St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport
|St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport|
|USGS 1998 orthophoto|
|IATA: PIE – ICAO: KPIE – FAA LID: PIE|
|Owner||County of Pinellas|
|Serves||St. Petersburg / Clearwater, Florida|
|Focus city for||Allegiant Air|
|Elevation AMSL||11 ft / 3 m|
|Total passengers (2011)||833,068|
|Cargo tonnage (2011)||15,060|
|Sources: FAA, Airport website|
St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE, ICAO: KPIE, FAA LID: PIE) is a public and military use airport owned by and located in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is eight nautical miles (9 mi, 15 km) north of the central business district of St. Petersburg and 6 nautical miles (11 km; 7 mi) southeast of Clearwater. The airport serves both cities and the surrounding Tampa Bay Area.
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. As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 417,223 enplanements in calendar year 2011, an increase of 8.54 percent from 384,394 in 2010.
While most scheduled commercial airline traffic in the Tampa Bay Area uses Tampa International Airport (TPA), ten miles (16 km) to the east, St. Petersburg–Clearwater remains a destination airport for low-cost and charter carriers, notably several from Canada. Once a focus city for Largo based Southeast Airlines, St. Petersburg–Clearwater now serves as a focus city for Las Vegas based carrier Allegiant Air. The airport also serves as the gateway airport to Pinellas County.
Because of its lesser pace of operations, PIE is frequently used instead of TPA as a destination airport by pilots of private planes and executive jets for access to the Tampa Bay Area.
The airport is located on the west shoreline of Tampa Bay, six miles (10 km) north of St. Petersburg, Florida (the "birthplace of commercial air transportation"). Barely a decade after the pioneer flight of the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk in 1903, the first tickets for airline travel were sold by the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line of Tony Jannus to fare-paying passengers. Using a Benoist XIV amphibious aircraft, the inaugural flight took place from a location near the downtown St. Petersburg Pier. Mayor Abram C. Pheil of St. Petersburg and Mae Peabody of Dubuque, Iowa, were the first passengers, flying across the bay to Tampa and, according to a United Press account, reportedly reaching the maximum speed of 75 miles per hour during the flight. Other reports indicate that they reached an altitude of 50 feet (15 m).
This historic event marked the beginning of commercial air transportation anywhere in the world and is commemorated by a replica of the Benoist aircraft and a plaque at the airport terminal baggage claim area. Another replica is displayed at the St. Petersburg Museum of History adjacent to the Pier. Since 1991, the terminal holds the archives of the Florida Aviation Historical Society.
Construction and wartime
Construction of the airport at its present site started in March 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the airport was acquired by the United States Army Air Forces, which used it as a military flight training base assigned to Third Air Force.
The 304th Fighter Squadron, a combat training unit of the 337th Fighter Group based P-40 Warhawks and, later, P-51 Mustangs at Pinellas Army Airfield (as it was then known) for the duration of World War II. Antisubmarine patrols were also flown from the airfield.
To commemorate the airport's vital role during that conflict, a plaque was dedicated at the airport terminal in 1994 by the P-51 Fighter Pilots Association and Brigadier General James H. Howard, who was the only European Theater fighter pilot to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II and later served as the last wartime base commander of Pinellas Army Airfield. A permanent exhibit honoring General Howard is located in the terminal.
After World War II, the Airport property was returned to Pinellas County by the U.S. government to operate as a commercial airport. It was originally called Pinellas International Airport and given the IATA designation, PIE, which it still uses, because PIA was already taken by Peoria International Airport. It was later changed to St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport because, according to airport manager "Bobo" Hayes, tourists didn't know where Pinellas county was.
In the 1950s some airlines provided service to both PIE and TPA, such as Delta Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines, National Airlines and Northwest Airlines. The April 1957 OAG shows 17 airline departures: ten Eastern, six National and one Mackey. Four of those flights were nonstop beyond Florida, including an Eastern DC-4 to Chicago and a 1049G to Pittsburgh.
With the advent of the Jet Age, the airport's runway was extended northward into Tampa Bay and the first commercial jet service to PIE was operated by Northwest. The greatly increased seating capacities of the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, compared to the propeller-driven DC-6 and DC-7, prompted the Civil Aeronautics Board to approve the consolidation of commercial airline service at TPA in the early 1960s. Eastern was the last remaining air carrier at PIE when it terminated service in 1964. In the 1970s Air Florida flew Electras out of PIE; in 1982 Northeastern International started DC-8 nonstops to Islip, and in 1983 PeoplExpress started nonstops to Newark that Continental dropped in 1987. In 1987 American started nonstops to its Raleigh-Durham hub, but by October 1989 PIE again had no scheduled airlines.
In September 2006, Allegiant Air announced significant scheduled service from St. Petersburg–Clearwater to destinations in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Since then, Allegiant has grown its destination count to and from PIE to 21 airports across the Eastern US. In February, the Lansing, MI, service shifted to Grand Rapids, Michigan, with four weekly flights.
Also, the airport recently completed a $9.5 million renovation, including, among other things, expanding the gate sizes, new plumbing, and building loading bridges, as the current system requires all passengers to walk across the tarmac to the gate. These improvement played a significant roll in the airport luring Frontier Airlines to launch flights at the airport.
Locair began regular flights from PIE to The Bahamas on December 18, marking the only nonstop service from the Tampa Bay area to the Bahamas. Locair uses 9- and 19-seat-configured turboprops on the nonstop flights.
Starting fall of 2010, Frontier Airlines will launch service at the airport, shifting its Milwaukee flight from Tampa International Airport. It is reported that the move is in response to the high competition on the Tampa–Milwaukee route from rivals Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. Frontier also plans to launch nonstop service to Omaha in the beginning of 2011.
Facilities and aircraft
St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport covers an area of 1,900 acres (769 ha) at an elevation of 11 feet (3 m) above mean sea level. It has four runways with asphalt surfaces: 18L/36R is 9,730 by 150 feet (2,966 x 46 m) and ILS-equipped, 4/22 is 5,903 by 150 feet (1,799 x 46 m), 9/27 is 5,165 by 150 feet (1,574 x 46 m), and 18R/36L is 4,000 by 75 feet (1,219 x 23 m). Runway 18R/36L is for daylight VFR use only; at night it is used as lighted taxiway.
The airport is home of Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, the largest and busiest U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in the United States, operating HC-130 Hercules and HH-60J Jayhawk aircraft. The U.S. Army Reserve also maintains an Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) at the airport for Companies A and F, 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment and Medical Evacuation Unit, operating UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-operated control tower, the FAA's Central Florida Region Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS)...the busiest AFSS in the United States...and the St. Petersburg VORTAC for airways navigation are also important federal government services at the airport.
Along with scheduled commercial airlines, United Parcel Service, Air Cargo, and General/Corporate Aviation are also major activities. The entire tract of the airport is designated as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and a large Airport Industrial Park developed in the 1980s is a major center of commerce. The airport and its tenants employ over 3,000 people and have an economic benefit of more than $400 million yearly to the Tampa Bay area.
The airport includes a 24-hour airport rescue and fire-fighting (ARFF) department (Index C), facilities, operations, engineering, security, and administrative personnel.
For the 12-month period ending May 31, 2012, the airport had 122,023 aircraft operations, an average of 334 per day: 74% general aviation, 16% military, 6% scheduled commercial, and 5% air taxi. At that time there were 323 aircraft based at this airport: 49% single-engine, 18% multi-engine, 13% helicopter, 12% military, and 9% jet.
Airlines and destinations
St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport has one terminal and thirteen gates: 1–12, and 14.
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|1||Gulfport / Biloxi, MS||Gulfport-Biloxi International (GPT)||27,210|
|2||Knoxville, TN||McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS)||24,520|
|3||Greer, SC||Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP)||24,040|
|4||South Bend, IN||South Bend Regional (SBN)||21,860|
|5||Allentown, PA||Lehigh Valley International (ABE)||20,820|
|6||Fort Wayne, IN||Fort Wayne International (FWA)||20,430|
|7||Peoria, IL||Peoria International (PIA)||20,330|
|8||Huntington, WV / Ashland, KY||Tri-State Airport (HTS)||18,390|
|9||Springfield, MO||Springfield-Branson National (SGF)||17,920|
|10||Lexington, KY||Blue Grass Airport (LEX)||17,680|
|UPS Airlines||Albany (GA), Jacksonville, Louisville, Philadelphia, Columbia|
- Pinellas Army Airfield
- Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater
- List of airports in the Tampa Bay area
- James G. Howes, Airport Director (1980–2000)
- FAA Airport Master Record for PIE ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
- "Fact Sheet 2012" (PDF). St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "IATA Airport Code Search (PIE: St.Pete/Clearwater)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Distance and heading from Clearwater (27°58'25"N 82°45'51"W) to KPIE (27°54'36"N 82°41'15"W)". Great Circle Mapper. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- "Enplanements for CY 2011" (PDF, 1.7 MB). CY 2011 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 9, 2012.
- "Tony Jannus —An Enduring Legacy of Aviation". Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society. Archived from the original on February 4, 2008. Retrieved April 25, 2008.
- McCarthy, Kevin M. (2003), Aviation in Florida, Illustrated by William Trotter (illustrated ed.), Pineapple Press Inc, pp. 159–164, ISBN 9781561642816
- Anderson, Anne W. (2010), Insiders' Guide to the Greater Tampa Bay Area: Including Tampa, St. Petersburg, & Clearwater, Insiders' Guide Series, Globe Pequot, p. 16, ISBN 9780762753475
- 'Other' airport gets facelift, St. Petersburg Times, June 26, 2007.
- "St. Petersburg, FL: St. Petersburg-Clearwater International (PIE)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), U.S. Department of Transportation. September 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "N95C Accident report". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
- Other sources
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport|
- St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport
- St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport real-time ATC feed
- (PDF), effective May 30, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for PIE, effective May 30, 2013
- Resources for this airport: