Alexandria International Airport (Louisiana)
Alexandria International Airport
England AFB, March 1983
|Elevation AMSL||88 ft / 27 m|
Alexandria International Airport (IATA: AEX, ICAO: KAEX, FAA LID: AEX) is a public use airport located four nautical miles (5 mi, 7 km) west of the central business district of Alexandria, in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, United States. The airport is operated by the England Authority, also known as the England Economic and Industrial Development District, an independent political subdivision of the State of Louisiana. Although international commercial flight operations are not conducted, charter flights for the U.S. military to international destinations are routinely conducted from the airfield with this activity including the transportation of U.S. troops to overseas locations.
This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport. As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 142,223 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 154,736 enplanements in 2009, and 179,129 in 2010.
Alexandria International Airport (AEX) traces its beginnings back to 1939 when it served as an emergency airstrip for Esler Regional Airport, which was about 10 miles northeast of what would become Alexandria International. However, on the eve of World War II, the air strip was taken over by the Department of Defense and named Alexandria Army Air Base. The airbase was used for training pilots and aircrews of fighter and bomber airplanes of the Army Air Force. After World War II ended, the base was placed on standby status in early 1946 and was eventually turned over to the city of Alexandria for use as a municipal airport. With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the base was reactivated as Alexandria Air Force Base in 1950.
On June 23, 1955, Alexandria Army Air Base was renamed England Air Force Base in honor of Lieutenant Colonel John Brooke England, who died on November 17, 1954. John England was the commander of the 389th Bomber Squadron stationed at the base. Lt. Col. John England died while attempting to land in dense fog in France. During his approach, he ran out of fuel and sacrificed himself by steering away from a barracks and into a nearby field, where he crashed and was killed.
At the end of the Cold War, the United States Department of Defense wanted to close many of its military bases including England Air Force Base. The city of Alexandria feared that the economic impact of the airfield closing would devastate the economy, so the city of Alexandria created the England Economic and Industrial Development District (England Authority) to take over the base for the purpose of creating a major air transport resource for the region and the state.
After the application by the England Authority and the recommendation from the FAA, the Department of Defense granted all airside and landside areas to the England Authority. In August 1993, Alexandria International Airport opened for service. And on August 1996, Alexandria International began to receive commercial airline passenger service with flights to and from Atlanta (ATL), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH) and Memphis (MEM), although service to Memphis was subsequently discontinued. Alexandria had previously been served by commercial airline flights operated from Esler Airfield (ESF) located near Pineville, Louisiana.
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Alexandria International Airport has played an important role in moving thousands of military personnel and millions of pounds of cargo in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States military, under a commercial lease with the England Authority, invested nearly $60 million in airfield facilities including the hazardous cargo loading/unloading aprons, a military passenger processing facility, Military Air Cargo Apron and resurfacing Runway 18.
Alexandria International Airport also played an important role in storm recovery efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The airport was designated by the Louisiana Department of Transportation as a disaster relief staging and support area, and also served as a command center location for the coordination of aircraft and supplies as well as acting as a staging location for troops and workers who were involved in the recovery effort.
In February 2004, Air Force One landed at the airport with President George W. Bush on board. This Boeing 747-200B (U.S. Air Force aircraft designation VC-25A) is one of the largest aircraft to have ever visited AEX. President Bill Clinton also landed at the airfield on board Air Force One during his presidency. However, the largest aircraft ever to have landed at the airport appears to be the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy military jet transport operated by the U.S. Air Force.
On November 4, 2010, the Memphis Business Journal reported that Delta Connection, which operates passenger feeder services via a codesharing agreement with Delta Air Lines with regional jets, had ceased service on the Alexandria-Memphis route due to poor performance. This route had previously been flown by Northwest Airlink when Northwest Airlines was operating a connecting hub in Memphis. Delta acquired the Memphis hub when its merger with Northwest was completed and has since consolidated many of the former Memphis routes to its larger Atlanta hub. Alexandria continues to be served on a nonstop basis to and from Atlanta by the Delta Connection.
Facilities and aircraft
Alexandria International Airport covers an area of 3,212 acres (1,300 ha) at an elevation of 89 feet (27 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways: 14/32 is 9,352 by 150 feet (2,850 x 46 m) with a concrete surface; 18/36 is 7,001 by 150 feet (2,134 x 46 m) with an asphalt and concrete surface.
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2018, the airport had 32,953 aircraft operations, an average of 90 per day: 38% general aviation, 34% military, 22% air taxi, and 6% scheduled commercial. 57 aircraft were then based at this airport: 31 single-engine, 3 multi-engine, 11 jet, and 12 helicopter.
The James L. Meyer Terminal is named for the first chairman of the England Airpark Authority. James Meyer, a Rapides Parish native who died in 1998, was a partner in the Alexandria-based civil engineering firm, Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix, and Hixson, and worked to establish the new airport. The terminal was dedicated in 2011, with Meyer's widow, Joy Sumner Meyer (1933–2013), speaking at the ceremony.
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle||Dallas/Fort Worth|
All three airlines serving Alexandria operate either Canadair or Embraer regional jet aircraft. In addition to scheduled passenger airline services, the airport has also handled numerous charters performed by large, widebody passenger aircraft (with an example being the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 jetliner) that were supporting military personnel transportation requirements.
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|1||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)||50,950||Delta|
|2||Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW)||35,100||American|
|3||George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)||23,130||United|
Alexandria International Airport is owned by the England Economic and Industrial Development District (England Authority). Jon Grafton is the Executive Director of the England Authority and Scott Gammel is the Airport Manager.
The England Authority has ten members of the Board of Commissioners. William Barron is the chairman of the board of Commissioners. Brady Baudin is the vice-chairman and Bart Jones is the Secretary/Treasurer. The other members of the Board include: Richard Bushnell, Dennis Frazier, Curman Gains, Scott Linzay, Nacy Stich, and Charlie Weems.
Noise mitigation program
Alexandria International Airport and the England Authority are implementing a Neighborhood Noise Mitigation Program, with funding from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program and the Louisiana Department of Transportation. The Neighborhood Noise Mitigation Program includes residential and other noise sensitive buildings in areas surrounding the Airport. The program was approved by the FAA on August 14, 2007, as part of AEX's Airport Noise Compatibility Program. The Noise Compatibility Program determined that eligible buildings should be prioritized to family residences, institutions, and community facilities.
As of November 2010, the England Authority has received $21 million from the FAA for their Noise Mitigation Program. The funding has been used for land acquisitions, relocation programs, and acoustical treatment programs.
The Neighborhood Noise Mitigation Program is divided into two areas. The primary area includes the areas that are located where they are subjected to 70 DNL or greater. The secondary area includes areas that are located in areas that are subjected to 65 to 70 DNL. The areas affected were designated from the 2010 Part 150 Noise Study. There are three options that were approved for the primary areas. The first option is called the Property Acquisition and Relocation Assistance Program. The program was designed by the FAA to provide homeowners on a voluntary basis the opportunity to sell their property and move away from areas impacted by aircraft noise.
The second option is called the Aviation Easement Acquisition Program. The program gives interested homeowners a single cash payment in exchange for providing the England Authority with a signed Aviation Easement document.
The third option is an Acoustical Treatment Program. The Acoustical Treatment Program provides a range of acoustic modifications to participating homes. The program may include window and door modifications, wall and attic insulation, and ventilation modifications. All modifications done to the home through the program are free to the homeowner.
Properties in the Secondary Area are eligible only for the Aviation Easement Acquisition and the Acoustical Treatment Programs.
England AFB Heritage Park
A sign at the heritage park, also known as Flying Tiger Heritage Park, reads: “A symbol of all airmen past, present, and future, the England Air Force Base Heritage Park is a proud reminder of the Air Force’s role in our nation’s military history. Each of the five aircraft displayed here valiantly contributed to the defense of our country. They are suspended in simulated flight as a permanent reminder of the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of the men and women who have served their country as members of the finest Air Force in the world.”
The aircraft at the heritage park are described below, as seen at the park, from left to right (west to east; clockwise).
|Identity (S/N or BuNo)||Aircraft||History||Photo|
|52-4931||North American F-86F Sabre||Built as a North American F-86F-30-NA Sabre (MSN 191-627). The National Museum of the US Air Force ‘aircraft on loan’ list, lists this aircraft as a F-86E. The sign at the aircraft says this plane has been painted to duplicate the aircraft flown by Lt Col John England, for whom England AFB is named. This plane is actually a Canadian built CL-13A Mk 5, serial number 23226.|
|152660 (Navy BuNo)||Ling-Temco-Vought A-7A Corsair II||Built as a Ling-Temco-Vought A-7A-3a-CV Corsair II. The sign at the aircraft says this aircraft is painted to duplicate a past 23 TFW commander's aircraft.|
|73-1667||Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II||Built as a Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II. The National Museum of the US Air Force ‘aircraft on loan’ list, lists this aircraft as an A-10A(GY). |
|63-8296||Republic F-105G Thunderchief||Built as a Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief (MSN F73) and later converted to F-105G. To MASDC July 14, 1980, then to display at England AFB Heritage Park.|
|52-7080||Republic F-84F Thunderstreak||Built as a Republic F-84F-40-RE Thunderstreak. On April 23, 1963, this aircraft crashed at the end of runway 22 at MacDill Air Force Base; the pilot was uninjured. According to the sign in front of the aircraft, this plane was previously at Bringhurst Park in Alexandria, and was unveiled at its current location on April 25, 1992 during a 391st FBS homecoming.|
- FAA Airport Master Record for AEX ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective March 2, 2017.
- "IATA Airport Code Search (AEX: Alexandria International)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
- "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
- "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
- "Obituary: Joy Sumner Meyer". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- "Alexandria, LA: Alexandria International (AEX)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. July 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
- "National Museum of the US Air Force Aircraft on Loan list (by location-updated Apr 2016)" (PDF). Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- "USAF Serial Number Search (52-4931)". Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- "USN Bureau Number Search (152660)". Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- "National Museum of the US Air Force Aircraft on Loan list (by location-updated Apr 2016)" (PDF). Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- "USAF Serial Number Search (73-1667)". Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- "USAF Serial Number Search (63-8296)". Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- "USAF Serial Number Search (52-7080)". Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- Alexandria International Airport
- Aerial image as of January 1998 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective January 2, 2020
- FAA Terminal Procedures for AEX, effective January 2, 2020
- Resources for this airport: