Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport

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Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport
Patrick Henry Field
Newport News Williamsburg International Airport.svg
IATA: PHFICAO: KPHFFAA LID: PHF
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner The Peninsula Airport Commission
Serves Virginia Peninsula
Location Newport News, Virginia
Hub for People Express Airlines
Elevation AMSL 43 ft / 13 m
Coordinates 37°07′55″N 76°29′35″W / 37.13194°N 76.49306°W / 37.13194; -76.49306Coordinates: 37°07′55″N 76°29′35″W / 37.13194°N 76.49306°W / 37.13194; -76.49306
Website www.flyphf.com
Map
PHF is located in Virginia
PHF
PHF
Location of airport in Virginia
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
7/25 8,003 2,439 Concrete
2/20 6,526 1,989 Concrete

Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (IATA: PHFICAO: KPHFFAA LID: PHF) is an airport located in Newport News, Virginia, and serves the Hampton Roads metropolitan area along with Norfolk International Airport in Norfolk. The airport is owned and operated by the Peninsula Airport Commission, which is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In February 2012, plans were announced to headquarters a new airline called PEOPLExpress at the airport.[1] Michael Morisi, PEOPLExpress president, was quoted as saying that the airline expects to replace many of the routes that disappeared with AirTran's departure, with the new airline's operations to begin in 2013. Service started on June 30th, 2014 after a series of delays.

History[edit]

In 1946, Virginia's General Assembly passed legislation creating the Peninsula Airport Commission (PAC) to determine a location for and establish a new commercial airport to serve the cities of Newport News, Hampton, and Warwick. An agreement was reached with the US War Asset Administration in 1947 to transfer 924 acres (3.7 km²) of the former Camp Patrick Henry, a World War II US Army base, to the PAC as the site for the new airport. A Nike missile air defense base, known as N-85, still exists on the property, though abandoned since the mid-1960s.

The airport was originally named Patrick Henry Airport. It was assigned the designator PHF, representing Patrick Henry Field. The first runway built was Runway 2–20, a 3,500-foot (1,100 m) runway, followed by Runway 6–24 (later redesignated as Runway 7–25). Commercial airline service began in November 1949. The airport was serviced by Piedmont Airlines and Capital Airlines.

In 1951, the original passenger terminal was damaged by a fire. An upgraded traffic control tower was constructed and began operation and Runway 6–24 was extended to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) for larger four-engine aircraft during 1952. A new passenger terminal was opened in 1955.

Between 1952 and the 1970, three other airlines United Airlines, National Airlines, and Allegheny Airlines (later USAir) extended service to the airport. Both runways were extended during this period to their current lengths of 6526 feet (1989 m) Runway 2–20, and 8003 feet (2439 m) Runway 7–25. The airport was renamed "Patrick Henry International Airport" in 1975. A US Customs facility was added to the passenger terminal building to allow international flights (both commercial and corporate) access to the airfield. The airport now consists of 1,800 acres (7.3 km2), with most of it in the city of Newport News and nearly half of the airfield with runways 20 and 25 in York County.

When the United States Congress deregulated the airlines in 1978, many airlines serving Patrick Henry Airport consolidated their southeast Virginia services at other area airports. This resulted in Patrick Henry International Airport losing all jet services. By 1979 the airport only offered small commuter flights to very few destinations. The airport had the distinction of leading the nation in air service decline after deregulation and was facing severe financial difficulty.[2]

The turn around began with the hiring of Charles J. Blankenship as Executive Director in 1984.[3] Blankenship implemented a strategic plan of developing a business park named Patrick Henry Commerce Center[4] and a marketing campaign to attract air carriers.[5] By 1985 the airport had the distinction of being America's fasted growing airport. That success was repeated in 1986.[6]

On December 19, 1980, the Daily Press reported a committee authorized by the PAC recommended that the airport change its name to "Newport News/Williamsburg International" to then-Executive Director Michael White. This change would not take place until ten full years later. At the time, the Commission members represented the cities of Newport News, Hampton, and Williamsburg, as well as James City County and York County. Since 2010, the Commission consists of six commissioners who are appointed by the cities of Hampton (2) and Newport News (4).

In 1985, USAir added large jet services from Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. These jet services were pulled in 1995. US Airways Express now serves Philadelphia and Charlotte from the airport. AirTran Airways started service from the airport to Atlanta in 1995, but ended service in March 2012. Delta Connection began service from Newport News to Atlanta in February 2002.

The PAC renamed the facility Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in September 1990. A new terminal was opened in late 1992.

Until the 1990s, part of the original terminal building was named Flight Services Building, and home to the National Weather Service. Weather reports and emergency alerts were broadcast on radio stations and weather frequencies during severe weather right from the airport.

When the original control tower was shut down in July 2007 with the opening of the state of the art 147 ft (45 m) tall new tower, it had been the oldest operating control tower on the east coast with continuous service for 55 years.

In 2008, the PAC selected Ken R. Spirito to serve as its new Executive Director. Spirito served as Executive Director of Peoria International in Illinois up until his move to Newport News. In 2010, Ted Kitchens was hired as Assistant Director of Planning and Development, having previously served with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International in Georgia.

Expansion (2005–2014)[edit]

Panoramic view of tower, terminal and parking garage

In light of substantial growth, the airport launched an expansion effort in the early 21st century. A new air traffic control tower was completed in July 2007, to replace the one built in 1951. A new three-level parking garage opened in June 2007. In 2009, additional parking lots were completed to handle increased rental car fleets; total parking capacity was estimated at 3,000 vehicles.

The airport has handled more than one million passengers every year since 2005. As of 2011, the airport was the third-fastest growing airport in the United States and the 118th-largest airport. The year 2010 was its best ever, with approximately 1,063,000 passengers. The passenger count was down slightly in 2011, with approximately 1,059,000 passengers.[7] Reports in the Daily Press newspaper indicate the passenger count is down substantially for 2012 after the departure of Air Tran, with layoffs announced in May 2012 including police officers, all police dispatchers and other staff.

In January 2011, Delta Air Lines provided two additional daily flights to Atlanta using 142-seat MD-88 aircraft, for a total of four. Additional service using Airbus A320 aircraft began later in the year. In 2012, Delta upgraded its early morning CRJ-900 flight to a larger DC-9-50.

Frontier Airlines began nonstop service from Newport News in 2010 as the airport was finishing a $23 million renovation. Initial service included four direct flights a week to Denver, Colorado using Airbus A318 128-seat jets but, due to high demand, service was upgraded within weeks to Airbus A319.[8][9]

For 2011, Frontier Airlines increased its service from the airport. Beginning May 13, 2011, Frontier flights used larger Airbus jets, A320s, with a capacity of 162. However, as of September 12, 2011, Frontier began providing service to the airport seasonally. On February 4, 2012, PAC announced that Frontier will resume year-round service at the airport, and will operate seven days per week beginning May 22 through Labor Day. After Labor Day, Frontier will operate flights six days per week.

Concourse A opened in May 2010 as the airport's second concourse. Concourse A is designed for a full-service customs facility and larger-size international jets. A local contractor donated $50,000 worth of labor and materials to expand the airport's USO office in 2010, doubling it in size to better serve military personnel who fly through the airport.

In February 2012, PEOPLExpress Airlines announced plans to fly out of the airport to several destinations. The airline will be headquartered in Newport News and fly to several destinations, including several weekly flights to Pittsburgh and Newark. With flights as far south as Florida, and as far west as St. Louis.[10] The airline plans to operate Boeing 737–400 aircraft, and has acquired an operating certificate from Xtra Airways in 2013.[11] As of 2014, the airline plans to commence operations on a month-to-month basis. Also, as of 2014, the airline plans to replace the service lost to the area when AirTran Airways pulled out of the airport.[12]

The airport is home to three Fixed Base operators: Rick Aviation, Atlantic Aviation and Orion Air Group, which is now Tempus Jets. In January 2013, Mid Atlantic Aviation also located at the airport, as well as Epix Aviation. Rick and Atlantic provide flight instruction schools, and jet fuel services to private and commercial airplanes. Atlantic Aviation handles international chartered flights. Rick Aviation continues to operate inside the original passenger terminal, sharing space with Denbigh High School's Aviation Academy (serving over 350 high school students). As Orion Air Group opened a new world headquarters 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) facility which will employ 100 people; they are already planning an additional 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) expansion. Additionally, in 2011 Tidewater Flight Center opened a second location at the airport, providing flight instruction from the original terminal building. Also sharing the original terminal building is a local squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, which maintains several CAP airplanes at the airport.

Newport News–Williamsburg is also the first airport in the nation to undergo a sustainability project, to incorporate green technology in every facet of operations.[citation needed]

Currently,[when?] Concourse A is undergoing upgrades and expansions to add a Federal Inspection Station and US Customs processing facility. With the launch of Apple Vacations offering direct flights to Cancun, Mexico, Newport News/Williamsburg is the only true international airport in Hampton Roads, as Norfolk does not offer direct international flights.

On June 30, 2014, People Express Airlines began operations at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport with two daily flights to Newark, and one daily flight to Boston and Pittsburgh, each. West Palm Beach will be added with one daily flight on July 15. Daily service (except Tuesday) will be added to Atlanta on August 1. Three weekly flights to St. Petersburg and New Orleans, each, will begin on August 28. People Express will utilize two gates on Concourse A.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Apple Vacations operated by Frontier Airlines Seasonal: Cancún A
Delta Connection Atlanta B
Frontier Airlines Denver B
People Express Airlines Atlanta, Boston, New Orleans (begins August 28, 2014), Newark, Pittsburgh, St. Petersburg/Clearwater (begins August 28, 2014), West Palm Beach [13] A
US Airways Express Charlotte, Philadelphia B

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is served by various taxi companies, including Orange, American, Yellow, Best, and All City. Also, HRT (Hampton Roads Transit) directly serves the airport with regional bus service at two bus stops; the airport is on HRT Route 111 and is the only Hampton Roads airport with direct bus service. Shuttle and Limousine companies also service the airport through pre-arranged appointments. Five car rental agencies can be found at the airport: Hertz, National, Enterprise, Avis and Budget.[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]