Greater Rochester International Airport

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For the airport in Minnesota, see Rochester International Airport.
Greater Rochester International Airport
Greater Rochester International Airport logo 2012.png
Greater Rochester International Airport May 2007 Aerial View.jpg
ROC is located in New York
Location of the Greater Rochester International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner County of Monroe
Operator Monroe County Airport Authority
Serves Rochester, New York
Elevation AMSL 559 ft / 170 m
Coordinates 43°07′08″N 077°40′21″W / 43.11889°N 77.67250°W / 43.11889; -77.67250
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 8,001 2,439 Concrete
7/25 4,000 1,219 Asphalt
10/28 6,401 1,951 Asphalt
Statistics (2006, 2013)
Aircraft operations (2006) 137,601
Based aircraft (2006) 94
Passengers (2013) 2,419,064
Sources: airport website[1] and FAA,[2] ACI[3]

Greater Rochester International Airport (IATA: ROCICAO: KROCFAA LID: ROC) is three miles (6 km) southwest of downtown Rochester, in Monroe County, New York.[2] It is owned and operated by Monroe County. The largest airline that serves the airport is Delta Air Lines. The airport is home to the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, part of the 42nd Infantry Division.


Early history[edit]

Greater Rochester International Airport began in 1927, with the construction of Hangar No. 1 on a patch of land south of Rochester on Scottsville Road. The airport was then Britton Field. The first scheduled passenger flights between New York City and Rochester were made that year. In 1928, the name was changed to Rochester Municipal Airport and more construction was completed, including improvements to the runways and drainage system, and Hangar No. 2. After the First and Second World Wars the airport saw a period of expansion as passenger volume, frequency of flights, and civilian pilot training increased. A flight training school, with nearly 1,000 students, was created.

On January 1, 1948 Monroe County took possession and control of the airport. The county made numerous improvements, including an instrumental runway 5000 feet long, an extension of the north-south runway from 2,670 ft to 5000 ft, and administration facilities on Brooks Avenue.

1953–1992 Terminal[edit]

A new red-brick, single-level passenger terminal was opened on Brooks Avenue in 1953. It was expanded substantially in 1963, and expanded again in 1978 and 1980. The building had only one floor, until a small second floor was added for administrative offices as part of the 1980 expansion. At this time the airport was "Rochester Monroe County Airport."

After the 1963 expansion gave it its final layout, the terminal had ten gates in two concourses. A small three-gate concourse at the east end served American Airlines, and a longer, angled concourse at the west end served Mohawk Airlines (four gates on the east side) and United Airlines (three gates on the west side).

Jet service began ROC in 1965 on American Airlines Boeing 727s, but the two longest runways, 10–28 (5500 feet) and 1–19 (5,000 feet) were short for jets. In 1967 Monroe County built runway 4–22, initially 7,000 feet and extended in 1969 to 8,002 feet (bypassing the 8,000ft threshold required for CAT III certification). 10–28 is still the crosswind runway. Runway 7–25, 4000 feet long, is used by smaller aircraft.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was talk of building a Rochester-Buffalo airport in southeastern Niagara County, which would have taken over passenger traffic from Rochester-Monroe County and Greater Buffalo International airports. This was never built.

The first jetways were added to gates 1 and 3 by American in 1977. As part of the 1978 expansion, new lounge space was built for Allegheny Airlines (successor to Mohawk) with three jetways. In about 1986 the airline (by then renamed USAir) added a fourth jetway. The 1980 expansion included two new lounge areas for United, each of which had one jetway. In 1987, Piedmont Airlines, which had taken over the United lounge closest to the terminal, added a second jetway to it. In about 1985, USAir built an expansion to the end of the main concourse to house a USAir Club.

The large new low-fare carrier People Express Airlines arrived at the airport in 1985. There was not room for them inside the terminal. A small ticket counter was built in office space in the northwest corner of the terminal, and a wooden peaked-roof shed was built on to house their outbound-baggage area, departure lounge, and baggage claim. No jetway was added. People's effect on fares was dramatic; ROC's enplanements increased 38% in 1985. When Continental Airlines took over People in 1987, they moved operations into the main terminal and shared gate space with American. The shed was removed.

In the mid-1980s, Monroe County Legislator Van Buren N. Hansford, Sr. (R-Pittsford) introduced successful legislation to have the airport's name changed to "Greater Rochester International Airport."

1988–1992 Expansion Project: New Terminal[edit]

ROC's passenger terminal seen from an approaching aircraft in December 2005

The terminal was outgrown by the mid-1980s, and debate began about expanding the airport. In 1985, the administration of Monroe County Executive Lucien A. Morin (R) proposed a complicated terminal expansion that would have had baggage claim carousels across the driveway in a separate building, which tugs would have reached by a tunnel, and passengers would have reached by second-floor bridge corridors.

The County got as far as building temporary parking lots to the west and closing the main parking lots to begin construction on a garage. However, in 1988 the new County Executive, Thomas R. Frey (D) and the County Legislature had doubts about the cost of the project, and it was abandoned without any construction having taken place.

In 1988 Monroe County approved a $109 million plan to replace the terminal with an entirely new two-level facility with a second-level approach road and parking garage. The new facilities were built in stages on the exact site, between 1989 and 1992 and designed by HNTB and built by Wilmorite, Inc.[4] Ticketing and departures are on the second floor, and baggage claim is on the first floor. The County Legislature authorized the creation of a "Monroe County Airport Authority" to issue the bonds for the construction.

This terminal has two angled concourses, each with 11 gates. Gate assignments are listed below. The eastern or B concourse opened in summer 1990. The eastern half of the main terminal opened in 1991. The western half of the main terminal, western or A concourse, and garage, all opened in 1992. A series of temporary prefabricated buildings were used to provide gate space and baggage claim space during the construction.

ROC's ticketing lobby, seen in September 2002

By the end of the 1980s, The New York Air National Guard constructed a small hangar and office facility, and apron space, on the south side of the airport near the control tower. This facility has since been expanded.

2006–2010 Renovations and Additions[edit]

In 2006, Monroe County consolidated the separate security checkpoints at each concourse, to one central security checkpoint. Monroe County argued that this arrangement, although it would close the terminal's large concessions atrium and airfield views to non-passengers, would be more efficient and save money.[5] The county replaced the lost public airfield view with a new viewing area at the west end of the terminal.

In 2008 renovations were undertaken to replace floors, carpets, and seating in the concourses, move explosives-scanning equipment from the ticketing lobby to the outbound baggage room, and replace 't' shaped baggage claim carousels with 360-degree walk-around carousels which receive luggage from belts through the ceiling. By late 2009 these projects were completed.

In January 2009, the airport began work on an extension of the three-story parking garage to the west. By early 2010, that project was completed.


The airport covers 1,136 acres (460 ha) at an elevation of 559 feet (170 m). It has three runways:[2]

  • 4/22: 8,001 x 140 ft. (2,439 x 43 m) Concrete
  • 7/25: 4,000 x 100 ft. (1,219 x 30 m) Asphalt
  • 10/28: 6,401 x 150 ft. (1,951 x 46 m) Asphalt

Runways 4, 22 and 28 have Instrument Landing System (ILS); runway 4 has a Category II Instrument Landing System (ILS)

In 2008 the airport completed two service roads around the end of Runway 28, near Interstate 390, in tunnels. The ground was graded upwards beyond the end of the runway to cover the tunnels. Earlier in the decade, a 500-foot (150 m) overrun area was added to the east (10) end of this runway. An Engineered materials arrestor system (EMAS) of about 200 feet (61 m) was added to this extension. The EMAS consists of soft rubberized concrete into which an overrunning aircraft's wheels can sink, and the aircraft ostensibly be stopped safely before it veers onto the grass.

In 2011 runway 10/28 was expanded to handle the airport's Boeing 717, Boeing 737-300, Boeing 737-700, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 traffic. Runway 4/22 is in debate of an expansion to 9,500 feet (2,900 m).


In 2013 the airport had 91,470 aircraft operations, average 162 per day: 43% general aviation, 34% air taxi, 21% airline and 3% military. 87 aircraft were then based at the airport: 68% single-engine, 17% multi-engine and 15% jet, a decline of 33% since 2006 (down from 137,601 aircraft operations, 376/day average).[6]

Terminals, airlines, and destinations[edit]

The terminal has two passenger concourses: Concourse A (also called Frederick Douglass Concourse) with gates A1-A11, and Concourse B (also known as Susan B. Anthony Concourse) with gates B1,B2, B2A, B3-B10.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

A Boeing 717-200 of AirTran Airways arrives at gate A2 from Baltimore-Washington Airport in June 2009.
A JetBlue Airbus A320 being towed to gate B2
Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Express Toronto-Pearson A
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare A
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Detroit, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia B
JetBlue Airways New York-JFK A
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Orlando
Seasonal: Tampa
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare B
United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Newark, Washington-Dulles B
US Airways Charlotte A
US Airways Express Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National A


Top 10 domestic destinations (July 2013 – June 2014)[7]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago-O'Hare 168,000 American, United
2 Atlanta, Georgia 142,000 Delta
3 New York-JFK 137,000 Delta, JetBlue
4 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 78,000 US Airways
5 Chicago-Midway 74,000 Southwest
6 Baltimore, MD 74,000 Southwest
7 Detroit, MI 69,000 Delta
8 New York-LaGuardia 67,000 Delta
9 Washington, DC (Dulles) 55,000 United
10 Newark, NJ 52,000 United


Two buildings of ROC's USAirports cargo terminal in August 2007

Greater Rochester International Airport has a cargo terminal in the northwest corner of the airfield. The terminal is operated by USAirports. This terminal has three cargo buildings, two hangars, and USAirports' three-story headquarters administrative building. The company was founded in Rochester in the 1980s as Airport Systems and later changed its name to USAirports. The company operates cargo terminals at several airports in the United States.

This cargo terminal handles:

Federal Express (FedEx) operates its own cargo terminal on the southern border of the airport on Scottsville Road. It handles:

General aviation[edit]

The airport has a number of flying clubs. USAirports is the fixed based operation at the airport, it provides lodging, fuel and mechanic support for private planes. It also provides charter jet service and hangars for executive jets.[8]


  • Mohawk Airlines Flight 121 crashed on takeoff July 2, 1963; 7 died and 36 were injured.
  • An Allegheny Airlines BAC-111 similar to the one that crashed at the airport
    Allegheny Airlines Flight 453 crash-landed on July 9, 1978, while arriving from Boston Logan International Airport. The BAC-111 aircraft was carrying 77 people. According to the NTSB report, the flight landed on Runway 28 at too high a speed, but with capability to reject the landing. The pilots chose to continue the landing, the aircraft skidded off the end of the runway, and its landing gear was sheared off by a ditch. There were no fatalities. The aircraft was written off.[9]
  • On September 5, 2014, Socata TBM-700, with the registration N900KN, departed Rochester bound for Naples, Florida, and lost contact with Air Traffic Control. It is believed the pilot suffered from hypoxia. The aircraft crashed north of Jamaica, carrying Larry and Jane Glazer of Rochester, NY. There were no survivors.



External links[edit]