but all service was discontinued June 1980 leaving only Delta and Eastern in Columbia for a time.
In November 1982, Piedmont Airlines returned to Columbia with flights to Charlotte and later Newark. American Airlines would start service in 1985 to Raleigh-Durham and United Airlines would fly to Charlotte and Chicago-O'Hare. People's Express and Continental Airlines. Freedom Airlines operated Convairs to Columbia in 1983. United Express (operated by Atlantic Coast Airlines) entered the market May 24, 1999 with service to Washington-Dulles and added Chicago-O'Hare on July 1, 2000. Northwest Airlines (operated by Pinnacle Airlines) came to Columbia on October 6, 2003, offering service to Detroit. On October 30, 2005, American Eagle returned after a nine year absence with service to Dallas/Fort Worth after Delta closed their DFW hub earlier that year. In October 2010 US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin began non-stops to New York-LaGuardia, but wound up discontinuing it as a result of a LaGuardia slot swap with Delta, which now has two daily flights to the airport.
Since 2000 the airport has tried to recruit low-cost carriers, but has been unable to maintain those services. Allegiant Air tried service to Orlando-Sanford, St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, yet these services did not last. Independence Air served Columbia briefly in 2004 and 2005 with service to Washington-Dulles before ceasing its operations in January 2006. In May 2008, Spirit Airlines began service to Fort Lauderdale but terminated the route in March 2009. In 2011, Vision Airlines launched service to Destin, Florida, though it terminated the route after only a month.
The airport covers 2,600 acres (1,100 ha) and has two runways: 11/29 is 8,601 x 150 ft (2,622 x 46 m) and 5/23 is 8,001 x 150 ft (2,439 x 46 m). It has a 50 x 50 ft (15 x 15 m) helipad. The center 75 feet of runway 5/23 is asphalt; the edges are grooved concrete.
In 2006 the airport had 98,239 aircraft operations, average 269 per day: 47% air taxi, 38% general aviation, 11% airline and 4% military. 100 aircraft were then based at the airport: 60% single-engine, 25% multi-engine, 14% jet and 1% military.
The terminal opened May 30, 1965 and was renovated in 1997. The renovation was designed by Heyward, Woodrum, Fant & Associates, Ltd. It replaces a terminal built in the early 1950s which was a replacement of a terminal built several years earlier in the early 1950s. Since the late 1980s, capital improvements have been undertaken, including a renovated and expanded terminal, a new parking garage (completed in 2003), the lengthening of the runways, and better interstate access. The terminal has several services, including a gift shop, the Everett Adams Memorial chapel, restaurants and bars inside the terminal. Free wireless internet service is provided throughout the airport as well as small number of recharge stations with access to outlets.
Police and Fire/Rescue services are provided by the Columbia Metro Airport Department of Public Safety. Public safety officers are South Carolina Police Academy Class 1 officers, and South Carolina Fire Academy IFSAC Firefighter II, and Airport Firefighter. Some have Basic EMT Certifications. The Department has Three ARFF units, One RIV unit, One Fire Pumper, and a Service Truck. Law Enforcement is covered by four patrol vehicles. The Department provides fire services at the FAR 139 level only. Structural firefighting is handled by Lexington County Fire Service.
Airlines and destinations
Passenger service is provided by five scheduled airlines, with commercial cargo service being handled by three scheduled airlines and numerous air freight operators. Two fixed-base operators also serve the Metro facility with various charter flights. The airport maintains a newly dedicated air cargo terminal, the Columbia Airport Enterprise Park (CAE Park) and Foreign Trade Zone #127. Columbia Metropolitan Airport recently completed a $45 million terminal expansion and renovation. Annually, the airport serves about 1 million passengers, though prior to the Great Recession, nearly 1.5 million passengers were served.
Scheduled passenger service
Scheduled cargo service
UPS Southeastern Regional Hub
In August 1996, the UPS-owned cargo airline opened an $80 million southeastern regional hub at the airport, one of six regional hubs throughout the United States. The hub offers next-day, second-day and third-day air service. The buildings encompass 352,000 square feet (32,700 m2) and the 44-acre (180,000 m2) ramp is large enough to hold 22 DC-8 aircraft. The hub can process 42,000 packages an hour. Other major air cargo companies serving the airport include ABX Air and FedEx Express.
- A Volpar E18S (N47A) crashed February 26, 1971 while attempting to land at the airport. The aircraft crashed during poor visibility and fog while performing a missed approach killing the pilot and 7 passengers.
- A Beech C90 (N711FC) crashed December 20, 1973 while attempting to land at the airport. The aircraft collided with trees after descending below minimum descent altitude during poor visibility. The pilot and a passenger were killed and another passenger was seriously injured.
- A Learjet 60 (N999LJ) crashed September 19, 2008 while attempting a rejected takeoff on runway 11, but crashed into the hillside across a road beyond the end of the runway. Four people died in the crash, including the two pilots. The sole survivors were musicians Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein.
- The airport's two airplane runways measure 8,000 feet (2,400 m) and 8,600 feet (2,600 m) in length.
- The airport runways can accommodate an airplane of any size, including the Boeing 747 and the military C-5A.
- The airport contains its own police department, fire station, and post office (Air Mail Facility).
- Decorative and semi-natural ponds bordering the sides of the airport terminal can be used by the airport fire department to put out fires.
- The Columbia Metropolitan Airport's two moving sidewalks are each 200 feet (61 m) long, the first in South Carolina.
- The air traffic control tower is 105 feet (32 m) tall.
- More than 1.1 million passengers travel through Columbia Metropolitan Airport each year.
- More than 1,400 people work at the airport.
In popular culture
- An opening scene in the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was shot in the Columbia Metropolitan Airport terminal although it is labeled as "New York Airport."
- FAA Airport Master Record for CAE ( PDF), effective 2007-12-20
- Natural light pours into the Columbia Metropolitan Airport
- http://www.columbiaairport.com/ airport section, history subsection
- http://www.thestate.com/2014/01/17/3213731/columbia-airport-traffic-increased.html Columbia airport traffic increased in 2013
- National Transportation Safety Board. MIA71AM076
- National Transportation Safety Board. MIA74AM049.
- Columbia Metropolitan Airport, official site
- (PDF), effective April 3, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for CAE, effective April 3, 2014
- Resources for this airport: