Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport

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For the airport on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, see Hilton Head Airport.
Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport
Savannah Hilton Head International Airport logo.png
WMO: 72207
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Savannah Airport Commission
Serves Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Elevation AMSL 50 ft / 15 m
Coordinates 32°07′39″N 081°12′08″W / 32.12750°N 81.20222°W / 32.12750; -81.20222Coordinates: 32°07′39″N 081°12′08″W / 32.12750°N 81.20222°W / 32.12750; -81.20222
SAV is located in Georgia (U.S. state)
Location of airport in Georgia
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10/28 9,351 2,850 Concrete
1/19 7,002 2,134 Concrete
Statistics (2012)
Aircraft operations 91,324
Based aircraft 125

Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport[2] (IATA: SAV[3]ICAO: KSAVFAA LID: SAV) is a public and military use airport owned by the City of Savannah and managed by the Savannah Airport Commission. The airport is located seven nautical miles (8 mi, 13 km) northwest of the central business district of Savannah, a city in Chatham County, Georgia, United States.[1] It was formerly known as Savannah International Airport, Travis Field and Chatham Field. The airport is just off Interstate 95, between Savannah and the city of Pooler, Georgia. It is the chief commercial airport for the three-county Savannah metropolitan area, although nearly 40 percent of the airport's total passenger traffic is bound for Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, located approximately 38.5 miles (approx. 42 minutes) away by car.[4][5]

This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings (enplanements) per year.[6] As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 785,251 enplanements in calendar year 2011, a decrease of 1.62% from 798,194 in 2010.[7]

Despite the airport's name, there are currently no scheduled commercial international flights outside the United States from Savannah/Hilton Head. However, U.S. Customs facilities are on the field and the airport is part of a Foreign Trade Zone. As of 2003, Savannah/Hilton Head had 96,816 annual operations (takeoffs and landings) and 887,095 passenger enplanements, making it second only to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as Georgia's busiest commercial airport.[8]

A terminal expansion project was completed in July 2007, adding five departure gates (for a total of fifteen).[4] A$35 million parking garage was completed in October of the same year, which added 1,700 parking spaces and uses an electronic program to alert drivers to the number of available spaces on each garage level.[4]

The Airport is patrolled by the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport Police, who work alongside the TSA to provide airport security.

Savannah/Hilton Head is served by Delta (along with Delta Connection carrier Shuttle America), JetBlue, United Airlines, US Airways, American Eagle and Allegiant Air. An information counter provides local information regarding not only tourist attractions in Savannah and Hilton Head but most other coastal areas of Georgia and southern South Carolina.

The airport serves as world headquarters for Gulfstream Aerospace. The Georgia Air National Guard's 165th Airlift Wing is also based at Savannah/Hilton Head International.


The first Savannah Municipal Airport opened on September 20, 1929 with the inauguration of air service between New York City and Miami by Eastern Air Express. In 1932 a city resolution names the airport Hunter Field. A trolley car was used as the first terminal at Hunter Field in the mid-1930s. In 1940 the U.S. Army Air Corps proposed a complete takeover of Hunter Field if a war started. While the commercial airlines continued to land at Hunter Field, a decision was made to construct a second Municipal Airport in response to the increased military presence.

The City of Savannah acquired a 600 acre tract in the vicinity of Cherokee Hill, one of the highest elevations in the county, and construction of a new airfield commenced under a WPA project. Three runways were constructed running N-S, E-W, and NE-SW; each 3,600 feet long. In 1942, before the completion of this new airfield, the U.S. Army Air Corps found it necessary to take over the new facility and start additional construction to carry out their mission. They named the airfield Chatham Field and it was used until the end of World War II as a bomber base and crew training base for B-24's and fighter aircraft.

In 1948, Chatham Army Airfield was turned over to the Georgia Air National Guard and the airport was renamed Travis Field, in honor of Savannah native Brigadier General. Robert F. Travis, killed in the crash of a B-29 near Fairfield-Suisun AFB, California, and his brother, Colonel William Travis. To accommodate the airlines, Travis Field received a new control tower and an airline terminal in the former base theater.

In 1958, work began on a new airline terminal. In 1962, an additional extension brought the east/west runway's length to 9,000 ft (2,700 m). Jet service by Delta Air Lines began in 1965 using the Douglas DC-9. Grumman Aircraft opened a $7.5 million Gulfstream manufacturing plant at Travis in 1967. In 1991, Delta Air Lines celebrated 50 years of service to Savannah. A new $21 million terminal building was built on the northwest corner of the airport in 1994.

A six-gate terminal built in 1960 was replaced in 1994 by the current facility. Although the airport currently has no direct international flights, it was renamed Savannah International Airport in 1983, then Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in 2003.

In 1992, the airport did have international service with nonstop flights to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico when Key Airlines was operating a passenger hub in Savannah. Key Airlines also operated nonstop mainline jet service to a number of U.S. cities at this time as well from Savannah. According to the Key Airlines system timetable dated October 1, 1992, nonstop services primarily operated with Boeing 727 jetliners were being flown from the airport to Antigua (ANU), Aruba (AUA), Atlanta (ATL), Baltimore (BWI), Boston (BOS), Cancun (CUN), Chicago-Midway Airport (MDW), Cozumel (CZM), Curaçao (CUR), Freeport (FPO), Montego Bay (MBJ), Nassau (NAS), New York-Newark Airport (EWR), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), St. Maarten (SXM) and St. Thomas (STT). In addition to these nonstop flights, one stop direct service was also flown by the airline from Savannah to St. Croix (STX).[9] However, Key Airlines subsequently experienced financial difficulties and then ceased all flights in 1993.

Some 3,680 feet (1,120 m) from the west end of Runway 10 (the main east-west runway) are two concrete grave markers. A runway extension project placed the runway through a small family plot and the graves of the airport property's two original owners. Because the family did not want to remove and relocate the graves, the markers were placed in the asphalt runway.[10]

Runway 10 is thought to be the only airport runway in the United States with marked gravestones in it. Federal law generally prohibits the moving of a grave without the permission of the next of kin. In this case, two graves of the Dotson Family, the earliest grave dating backed to 1857, were encountered during the construction of the runway. Since the next of kin could not be located, the graves were left undisturbed. Two additional graves are located off the runway surface.

The new 275,000 sq. ft. Terminal opened in May 1994 with 8 gates (expandable to 19 gates). The project included new roads, a new aircraft taxiway and parking apron, stormwater ponds, landscaping and a new interchange at I-95 for entry into the Airport (Exit 18-A) at mile marker 104. Total costs for the project was $68.5 million and was completed one month ahead of schedule and underbudget. It was designed by KBJ Architects[11]

Military use[edit]

165th Airlift Wing.png

Also located on the airport is Savannah Air National Guard Base, home to the 165th Airlift Wing (165 AW) of the Georgia Air National Guard. The 165 AW flies the C-130H Hercules tactical airlift aircraft and, as an Air National Guard (ANG) unit, is under the operational claimancy of the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 165 AW, to include the collocated Georgia ANG Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), consists of over 310 full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, and over 700 additional "traditional" part-time air national guardsmen.

Savannah ANGB includes over 145 buildings and 239 acres of leased land in the southeast and northeast quadrants of the airport.[12]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport covers an area of 3,650 acres (1,477 ha) at an elevation of 50 feet (15 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways with concrete surfaces: 10/28 is 9,351 by 150 feet (2,850 x 46 m) and 1/19 is 7,002 by 150 feet (2,134 x 46 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending June 30, 2012, the airport had 91,324 aircraft operations, an average of 250 per day: 51% general aviation, 24% air taxi, 16% scheduled commercial, and 9% military. At that time there were 125 aircraft based at this airport: 63% single-engine, 15% multi-engine, 9% jet, 6% helicopter, and 6% military.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service:

Airlines Destinations
Allegiant Air Seasonal: Akron/Canton (begins May 21, 2015), Cincinnati (begins May 8, 2015), Columbus-Rickenbacker (begins June 4, 2015)
American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Delta Connection Detroit, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia
JetBlue Airways Boston, New York-JFK
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul (begins August 30, 2015)[13]
United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles
US Airways Express Charlotte, Philadelphia


Carrier shares for July 2013 – June 2014[14]
Carrier   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Top domestic destinations (July 2013 – June 2014)[14]
Rank City Airport Passengers
1 Atlanta, GA Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) 346,000
2 Charlotte, NC Charlotte/Douglas International (CLT) 175,000
3 New York, NY New York (JFK) 44,000
4 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 42,000
5 New York, NY LaGuardia (LGA) 42,000
6 Washington, D.C. / Virginia Washington Dulles International (IAD) 40,000
7 Chicago, IL O'Hare International (ORD) 40,000
8 Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia International (PHL) 29,000
9 Washington, D.C. / Virginia Reagan National Airport (DCA) 27,000
10 Newark, NJ Newark Liberty International (EWR) 26,000

Cargo airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air Cargo Carriers for UPS Airlines Columbia (SC)
FedEx Express Memphis
Suburban Air Freight Atlanta, Charleston

Nearby airfields[edit]

Distance Direction Airfield Location
70008000000000000008 miles (13 km) SSE Hunter Army Airfield Savannah, Georgia
700126000000000000026 miles (42 km) SW MidCoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield Fort Stewart near Hinesville, Georgia
700128000000000000028 miles (45 km) NNE Ridgeland Airport Ridgeland, South Carolina
700130000000000000030 miles (48 km) ENE Hilton Head Airport Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
700136000000000000036 miles (58 km) NE Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Beaufort, South Carolina
700138000000000000038 miles (61 km) NE Beaufort County Airport Beaufort, South Carolina
700139000000000000039 miles (63 km) W Claxton-Evans County Airport Claxton, Georgia
700140000000000000040 miles (64 km) NW Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport Statesboro, Georgia
700164000000000000064 miles (103 km) NNE Lowcountry Regional Airport Walterboro, South Carolina
700168000000000000068 miles (109 km) W Vidalia Regional Airport Vidalia, Georgia
700185000000000000085 miles (137 km) NE Charleston International Airport / Joint Base Charleston Charleston, South Carolina

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for SAV (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport, official website
  3. ^ "IATA Airport code Search (SAV: Savannah / Hilton Head)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Savannah/Hilton Head Airport expands, updates," Delta Sky Magazine, December 2007. Accessed March 21, 2008.
  5. ^ Directions from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to 100 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island Mapquest, Accessed March 21, 2008.
  6. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2011" (PDF, 1.7 MB). CY 2011 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Georgia Aviation System Plan Airport Summary Report" Updated Summer 2003, Accessed March 21, 2008.
  9. ^, Key Airlines October 1, 1992 system timetable
  10. ^ "At Peace With the Jets". Savannah Morning News. August 28, 2001. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Aviation". KBJ Architects, Inc. 
  12. ^ "Savannah International Airport". 
  13. ^ "New Service to Savannah and Gulfport/Biloxi". March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "Savannah, GA: Savannah/Hilton Head International (SAV)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), U.S. Department of Transportation. September 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 

External links[edit]