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 airport for Columbia, South Carolina. The airport lies five miles (8 km) southwest of Columbia's central business district, in Lexington County.
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 and processes more than 168,000 tons of air cargo.
Scheduled passenger service
|American Eagle||Dallas/Fort Worth|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines||New York-LaGuardia|
|Delta Connection operated by ExpressJet||Atlanta|
|Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle Airlines||Atlanta, Detroit, New York-LaGuardia|
|United Express operated by ExpressJet||Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles|
|US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National|
|US Airways Express operated by Piedmont Airlines||Charlotte|
|US Airways Express operated by PSA Airlines||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National|
Scheduled cargo service
|UPS Airlines||Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Ontario, Louisville, Miami, St. Petersburg/Clearwater|
|FedEx Express||Memphis, Indianapolis|
UPS Southeastern Regional Hub
In August 1996, United Parcel Service opened an $80 million Southeastern Regional Hub at the airport. 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.
Facilities and aircraft
Columbia Metropolitan Airport covers an area of 2,600 acres (1,100 ha) which contains two runways: 11/29 measuring 8,601 x 150 ft (2,622 x 46 m) and 5/23 measuring 8,001 x 150 ft (2,439 x 46 m). It also has a 50 x 50 ft (15 x 15 m) helipad. The center 75 feet of runway 5/23 is made of asphalt with the remaining edges built of grooved concrete. 
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2006, the airport had 98,239 aircraft operations, an average of 269 per day: 47% air taxi, 38% general aviation, 11% scheduled commercial and 4% military. At that time there were 100 aircraft based at this airport: 60% single-engine, 25% multi-engine, 14% jet and 1% military.
The Airport hosts several services, including a gift shop, the Everett Adams Memorial chapel,restaurants and bars inside the terminal, and an eatery. Free wireless Internet service is provided throughout the airport as well as small number of recharge stations with access to outlets.
Police/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.
World War II
The airport was constructed 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 beginning on 24 September.
In 1941, the airport came under formal military control and an immediate construction 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 medium bomber aircrews.
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
The current terminal was opened on May 30, 1965 and renovated in 1997. The renovation was designed by Heyward, Woodrum, Fant & Associates, Ltd. It replaces a terminal built in the early 1950s which, itself, is a replacement of a terminal built several years earlier in the early 1950s.
It has also served as the hub for the abortive low-cost carrier Air South and is currently a hub for United Parcel Service. 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.
Delta Air Lines started service to Columbia on its first route after it re-entered passenger service in August 1934. Delta would operate nonstop service from Columbia to Charleston, Asheville, Jacksonville, Augusta, Savannah and New York LaGuardia. Delta introduced DC-9 Jet service to Columbia on March 7, 1966 with Flight 521 from Charleston continuing on to Atlanta. Eastern Airlines provided service to Charlotte, Washington and New York. Piedmont Airlines started service to Columbia from Augusta, Florence, Charlotte in 1962. Southern Airways provided service to Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg. In January 1978 Eastern started Atlanta-Columbia Nonstop service as a result of a route swap with Piedmont Airlines. Piedmont got Eastern's Chicago-Louisville route. Southern Airways terminated service 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 Columbia-Miami Nonstop service in January 1980 but all service was discontinued June 1980 leaving only Eastern and Delta. 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 enter the market with service to Charlotte and Chicago O'Hare. People's Express and Continental came to Columbia in the Mid 80's. Freedom Airlines operated Convair Aircraft to Columbia in 1983.
United Express operated by Atlantic Coast Airlines entered the market May 24, 1999 with service to Washington Dulles and subsequently 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 to the Columbia market after a 9-year absence, this time to have service to Dallas/Ft. Worth as part of an expansion into the Southeast after Delta closed their DFW hub earlier that year. Spirit Airlines tried flying Columbia to Ft. Lauderdale but the route started May 22, 2008 and ended the following March. In 2009 Allegiant Airlines offered low cost service to Orlando-Sanford International Airport and Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, yet the service did not last. They also flew a Columbia-St. Petersburg/Clearwater Fla. route starting in December 2006, but discontinued it early the following February. On October 31, 2010 US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin began non-stop service to New York-LaGuardia International Airport, but wound up discontinuing it as a result of a LaGuardia slot swap with Delta, who went on to offer 2 LaGuardia flights as a result of the slot swap. In mid 2011 Vision Airlines launched a short lived route to Destin, Florida it lasted just over a month before being cut by the airline.
A Volpar E18S (N47A) crashed February 26, 1971 while attempting to land at Columbia Metro. 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 Columbia Metro. 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
- National Transportation Safety Board. MIA71AM076
- National Transportation Safety Board. MIA74AM049.
- Columbia Metropolitan Airport, official site
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for CAE, effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: