Lehigh Valley International Airport
|Lehigh Valley International Airport|
|Aerial photo of Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), 2005|
|IATA: ABE – ICAO: KABE – FAA LID: ABE|
|Owner/Operator||Lehigh–Northampton Airport Authority|
|Elevation AMSL||393 ft / 120 m|
|Sources: airport website and FAA|
Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE, ICAO: KABE, FAA LID: ABE) (formerly Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton International Airport) is a public airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. It is 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown, in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, the third most populated metropolitan region in the state (after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).
It is owned and operated by the Lehigh–Northampton Airport Authority. In 2012, 723,556 people used the airport. For 2012 the FAA has categorized ABE airport as a "nonhub" which is an airport having more than 10,000 but less than 0.05% of the annual passenger boardings of all the commercial service airports in the USA. In previous years the FAA called the airport a "small hub". The airport is a usual stopover for aircraft.
The airport has had competition from Philadelphia International Airport (75 driving miles) and Newark Liberty International Airport (80 driving miles), which have more flights and sometimes lower fares. This was exacerbated by the completion of the Pennsylvania extension of Interstate 78 in 1990, allowing a faster drive to Newark; and the opening of Interstate 476 in 1991 made it easier to reach Interstate 95 near Philadelphia. Competition increased in 2013: Frontier Airlines is starting non-stops to ten cities from nearby Trenton-Mercer Airport.
Lehigh Valley International Airport opened in 1929 and is one of the very few in the nation that serves its community from its original location. Scheduled airline flights began on September 16, 1935 by United Airlines Boeing 247s. The airport hangar served as the passenger terminal; the first terminal building at the airport was built in 1938 as a Works Projects Administration (WPA) project.
During World War II the U. S. Navy V-5 flight training program was conducted at the airport in conjunction with ground training held at Muhlenberg College. In addition, Headquarters of Group 312 of the Civil Air Patrol was at Allentown–Bethlehem Airport. One of its activities was to provide a courier service for cargo defense plants. Allentown CAP pilots also patrolled the Atlantic coastline, and was active in recruiting young men for the air cadet program of the Army Air Force.
By January 1944 work on a new runway was completed and a Class A United States Weather Bureau station had been installed. About 1,000 Naval Aviation Cadets had been trained during 1943, and a large increase in the amount of civilian and military air traffic had occurred. In late July, the War Production Board approved the construction of a second story addition to the administration building. The building housed the Lehigh Aircraft Company, the weather bureau station, the Civil Aeronautic communications station, and the office and waiting room of United Air Lines. In August, the V-5 flight training program ended when the Navy decided to move all flight training to naval air bases under Navy pilots.
In April 1946 the Lehigh Airport Authority was created to own and manage the airport. The October 1946 C&GS diagram shows four runways forming an asterisk: runway 1 was 2680 ft long, 6 was 4000 ft, 9 was 3800 ft and 14 was 3100 ft.
A new passenger terminal began construction in 1948 and was finished in 1950. Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton (ABE) airport, as it was now called, had flights on United, Trans World Airlines since 1947, and Colonial Airlines since 1949–50. DC-4s and DC-6s appeared with the addition of a 5,000 ft runway. TWA left in 1967, replaced by Allegheny; Colonial's successor Eastern remained until 1991. Republic DC-9 nonstop flights to Detroit started in 1986; regional partners replaced successor Northwest around 2003, as United's nonstop flights to Chicago had likewise been replaced around 2001. Delta started nonstop flights to Atlanta in 1991 and its partner took over in 2002.
Construction began on the present terminal in 1973 and the project, designed by Wallace & Watson, was completed in 1976.
The most recent Terminal Renovations were done in two phases.
- Phase I (April 2009). Cost: $7,253,235; PENNDOT grant amount: $3,000,000; general contractor: Lobar, Inc. (Dillsburg, PA); architect: Breslin, Ridyard, Fadero Architects (Allentown, PA); square footage of the Phase I project: 24,000 sq.ft., 7,000 sq.ft. of which is new space.
- Phase II (November 2010). Cost: about $7,225,000; PENNDOT grant amount: $3,500,000; general contractor: E.R. Stuebner Construction, Inc. (Reading, PA); architect: Breslin, Ridyard, Fadero Architects (Allentown, PA); square footage of renovated space: 33,600 sq.ft.
Facilities and aircraft
The airport website says in 2012 the airport had 100,048 aircraft operations. Itinerant Operations include 30,914 general aviation, 17,241 Regional Airlines, 4,249 Major Airlines and 608 military. 47,036 were by local aircraft.
Dining and shopping
Lehigh Valley International Airport has a number of restaurants: one Subway restaurant, in the airside terminal, a restaurant called the L.A. Cafe in the landside terminal, and a snack bar restaurant by First Class Concessions in the airside terminal. It also has a Hudson News gift shop, in the airside terminal.
Airlines and destinations
Scheduled passenger flights to non-stop destinations:
|Allegiant Air||Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach
|Delta Connection||Seasonal: Atlanta|
|Delta Connection||Atlanta, Detroit|
|US Airways Express||Charlotte, Philadelphia|
Types of aircraft fly in and out of Lehigh Valley International Airport
Allegiant Air - MD-80 or A319
Delta Connection - CRJ-200
United Express - ERJ 145
US Airways Express - DHC Dash 8 ,CRJ-200
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|USAirways Express||1||Charlotte, NC||Charlotte Douglas International (CLT)||45,520|
|Delta Connection||2||Atlanta, GA||Hartsfield–Jackson International (ATL)||45,510|
|Allegiant Air||3||Sanford, FL||Orlando Sanford International (SFB)||44,640|
|United Express||4||Chicago, IL||Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)||37,870|
|Delta Connection||5||Detroit, MI||Detroit Metro Wayne County (DTW)||36,980|
|USAirways Express||6||Philadelphia, PA||Philadelphia International (PHL)||35,810|
|Allegiant Air: Less than daily||7||St. Petersburg, FL||St. Petersburg–Clearwater International (PIE)||23,550|
|Allegiant Air: Seasonal||8||Myrtle Beach, SC||Myrtle Beach International (MYR)||8,140|
|Allegiant Air: Less than daily||9||Punta Gorda, FL||Punta Gorda (PGD)||7,500|
|Not regularly scheduled||10||Newark, NJ||Newark International (EWR)||370|
|FedEx Express||Indianapolis, Memphis
Seasonal: Manchester (NH)
Mainly Boeing 757-200 fly in and out of the airport for FedEx.
The airport has five holding spots for cargo aircraft.
On September 19, 2008, Mesa Airlines Flight 7138, Bombardier CRJ700, was forced to make a high-speed aborted take off and swerve in order to avoid a collision with a Cessna 172 that had yet to exit the runway after landing. There were no fatalities or injuries. 
On November 16, 2008, US Airways Flight 4551, a US Airways Express de Havilland Dash 8 turboprop operated by Piedmont Airlines, took off from Lehigh Valley International Airport at 8:20am heading to Philadelphia International Airport, and then had to make an emergency landing. The flight crew indicated that the front nose gear had not come down, and the plane had to make a flyover over the runway for confirmation. Of 35 passengers and 3 crew, there were no injuries.
On June 27, 2009, Allegiant Air Flight 746, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft made an emergency landing after flames were observed coming from the aircraft's left engine. The flight was bound for Orlando Sanford International Airport. During takeoff one of the aircraft's tires had shredded and a piece was sucked into the engine, causing it to fail and momentarily catch on fire. The airliner landed safely minutes later with no injuries reported.
- Lehigh Valley International Airport, official website
- FAA Airport Master Record for ABE ( PDF), effective June 5, 2008
- "FAA Airport Categories".
- "The A-B-E Airport". Modern Steel Construction (New York: American Institute of Steel Construction) 15 (3): 6–7. 1975. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
- "Lehigh Valley International Airport Files Phase I and II 6102666001". Retrieved December 25, 2012.
- "Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, PA: Lehigh Valley International (ABE)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Dec 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- "Plane makes emergency landing at Lehigh Valley International Airport".
- Allentown 1762–1987 A 225-Year History, Volume Two, 1921–1987. Mahlon H. Hellerich, editor, Lehigh County Historical Society, 1987.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lehigh Valley International Airport.|
- (PDF), effective June 26, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for ABE, effective June 26, 2014
- Resources for this airport: