|IATA: BKG – ICAO: KBBG – FAA LID: BBG|
|Owner||Branson Airport, LLC|
|Opened||May 11, 2009|
|Hub for||Branson AirExpress|
|Elevation AMSL||1,302 ft / 397 m|
Branson Airport (IATA: BKG, ICAO: KBBG, FAA LID: BBG) is a public use airport located eight nautical miles (15 km) south-southeast of the central business district of Branson, a city in Taney County, Missouri, United States. It is privately owned by Branson Airport, LLC.
Although most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, this airport is assigned BBG by the FAA and BKG by the IATA (which assigned BBG to Butaritari Atoll Airport in Butaritari, Kiribati).
The airport opened on May 11, 2009. It is currently the only privately owned, privately operated commercial service airport in the United States as National Express Group Plc. reverted control of Stewart International Airport to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As part of the negotiations to create the airport, obtain financing and reduce liability, Branson Airport, LLC had to "gift" the land they owned to Taney County, Missouri in order to lease and operate the airport privately.
Prior to construction of Branson Airport, the closest commercial service airport was Springfield-Branson National Airport 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Branson. That airport is owned by the city of Springfield, Missouri.
The formal grand opening was May 8–10, 2009 during which the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed during an air show. The first scheduled passenger flight arrived the following day, on May 11, 2009 from Minneapolis-St. Paul operated by Sun Country Airlines with a Boeing 737 jetliner.
There were two airlines operating at the time of Branson's opening, AirTran Airways and Sun Country Airlines. Sun Country Airlines ceased all operations into Branson in March 2010. AirTran was acquired and merged into Southwest Airlines which in turn then ceased serving Branson in June 2014.
Frontier Airlines launched flights to Branson Airport with daily service to Denver as well as seasonal less than daily service to Milwaukee, which was formerly served from Branson through AirTran.
On February 23, 2011 Branson Airport's largest carrier, AirTran Airways announced they would be adding flights from Branson to Baltimore, Chicago-Midway and Houston-Hobby. All flights were announced to be year round.
As of August, 2012 Branson Airport was served with six nonstop departures a day with more than 100 possible connections.
On August 27, 2012, Southwest Airlines announced they would be taking over all AirTran flights at the airport on March 9, 2013. Southwest flew Boeing 737 jetliners nonstop to Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Houston-Hobby and previously flew Saturday only flights to Orlando. Southwest Airlines then ended all service into the airport on June 7, 2014.
On February 24, 2014, Frontier Airlines announced that their Branson to Denver service would be upgraded from seasonal to daily beginning June 9, 2014. However, service was ended in October 2014 and the airline announced it would not return in 2015.
On April 3, 2014, Buzz Airways, announced new nonstop service to both Chicago-Midway and Houston-Hobby airports that began June 12, 2014, replacing the lost Southwest Airlines service. As of December 2014, this service was operated by Elite Airways with Canadair CRJ regional jet aircraft. Service to Chicago-Midway has since terminated.
On December 23, 2014, Branson AirExpress announced flights operated by Elite Airways and Buzz Airways will continue in 2015 to Chicago-Midway, (MDW) Houston-Hobby (HOU), Austin (AUS) and Denver (DEN). On January 28, 2015, Branson AirExpress announced it would add an additional operator, Orange Air, flying McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliners nonstop to Cincinnati (CVG) and New Orleans (MSY) with direct, one stop service to Cancun, Mexico (CUN) via New Orleans from the Branson Airport starting May 6, 2015. On October 5, 2015 the Cincinnati leg of the Orange Air route was terminated, and the Branson-New Orleans-Cancun portion of the route was transferred to Elite Airways.
On January 12, 2014, a Southwest flight landed at the similarly-situated M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport nearby instead of the intended one during a nighttime landing in clear weather. Flight 4013 from Midway Airport in Chicago to Branson Airport was a Boeing 737-700 with 129 passengers and crew. The Clark airport, located about 7 miles northwest near Hollister, Missouri, is primarily for private aviation and has a runway of only 3,738 feet (1,139 m). During the descent, the pilot and co-pilot had identified the Clark airport by its runway lights and made a course correction to land there in error. It was only during the landing that this dangerous situation was recognized and the pilot reacted with heavy braking. The plane had about 40 feet of runway left when it came to a stop, and no one was injured. The plane was flown out the following day, but both pilots were placed on paid leave during the investigation.
Facilities and aircraft
Branson Airport covers an area of 922 acres (373 ha) at an elevation of 1,302 feet (397 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 14/32 with a concrete surface measuring 7,140 by 150 feet (2,176 x 46 m).
Airlines and destinations
operated by Elite Airways
|Denver, Houston-Hobby, New Orleans|
|Buzz Airways||Austin, New Orleans|
|1||Denver, CO||21,350||Elite Airways, Frontier1|
|2||Houston-Hobby, TX||3,900||Elite Airways|
|3||Chicago-Midway, IL||3,110||Buzz Airways, Southwest1|
1 Frontier and Southwest have discontinued service to Branson Airport but still flew to the airport during the reported time period.
There are some unusual consequences of the airport's private ownership. One such issue is the fact that competition is neither desired nor allowed. When an airline acquires a route to and from the airport, they will generally acquire an exclusive arrangement with Branson Airport, LLC, to serve that destination city. This however does not prevent a carrier from operating to a destination served by Springfield-Branson Airport to the north; for example, AirTran once flew to Atlanta competing with Delta Connection operations to Atlanta from the nearby airport.
"We don’t want suicide fares, two or three airlines bashing each other over the head until someone says ‘uncle’ and leaves," said [CEO Steve] Peet, explaining why the airport agreed to protect the airlines from competition. "We want to build real service, sustainable service."
Development and construction
Branson Airport is located in the Communities of Branson Creek development, a golf/residential complex land formerly belonging to Tennessee Ernie Ford. The land was originally purchased by Glenn Patch, a publisher of Computer Shopper and other magazines, in 1990 when he bought 7,000 acres (28 km2) in the area to develop the Branson Creek complex. Patch sold the 922 acres to Branson Airport, LLC in 2007. Patch also owns the franchise for the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre in Branson.
The owners have put the naming rights for the FBO, the terminal, and the entire airport up for sale.
The construction of the airport, which involved the flattening of several Ozark Mountains, is claimed to be the largest earthmoving project in Missouri history. A press release noted that between groundbreaking in July 2007 and May 2008 11 million cubic yards of earth had been moved.
The $155 million project includes a 7,140-foot (2,180 m) by 150-foot (46 m) runway, numbered 14/32, and a 58,000-square-foot (5,400 m2) terminal designed to accommodate 1.4 million passengers a year. The $155 million cost of the building the terminal included $38 million in private equity and $117 million in tax free bonds underwritten by Citigroup. The high-risk, high-yield bonds (top rate of 6.5%) were issued by the Branson Regional Airport Transportation Development District. The City of Branson will pay a subsidy of $8.24 to Branson Airport LLC for each arriving visitor with an annual cap of $2 Million. Given the rates at which the bonds are financed, this subsidy could amount to 20% of the total costs of financing the airport's construction.
Plans also call for the construction of an 8,000-seat arena and 15,000-seat amphitheater near the airport.
Nearby General Aviation Airports
Nearest Commercial Airports
- FAA Airport Master Record for BBG ( PDF), effective 2 July 2009
- Great Circle Mapper: KBBG / BKG - Branson, Missouri (Branson Airport)
- Great Circle Mapper: NGTU / BBG - Butaritari Atoll, Kiribati
- Negroni, Christine (April 20, 2009). "In Missouri, Investors Seek a Profit in Branson Airport". New York Times.
- Negroni, Christine (May 11, 2009). "Branson opening nation's only privately funded commercial airport". Dallas Morning News.
- "Branson's Privately Financed Airport: Branson Airport CEO on obtaining financing" (Video and transcript). FOX Business News. April 24, 2009.
- Honey, Mindy (May 2009). "New airport takes off". Branson Daily News.
- Hartley, Gene & Sara Bryant, Frontier Airlines won't return to Branson Airport in spring, KY3 News, December 10, 2014, retrieved 2014-12-28
- Sain, Cliff. Change in the Air at Branson Airport, Branson Tri-Lakes News, October 6, 2015, Retrieved 2015-10-9
- Halsey III, Ashley (January 13, 2014). "Southwest jetliner lands miles off target". The Washington Post.
- "Southwest co-pilot retires after wrong-airport landing". USA Today. April 16, 2014.
- Martin, Grant (January 12, 2014). "Southwest Airlines Plane Lands At Wrong Airport, Almost Careens Off Cliff". Forbes. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Welch, William M. (January 13, 2014). "Southwest suspends pilots after landing at wrong airport". USA Today. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- "Branson breaks ground on first private commercial airport; Completion scheduled for 2009" (PDF). News Release. City of Branson. July 20, 2007.
- http://articles.directorym.net/AT_BRANSON_UP_GOES_A_TERMINAL_Seattle_WA-r906317-Seattle_WA.html[dead link]
- http://www.flybranson.com/branson-airport-awards-contract-to-build-terminal[dead link]
- http://www.flybranson.com/construction[dead link]
- Cooke, Jeremy R. (June 12, 2009). "Illinois, Cleveland, Branson Sales Lead Municipal Bond Market". Bloomberg.com.
- Schultz Surveying and Engineering did all the construction staking and surveying for the airport. http://schultzengineering.com/engineering-surveying.asp http://flybranson.com/about_history.php
- FlyBranson.com, official site
- (PDF), effective February 4, 2016
- FAA Terminal Procedures for Branson Airport (BBG), effective February 4, 2016
- Resources for this airport: