Greenville Downtown Airport
|Greenville Downtown Airport
(Greenville Municipal Airport)
|IATA: GMU – ICAO: KGMU – FAA LID: GMU|
|Owner||Greenville Airport Commission|
|Serves||Greenville, South Carolina|
|Elevation AMSL||1,048 ft / 319 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Greenville Downtown Airport (IATA: GMU, ICAO: KGMU, FAA LID: GMU) is a public use airport located three nautical miles (6 km) east of the central business district of Greenville, a city in Greenville County, South Carolina, United States. It is owned by the Greenville Airport Commission and located between the commercial corridors of I-385, Laurens Road, Pleasantburg Drive and Haywood Road.
GMU opened in 1928 and was initially named Greenville Municipal Airport. In 1930 it received its first airmail flight; Eastern Airlines began scheduled flights in the late 1930s and Delta Airlines arrived in 1945.
During World War II the United States Army Air Forces used the airfield for training. The airport was used jointly by the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command, Southeast Training Center (later Eastern Flying Training Command) as a contract glider training school, operated by Southern Airways, Inc from 1941 until mid-1943. The airport was then reassigned to Air Technical Service Command and used as a supply and maintenance depot until being returned to full civil control in October 1945.
In 1954 Charles Lindbergh dedicated the new terminal. Until 1962 GMU (then GRL) was the commercial airport for the Greenville area; in April 1957 it had 13 weekday departures on Eastern, four on Delta and four on Southern. Eastern had one nonstop to Richmond, but no other nonstops out of Greenville exceeded 200 miles.
The airport was replaced by the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport which opened October 15, 1962. It was from this airport that the fatal flight of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Convair 240 departed on October 20, 1977. The recently renovated terminal won a national award.
Facilities and aircraft
Greenville Downtown Airport covers an area of 385 acres (156 ha) at an elevation of 1,048 feet (319 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways with asphalt surfaces: 1/19 is 5,393 by 100 feet (1,644 x 30 m) and 10/28 is 3,998 by 80 feet (1,219 x 24 m). It also has two helipads, each with a concrete measuring 50 by 50 feet (15 x 15 m).
The Airport Commission recently completed extensive runway, taxiway, and apron improvements, a major terminal renovation, and construction of a new road that made additional land available for development.
Located at GMU are many companies that provide aviation services like aircraft rental and flight instruction, aircraft maintenance, helicopter services and flight instruction, aircraft management, fuel service, aircraft sales, air charter and air taxi services. See: http://www.greenvilledowntownairport.com/index.html for details.
GMU also has a restaurant, the Runway Cafe. See: http://www.runwaycafegmu.com/ for details.
For the 12-month period ending November 8, 2011, the airport had 63,132 aircraft operations, an average of 172 per day: 65% general aviation, 32% air taxi, and 3% military. At that time there were 215 aircraft based at this airport: 60% single-engine, 28% multi-engine, 8% jet, and 4% helicopter.
The Greenville Downtown Airport is governed by a 5-person appointed Commission authorized by Act 919. Two appointees each from City and County Councils and one at-large serve three year terms.
A recently completed statewide economic impact study for all of South Carolina's airports revealed that the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) has a significant economic impact:
- Total Employment - 453 jobs
- Total Payroll - $13.4 million
- Total Economic Impact = $35.2 million
The report notes that GMU is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina with nearly 80,000 take-offs and landings annually and more than 245 based aircraft. (source: A report prepared for the South Carolina Aeronatuics Commission by Wilbur Smith Associates in May, 2006)
The FAA Southern Region recently selected GMU to receive its General Aviation Airport Safety Award. The award is presented to a general aviation airport in the Southeast that makes outstanding efforts to increase flight safety. GMU accomplished this by completing numerous safety-enhancing projects. Of particular note, GMU was the first general aviation airport in the nation to install an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) in the latter part of 2003. EMAS rapidly and safely decelerates aircraft that have overrun the active runway by utilizing energy absorbing material. In the summer of 2006, this system was credited with saving five passengers and a $20 million Falcon 900 jet that overran Runway 1 due to a brake malfunction.
The FAA Southern Region selected Joe Frasher, Airport Director of GMU, as the 2008 General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year. This award is presented to a general aviation airport manager in the Southeast who makes outstanding efforts to increase flight safety. Mr. Frasher was instrumental in completing numerous safety-enhancing projects at GMU over the last 26 years.
"The staff of the Greenville Downtown Airport is distinguished in its commitment to continually increasing flight safety," said Rusty Chapman, recently retired Manager of the Airports Division, FAA Southern Region. "They accomplished a significant number of safety upgrades while still successfully operating the state's busiest general aviation airport."
The award was presented to Mr. Frasher at the 2009 FAA Communications Conference in Atlanta on January 30, 2009.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
- Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
- Greenville Downtown Airport
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for GMU, effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: