Long Island MacArthur Airport
|Long Island MacArthur Airport|
|Entrance sign to the airport|
|IATA: ISP – ICAO: KISP – FAA LID: ISP
|Owner/Operator||Town of Islip, New York|
|Serves||Long Island, New York metro area|
|Location||100 Arrival Avenue
Ronkonkoma, New York
|Elevation AMSL||99 ft / 30 m|
|Statistics (2005, 2010)|
|Aircraft operations (2005)||173,346|
|Based aircraft (2005)||302|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Long Island MacArthur Airport (formerly Islip Airport) (IATA: ISP, ICAO: KISP, FAA LID: ISP) is a public airport on Long Island, in Ronkonkoma, Town of Islip, Suffolk County, New York. It is about two miles (3 km) south of Ronkonkoma Lake and shuttles connect the airport to the Ronkonkoma railroad station. Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA) covers 1,311 acres (531 ha) and has four runways and two helipads. The Town owns and operates the airport, which serves about two million commercial passengers a year, as well as general aviation.
Located between Montauk Point 67 miles (108 km) to the east and Manhattan 44 miles (71 km) to the west, MacArthur Airport serves the three million residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties and travelers who want an alternative to the congestion at JFK and LaGuardia airports – both in Queens.
The FAA designated LIMA an Official Metro Airport in early 2011, meaning it is now grouped with LaGuardia, JFK and Newark in travel and informational searches for New York airports, providing better exposure to the traveling public. MacArthur Airport, which does not share the congested air space of the city-centric airports, has an exceptional record of on-time performance. During 2009 83.6% of flights arrived on time and 85.6% of flights departed on time.
During 2007 the airport served more than 2.3 million commercial passengers. In 2007 the airport had 182,142 aircraft operations, an average of 499 per day; 80 percent general aviation; 15 percent scheduled commercial; five percent air taxi and about one percent military. 243 aircraft are based at the airport: 63% single-engine; 10% multi-engine; 19% jet aircraft; seven percent helicopters; and less than one percent military. The Town-owned Foreign Trade Zone is next to airport property.
In April 1942, four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Town of Islip entered into contract with the federal government to build an airfield on Town-owned land for military use during the war. Within months the Civil Aeronautics Administration – predecessor to today's Federal Aviation Administration – funded construction of three paved runways. Originally named Islip Airport, at the suggestion of Charles H. Duryea, a local elected official, the airport was renamed MacArthur Airport, after General Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army.
In 1944 Lockheed Aircraft Corporation built the first hangar at the airport. Five years later the Town built the airport's first terminal building preparing the way for commercial service. Through the 1950s the Sperry Corporation conducted aerospace research at the airport.
In 1960, Allegheny Airlines (AL) was the first commercial airline to offer scheduled flights from the field to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. The March 1961 Official Airline Guide shows five weekday Convair departures: a nonstop to Washington National, one to Baltimore, and three flights making two or three stops to Boston. The General Douglas MacArthur Terminal was completed in 1966; in 1967 Mohawk started two FH227 flights a day to Bridgeport and Albany and beyond (one continued to Toronto). In 1971 American Airlines began non-stop flights to Chicago.
In the 50 years since Long Island MacArthur Airport began scheduled flights the airport has become a transportation hub and economic engine of the region. Several airlines have discontinued service over the years, but between 1999 and 2009 passenger traffic grew with the airport now serving about two million passengers a year on its two carriers: Southwest Airlines and US Airways Express.
Continental Express and Continental Connection had non-stop flights to Albany and to Cleveland but ended them in 2005. Spirit Airlines scheduled flights to several Florida cities and Detroit, before they moved their New York business to LaGuardia Airport in 2001; in May 2008 the airline resumed service to Fort Lauderdale from MacArthur only to drop it shortly thereafter. Delta Express, which had nonstops to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, dropped MacArthur Airport in 2003 after a decline in traffic. Delta Connection to Atlanta ended on May 1, 2008 following a mid-April announcement that Delta and Northwest Airlines were planning to merge – a move that led to changes for the merged airline.
As of June 2012 Southwest Airlines has non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. It also has flights to Baltimore, which offers connections throughout the Southwest system. The only legacy carrier at the airport is US Airways Express to Philadelphia and Washington-Reagan. The latter began on March 25, 2012.
Passenger enplanements and operations
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks MacArthur Airport saw a 25 percent drop in passenger traffic but rebounded until 2006 when numbers began to drop again. Charts depicting annual operations and passenger enplanements are in appendix C and D. In the year 2005 MacArthur Airport had 173,135 total operations; during this year 1,055,832 passenger were enplaned, 7.07 percent more than 2004. In 2006 MacArthur had 189,390 total operations with 1,138,061 passenger enplanements. The year 2007 brought total operations at MacArthur down to 184,760 but passenger enplanements increased to 1,167,515, MacArthur's highest enplanements in the last 6 years. In 2008, total operations at MacArthur were 179,230 and passenger enplanements were down to 1,048,768; in 2009, 159,736 total operations and 929,902 passenger enplanements. From 2005 to 2009 almost every category of MacArthur's operations has declined: airline, military, air taxi, and general aviation.
Growth and expansion in the 21st century
Established approximately midway through the 20th century, by the end of the century MacArthur Airport had been completely transformed and continues to grow and expand today.
In 2004 MacArthur Airport embarked on an expansion that included a Southwest Airlines terminal built by the airline at a cost of $65 million. Phase one of the expansion included four gates to be used by Southwest Airlines, as well as space for shops and restaurants. Phase two, completed in November 2006, added four more gates for a total of eight new gates. Prior to the expansion project, passengers had to pass back through the ticketing area of the airport to reach the baggage claim area. With completion of Phase two, the new concourse provided a more convenient exit point to baggage claim, ground transportation and the airport's roadway exit.
A major proponent of the airport's 2004–2006 expansion projects was Peter J. McGowan, then the Islip Town Supervisor; the new concourse was named after McGowan. When in March 2006 he resigned, the terminal was renamed Veterans Memorial Concourse in homage to Long Island's distinction as home to more military veterans than almost any other community in the United States.
While no further expansion is planned for the interior of the terminal building, other projects are underway. A new control tower was completed in 2010 and opened in 2011 to replace the outdated tower built in the early sixties. In 2010 a new state-of-the-art Fuel Farm will increase the airport's jet fuel supply. The airport has plans to reconfigure the roadway in front of the terminal; another taxiway is planned along with other airfield projects using FAA airport improvement program funds. Development of the airport's West Side, home to a thriving general aviation sector, will get underway in late 2010.
While the airport continues to expand it has added numerous amenities, including free courtesy cell phone parking (located in the rear of Lot 6B). In November 2009 MacArthur Airport became the only airport in the Tri-state region to offer free wireless in the entire terminal and in the courtesy cell phone parking lot. In addition, the airport launched several tools designed to provide up-to-date information to travelers, including: the airport's first official Website – www.flyLIMA.com; a radio frequency (1630 AM); as well as social media outlets Facebook and Twitter. All passenger food catering within the airport terminal is provided by HMSHost, which operates five restaurants. For passengers traveling with small dogs, the airport created a pet relief area just outside the baggage claim area.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines schedule flights to MacArthur Airport:
|Allegiant Air||Fort Myers/Punta Gorda (begins December 20, 2013)||B|
|Southwest Airlines||Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach||A|
|US Airways Express
operated by Air Wisconsin
|US Airways Express
operated by Piedmont Airlines
|3||West Palm Beach, FL||87,000||Southwest|
|4||Fort Lauderdale, FL||77,000||Southwest|
|6||Philadelphia, PA||36,000||US Airways|
|7||Washington-Reagan, DC||31,000||US Airways|
|8||Fort Myers, FL||9,000||Southwest|
|10||Las Vegas, NV||2,000||Southwest|
Long Island MacArthur Airport is owned and operated by the Town of Islip. The Department of Aviation is led by the Commissioner of Aviation and Transportation, who works closely with the Town Board to manage and steward the airport. Departments include Airport Operations, Custodial, Fire Rescue, Law Enforcement, Maintenance, and Public Affairs.
Long Island MacArthur Airport's West Side houses numerous general aviation tenants, including three fixed based operators: Sheltair Aviation, ExcelAire, and Mid Island Air, which offer a full range of general aviation services. ATP Flight School is also a tenant of the airport, offering flight training for the area.
The Suffolk County Police (SCPD) Aviation Section has a Law Enforcement and MEDEVAC helicopter based at MacArthur Airport. The base is staffed 24 hours a day by Police Pilots, as well as Flight Paramedics employed by the Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Until the early 1990s, the 2nd Battalion (Attack), 142nd Aviation Regiment of the N.Y. Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division Aviation Brigade, was based at MacArthur Airport, equipped with Bell AH-1F Cobra helicopters. In 2006, the 3rd Battalion (Assault), 126th Aviation Regiment moved its headquarters from Latham, N.Y. to Long Island MacArthur Airport, bringing its Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. In May 2007, following yet another reorganization in which the battalion was re-configured, the unit received its mobilization alert order to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Over the course of their deployment, the unit – which came to be known as Task Force Jester – flew more than 15,000 flight hours. The last of the battalion's troops returned home to Long Island MacArthur Airport in May 2009.
It is also home to Civil Air Patrol's Long Island Group's Suffolk Cadet Sqdn 10. They are headquartered there.
Accidents and Incidents
There has been only one deadly accident at MacArthur Airport: On April 4, 1955, a Douglas DC-6 of United Airlines operating on a pilot test flight bound for LaGuardia Airport lost control soon after take-off and subsequently crashed, killing all three crew members on board.
MacArthur Airport is connected with the nearby Long Island Rail Road station at Ronkonkoma by dedicated shuttles. The LIRR currently offers a discount package for airport passengers, which includes the cost of shuttle service between the train station and airport terminal.
Taxi, rental car, and limousine service is available, too. Five national rental car companies serve the airport. Many hotels in the surrounding area also provide shuttle service to and from the airport, including the Holiday Inn – Long Island Islip Airport located on airport property less than five minutes from the terminal building.
The Hampton Jitney's Westhampton and Montauk lines stop along the Long Island Expressway (Interstate 495) at Exit 60. It is called the Islip Airport Connection, and is a short cab ride away from the airport terminal.
The luxery commuter bus service to NYC, 7BUS, has a local stop minutes from the airport at the Courtyard by Marriot, 5000 Express Dr. S., Ronkonkoma, NY. 7BUS operates 13 trips per day to and from the East Side of NYC from the Marriot. To check schedules and purchase tickets go to 7BUS.com or call 631-725-7777.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
In the 1970 Academy Award-winning film The Out-of-Towners, the airport scene, in which George Kellerman (Jack Lemmon) and his wife Gwen (Sandy Dennis) depart Ohio for New York, was filmed at Long Island MacArthur Airport.
In 2009, Comedy Central filmed promotional commercials for comedian Mike Birbiglia's nationwide tour and television special, I’m in the Future Also.
Scenes for the 2010 FX comedy Louie were filmed at MacArthur Airport. In August 2010, scenes for a documentary about behavioral pharmacologist Victor DeNoble, Addiction, Inc. were also filmed at the airport.
- FAA Airport Master Record for ISP ( PDF), effective July 5, 2007
- Newsday, January 10, 2010, "The Little Airport That Could"
- "About MacAuthur Airport". Town of Islip. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics
- LIMA Administrative Records
- Suffolk County News Archive, April 3, 1942
- Spirit Air considering ISP service to FLL
- Spirit Airlines Attacks Record Fuel Prices
- MacGowan, Carl, "Cablevision wires MacArthur Airport for Internet access", Newsday, 2009-11-24.
- United Airlines crash report at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Long Island MacArthur Airport.|
- The official website of Long Island MacArthur Airport http://www.MacArthurAirport.com
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: