Lake Tahoe Airport
|Lake Tahoe Airport|
|IATA: TVL – ICAO: KTVL – FAA LID: TVL|
|Operator||The City of South Lake Tahoe|
|Location||South Lake Tahoe, California|
|Elevation AMSL||6,264 ft / 1,909.3 m|
Lake Tahoe Airport (IATA: TVL, ICAO: KTVL, FAA LID: TVL) is a public airport three miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe, in El Dorado County, California. This general aviation airport covers 348 acres (141 ha) and has one runway. The airport is sometimes called Tahoe Valley Airport.
This high elevation airport in the Sierra Nevada just south of Lake Tahoe opened in 1959 with a 5900-ft runway. Starting in 1963 it had a few airline flights: the first were Paradise Airlines Lockheed L-049 Constellations. Paradise ceased operations after a fatal accident in the mountains near Lake Tahoe and Pacific Air Lines arrived in 1964 with Fairchild F-27 turboprops. In 1966 Pacific started flying Boeing 727-100 service on a Los Angeles (LAX)-San Jose (SJC)-Lake Tahoe (TVL) roundtrip routing. However, this flight lasted less than a year, and Tahoe did not receive scheduled jet service again until 1983. Following the short lived Pacific 727 service, the airport banned all scheduled flights operated with jet aircraft. Thus, airlines then had to rely on turboprop powered aircraft in order to serve Lake Tahoe. The successors to Pacific Air Lines, Air West and Hughes Airwest, continued to serve the airport with Fairchild F-27 turboprops before finally ceasing all service in the early 1970s.
Holiday Airlines Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops served Lake Tahoe in the 1960s and early 1970s, followed by Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) and Air California (later AirCal) Electras. PSA retired their Electras and dropped Lake Tahoe in 1979 and Air California ended their Electra flights a few months later. The replacements were Aspen Airways and Cal Sierra Airlines both flying Convair 580 turboprops, and Golden Gate Airlines and Golden West Airlines both operating de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 STOL turboprops. Pacific Coast Airlines (formerly Apollo Airways) served the airport with Handley Page Jetstreams while Gulf Air Transport operated nonscheduled gambling charters with Electras. Another turboprop operator was Royal American Airways with the Vickers Viscount.
The ban on airline jets then ended, and jet flights resumed in 1983 on AirCal McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and later Boeing 737-300s. AirCal flew nonstop to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, CA and direct to Burbank and Orange County. In 1987 an AirCal 737-300 daily flight was scheduled direct to Chicago O'Hare Airport via San Francisco and Orange County. American Airlines acquired AirCal in 1987 and continued to serve Lake Tahoe with the former AirCal 737-300s but soon switched to regional partner American Eagle with Saab 340 and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner turboprops into the 1990s. American was the only major airline ever to serve Lake Tahoe. At one point Reno Air flew McDonnell Douglas MD-80s nonstop to Los Angeles; other jets included British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Elevens operated on nonscheduled casino charters.
In 1999 Casino Express Airlines operating as Tahoe Air started low fare Boeing 737-200s nonstop to San Jose and Los Angeles (LAX). Allegiant Air flew Douglas DC-9 nonstops to Burbank, Fresno and Las Vegas around that time; however, the airport apparently could not support two jet airlines and Tahoe Air continued their flights while Allegiant ceased serving the airport. Tahoe Air then experienced financial problems and ceased operations later that year. Lake Tahoe has not had scheduled passenger flights since.
Airlines in bold flew jets to Lake Tahoe. All of the following destinatiions were served nonstop or direct with no change in plane:
- Air California / AirCal: Burbank, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orange County, San Francisco, San Jose
- Allegiant Air: Burbank, Fresno, Las Vegas
- Alpha Air (TWA Express code share with Beechcraft 1900Cs): Los Angeles, Mammoth Lakes, Orange County, Palm Springs, San Francisco
- American Airlines: San Francisco, San Jose
- American Eagle (Wings West Airlines): Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose
- Aspen Airways: Burbank, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose
- Cal Sierra Airlines: San Diego
- Golden Gate Airlines: Reno, San Francisco
- Golden West Airlines: Los Angeles, Ontario, Orange County, San Diego
- Great Sierra Airlines: Oakland, San Jose
- Hawthorne Nevada Airlines: Hawthorne, NV
- Holiday Airlines: Burbank, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose
- Pacific Air Lines / Air West / Hughes Airwest: Los Angeles, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and other California cities
- Pacific Coast Airlines: San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara
- Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA): Burbank, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Ontario, San Diego, San Francisco
- Paradise Airlines: Oakland, San Jose
- Reno Air: Los Angeles
- Royal American Airways: Las Vegas, Oakland
- Tahoe Air: Los Angeles, San Jose
- Yosemite Airlines: San Francisco
- timetableimages.com, Nov. 1982 Royal American Airways system timetable
- Lake Tahoe Airport (its web site)
- FAA Airport Master Record for TVL ( PDF)
- Departed Flights (old airline timetables)
- (PDF), effective July 24, 2014
- Resources for this airport:
- Airport information for KTVL at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.