Sacramento International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sacramento International Airport
Sacramento International Airport 1.jpg
Terminal B
SMF is located in California
Location of the Airport in California
Airport type Public
Owner County of Sacramento
Operator Sacramento County Airport System
Serves Sacramento, California
Elevation AMSL 27 ft / 8.2 m
Coordinates 38°41′44″N 121°35′27″W / 38.69556°N 121.59083°W / 38.69556; -121.59083
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16L/34R 8,601 2,622 Concrete
16R/34L 8,600 2,621 Asphalt
Statistics (2012[1])
Passengers 8,910,570
Commercial flights/day 323

Sacramento International Airport (IATA: SMFICAO: KSMFFAA LID: SMF) is a public airport 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Sacramento, in Sacramento County, California. It is run by Sacramento County. Southwest Airlines currently accounts for half the airline passengers. In 2012 the airport handled 8,910,570 passengers, a decrease from 8,929,289 passengers in 2011.


Due to housing growth around Sacramento Executive Airport, the City of Sacramento Planning Department and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors commissioned a study in the 1950s to move airline flights to a less populated area. In 1957 the proposed construction of Sacramento Metropolitan Airport and purchase of nearly 6,000 acres north of downtown Sacramento was considered extravagant, risky, poorly located, and based on unrealistic passenger expectations.

Sacramento International Airport (SMF) opened October 21, 1967 as Sacramento Metropolitan Airport with one 8600-foot runway. Until then the airlines used Sacramento Municipal Airport (SAC), now called Sacramento Executive Airport. The estimate of 750,000 annual passengers soon proved to be conservative as the airport surpassed one million passengers during its first year. Sacramento Metropolitan Airport was the first airport west of the Mississippi built from the ground up for public use.

The airport initially had five airlines: Pacific Air Lines, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), United Airlines, Western Airlines, and West Coast Airlines. For a short time around 1975 PSA tried Lockheed L-1011 TriStars at Sacramento, nonstop to San Francisco and direct to Los Angeles. L-1011 flights were uneconomical and PSA soon replaced the L-1011 with smaller jets such as the Boeing 727-200.

During the 1980s development included: the in-flight catering facility (1980), an FAA Flight Inspection Field Office (1985), a second air cargo facility (1985), and the east runway (1987). The east runway’s opening was celebrated by the landing of a Concorde SST[citation needed]. America West Airlines, Continental Airlines, Morris Air and American Eagle Airlines joined the original carriers at Sacramento Metropolitan Airport during this time.

In the 1990s the consolidated rental car facility and Terminal A opened in 1999, which was designed by Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects.[2] Meanwhile traffic continued to grow. With the opening of a new terminal building it was renamed Sacramento International Airport, though it did not receive international flights until 2002 when Mexicana started nonstops to Guadalajara. The airport was designated a port of entry on October 5, 2006.[3]

The consolidated rental car terminal, the first of its kind in the nation, gave all rental car customers a single point of access that could be reached on a single shuttle. This innovation streamlined bus operations to reduce congestion at the terminal and improve air quality while enhancing customer service.

The Sacramento County Airport System launched its Web site in April 1997.

Diagram of the airport
Babbage Claim at Terminal A.
Airport's Terminal A.
Inside of the new Terminal B at Sacramento.
Inside of the new Terminal B.
Terminal B of the Airport.
Gates at Terminal B of the airport.
Elevators at Terminal B of the airport.

Southwest Airlines (1991), Alaska Airlines (1993), Horizon Air (1993), and Trans World Airlines (TWA) (1994) were added to the list of carriers at Sacramento. Southwest and Alaska Airlines grew quickly, offsetting the departure of airlines such as American Eagle, Continental and USAir which had acquired PSA.

Airport security procedures were dramatically changed after September 11, 2001. The newly formed Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration were created and sweeping changes were implemented to improve aviation security.

September 11 did not deter growth at Sacramento International Airport. Four airlines were soon added to Sacramento International: Continental returned (2000) and Frontier (2002), Mexicana (2002), Hawaiian (2002), and Aloha Airlines (2003) initiated service. Mexicana’s arrival initiated international nonstop flights and necessitated completion of the International Arrivals Building for federal inspection services.

The Terminal A Parking Garage opened September 23, 2004. The six-story structure had covered parking, a short walk to the terminal and public art (“Flying Gardens” by Dennis Oppenheim and “Flying Carpet” by Seyed Alavi).

In 2006 Sacramento International Airport was one of the first airports in the nation to offer free wireless Internet service (WiFi).

As the nation’s economy was taking a hit in 2008, commercial aviation was challenged by reduced passenger numbers and increasing fuel and other costs. ExpressJet ceased independent operations in 2008, Aloha Airlines ceased operations in 2008 and Mexicana discontinued operations as well. However, prior to the economic downturn, new services began and airliners merged. America West and US Airways merged, Northwest and Delta Merged and United and Continental initiated their merger by the end of 2011. Despite these challenges, Alaska added nonstop flights to Guadalajara(now discontinued), Mexico and Hawaii (Maui) while Aeromexico's (2011) debut reestablished foreign-flag service with daily nonstops to Guadalajara, Mexico. On April 2011 American Eagle started flights to Los Angeles. On June 5, 2008 US Airways began seasonal flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia. In the summer of 2010 Delta Air Lines began seasonal flights to Detroit.

Long dominated by Southwest and United (United Express), the intra-California market was joined in 2011 by American (American Eagle) and Delta (Delta Connection) which fly from Los Angeles International Airport.

Air Canada flew to this airport in 2007–2008 to Vancouver, but ended the route in 2008.

The airport was a focus city for ExpressJet Airlines which independently operated Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets on point-to-point, "hub bypass" routes. ExpressJet then ended all independent flying and refocused its business on code shares for major airlines.

California Pacific Airlines hopes to fly between Sacramento and Carlsbad in southern California in 2013.[4]

Sacramento County has tried (and so far failed) to entice Virgin America into adding a Los Angeles route by giving them 400,000 dollars to operate out of terminal A or 150,000 dollars to operate in terminal B; other airports are trying to entice the airline.[5] American Eagle operated by SkyWest Airlines will begin service to Los Angeles on November 14, 2012. On the same day, the regular American Eagle discontinued service to Los Angeles. On January 6, 2013, Frontier Airlines ended service to Denver.

In 2011 the airport carried an estimated 9 million passengers; it averaged 323 flights a day. Continental Airlines, which later merged with United Airlines, previously had seasonal flights to Newark. Sacramento's seasonal route are operated during the summer and fall.

Between 1990 and 2007 Sacramento International Airport had a high incidence of bird strikes due to its location in an avian migratory route.

Sacramento hosted one of Alaska Airlines' last MD-80 flights, Sacramento to Seattle.

US Airways previously flew to Las Vegas, but ended service after closing its Las Vegas hub.

On July 6, 2013 the airport was one of ten airports that hosted flights diverted from San Francisco International Airport after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed short of the runway. On December 17, 2013, Aeromexico began seasonal service to Del Bajio International Airport.

Airline market share[edit]

The following represents airline market share based on total passenger volume during the 2010 calendar year.[1]

Rank Airline Percent Market Share Total passengers
1 Southwest Airlines 52.5% 4,642,281
2 United Airlines/United Express 10.6% 936,461
3 Delta Air Lines/Delta Connection 8.1% 713,134
4 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air 7.8% 691,336
5 US Airways/US Airways Express 5.1% 452,876
6 American Airlines 4.2% 370,897
7 Continental Airlines 3.6% 320,049
8 Frontier Airlines 3.1% 274,474
9 JetBlue 2.4% 215,158
10 Hawaiian Airlines 1.7% 165,122


Sacramento International Airport covers 6,000 acres[6] (22 km²) and has two runways:

  • 16L/34R: 8,601 x 150 ft. (2,622 x 46 m) Concrete
  • 16R/34L: 8,600 x 150 ft. (2,621 x 46 m) Asphalt

All indoor public areas have free wi-fi (wireless Internet) provided by the Sacramento County Airport System.

Expansion project[edit]

The new Terminal B

On June 7, 2006, plans were announced to replace the aging Terminal B with a brand new terminal by the year 2012. In 2008, the Sacramento County Airport System broke ground on the largest capital improvement project in the history of the County of Sacramento: “The Big Build”. Designed by Corgan Associates, Inc. in association with Fentress Architects. The landside Terminal was built by the joint venture of Austin Commercial, LP and Walsh Construction. The airside gates and light rail train was built by Turner Construction. The $1.03 billion terminal modernization project replaces the airport's original, aging Terminal B to meet the rising demand for passenger services and improve the airport's ability to attract new carriers and routes. Aeromexico, Alaska/Horizon, American Airlines, Hawaiian, Volaris, and Southwest are located in the new terminal while Delta, United/Continental, JetBlue,[7] and US Airways operate out of Terminal A.

The Central Terminal B complex is three times the size of the original Terminal B with the two parts of the complex – airside and landside – connected by an automated people mover.

Airport officials held a press conference on July 15, 2011 at the California State Fair, announcing the terminal will open on October 6, 2011. This is many months ahead of schedule from the original projected opening in 2012.[8]

The new Central Terminal B became fully operational on October 6, 2011. Salvage and deconstruction of the International Arrivals Building and demolition of the original Terminal B is scheduled to begin soon after the opening of the new terminal. The process is anticipated to be completed by May 2012. As of November 2012 the demolition is complete and the airport plans to build the hotel soon.

Public transportation[edit]

Yolobus bus No. 42 connects the airport to downtown Sacramento and the nearby communities of Woodland and Davis. Sacramento Regional Transit will provide a future light rail link to the airport, with revenue service on the Green Line projected to begin in 2017.[9]

Terminals, airlines, and destinations[edit]

The airport has two terminals, terminal A and terminal B. In total the airport has 32 gates, 19 in terminal B and 13 in terminal A. The old terminal B had 14 gates. 8 airlines operate out of Terminal B and 6 airlines operate out of Terminal A.

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aeroméxico Guadalajara
Seasonal: León/Del Bajío, Mexico City
Alaska Airlines Kahului, Seattle/Tacoma B
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Boise, Portland (OR) B
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth B
American Eagle Los Angeles B
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City A
Delta Connection Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma (begins May 4, 2015)[10] A
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu B
JetBlue Airways Long Beach, New York-JFK A
Southwest Airlines Burbank, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Ontario, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland (OR), San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma B
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Washington-Dulles A
United Express Arcata/Eureka (ends December 3, 2014), Crescent City (ends December 3, 2014), Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco A
US Airways Phoenix
Seasonal: Charlotte, Philadelphia
Volaris Guadalajara B

Top destinations[edit]

Southwest Airlines jet on the tarmac of Sacramento international Airport outside Gate 18 of Terminal B. Destination - Las Vegas, Nevada in 2014
Busiest domestic routes from Sacramento (Aug 2013 - July 2014)[11]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Los Angeles 434,000 American Eagle, Delta Connection, Southwest Airlines, United Express
2 Phoenix 381,000 Southwest Airlines, US Airways
3 San Diego 328,000 Southwest Airlines
4 Las Vegas 307,000 Southwest Airlines
5 Seattle 303,000 Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines
6 Denver 294,000 Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, United Express
7 Portland 243,000 Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines
8 Orange County 238,000 Southwest Airlines
9 Ontario 210,000 Southwest Airlines
10 Burbank 202,000 Southwest Airlines

Enplanement history[edit]

Passengers (All Carriers – Sacramento, CA: Sacramento International (Origin Airport)) for 2009 year

Month Domestic International Total
1 312,551 4,652 317,203
2 303,862 3,619 307,481
3 360,373 3,797 364,170
4 375,776 4,562 380,338
5 382,853 3,123 385,976
6 420,856 5,814 426,670
7 412,548 6,336 418,884
8 388,433 4,732 393,165
9 358,921 2,834 361,755
10 376,991 4,949 381,940
11 347,749 4,573 352,322
12 359,967 5,946 365,913
Total 4,400,880 54,937 4,455,817

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On the morning of Monday, September 25, 1978, a Boeing 727-200 operating flight PSA Flight 182 on the Sacramento-Los Angeles-San Diego Route collided in mid-air with a Cessna 172 while attempting to land at San Diego Airport. The two aircraft collided over San Diego's North Park, killing all 135 people on Flight 182 and the two people on the Cessna, along with 7 people on the ground. Before American Airlines flight 191 went down months later, it was the deadliest disaster in U.S history and is still the deadliest plane disaster in California history.

On the afternoon of Thursday, August 26, 2010, JetBlue Airbus A320 Flight 262 arriving from Long Beach, CA blew four tires upon landing, creating a fire around the plane and causing passengers to evacuate. Out of the 87 passengers and five crew, 15 sustained injuries, although none of them were particularly serious. Five passengers were hospitalized, but none were killed. A JetBlue spokesman said that the flight reported an issue with the brakes.[12]

On April 1, 2011, Southwest Airlines Flight 812 from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Sacramento International Airport operated with a Boeing 737-300 aircraft registered N632SW, was forced to declare an emergency and divert to Yuma International Airport after a sudden loss of air pressure blew a hole in top of the fuselage. The aircraft landed approximately 40 minutes after takeoff from Phoenix.[13]

At approximately 6:30 PM on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, Seattle-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 2287 aborted take-off due to two blown-out tires. Although the plane reportedly made a hard landing, all 130 passengers aboard survived.[14]

Shortly before 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, a pilot on an in-bound FedEx Express McDonnell Douglas MD-10-30 noticed a possible engine fire on one of the engines, with smoke showing. The aircraft declared an emergency and landed successfully. Emergency ground crews reported to the incident and determined that the on-board extinguishers had successfully extinguished the fire. Maintenance crews determined the aircraft could safely be towed to the cargo ramp for inspection and repairs.


  1. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Sacramento International Airport Terminal A – Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects". Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ Turner, Melanie (October 6, 2006). "Sacramento International Named Official Port of Entry". Sacramento Business Journal. 
  4. ^ "California Pacific Airlines Destinations". Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ Turner, Melanie (April 10, 2012). "Sacramento County Approves Incentives to Land Virgin America at Airport". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ "History". Sacramento County Airport System. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Turner, Melanie (July 15, 2011). "New Sacramento Airport Terminal to Open in Fall". Retrieved July 15, 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Sacramento, CA: Sacramento International (SMF)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. January 17, 2013. Retrieved Oct 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ "Six Foot Hole Opens in 737 During Flight". KING. Associated Press. April 1, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Passengers on Seattle-bound flight tell of scary aborted takeoff in Sacramento". KCPQ. December 27, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 

External links[edit]