Cold Bay Airport

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Cold Bay Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerState of Alaska DOT&PF - Central Region
ServesCold Bay, Alaska
Hub forPenAir
Elevation AMSL101 ft / 31 m
Coordinates55°12′19″N 162°43′28″W / 55.20528°N 162.72444°W / 55.20528; -162.72444Coordinates: 55°12′19″N 162°43′28″W / 55.20528°N 162.72444°W / 55.20528; -162.72444
CDB is located in Alaska
Location of airport in Alaska
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15/33 10,180 3,103 Asphalt
8/26 4,900 1,494 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations9,090
Based Aircraft0
Freight3,017,000 lbs
The airfield at Cold Bay, 1942, later named Fort Randall AAF, then Thornbrough Field

Cold Bay Airport (IATA: CDB, ICAO: PACD, FAA LID: CDB) is a state owned, public use airport located in Cold Bay,[1] a city in the Aleutians East Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. First built as a United States Army Air Forces airfield during World War II, it is one of the main airports serving the Alaska Peninsula. Scheduled passenger service is available and air taxi operators fly in and out of the airport daily. Formerly, the airport operated as Thornbrough Air Force Base.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airport had 9,105 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[2] 8,968 enplanements in 2009, and 9,261 in 2010.[3] It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a "non-primary commercial service" airport, meaning it has between 2,500 and 10,000 enplanements per year.[4]

Cold Bay's main runway is the fifth-largest in Alaska and was built during World War II. Today, it is used for scheduled cargo flights by Alaska Central Express and is sometimes used as an emergency diversion airport for passenger flights crossing the Pacific Ocean.[5]

A myth describes Cold Bay Airport as an alternate landing site for Space Shuttles, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has stated that it was never so designated, and it was not within the entry crossrange capability of Space Shuttles.

There is a National Weather Service (NWS) office (which sends up radiosonde balloons twice a day) colocated with the FAA Flight Service Station at the airport. The NWS ranks Cold Bay as the cloudiest city in the United States.[6]


The airport was constructed during World War II as Fort Randall Army Airfield, eventually becoming an Air Force Base during the Cold War.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Cold Bay Airport covers 2,213 acres (896 ha) has two asphalt paved runways: 14/32 is 10,180 by 150 feet (3,174 x 46 m) and 8/26 is 4,900 by 150 feet (1,494 x 46 m). For the 12-month period ending October 30, 2017, the airport had 9,090 aircraft operations, an average of 25 per day: 63% air taxi, 30% scheduled commercial, 5% military, and 2% general aviation.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service at this airport:

PenAir Anchorage[7]
Grant Aviation False Pass, King Cove, Port Moller[8]
Passengers boarding a Boeing 767 to complete their flight to Portland after their flight was diverted due to an engine issue with the first aircraft

Historical airline service[edit]

Reeve Aleutian Airways (RAA) served Cold Bay with scheduled passenger flights for many years. During the 1970s and 1980s, Reeve was operating nonstop flights to Anchorage (ANC) with Lockheed L-188 Electra and NAMC YS-11 turboprop aircraft.[9] Reeve was also operating Electra propjet service nonstop to Seattle (SEA) on a three flights per week schedule in 1979.[10] By 1989, the airline had introduced nonstop jet service to Anchorage operated with Boeing 727-100 combi aircraft which were capable of transporting both passengers and freight on the main deck of the aircraft in addition to continuing to operate nonstop Electra service to Anchorage as well.[11] Reeve was continuing to operate 727 jet service nonstop to Anchorage during the late 1990s before ceasing all flight operations in 2000.[12]


Carrier shares: January – December 2016[13]
Carrier   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Top domestic destinations: January – December 2016[13]
Rank City Airport Passengers
1 Alaska Anchorage, AK Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport 4,870
2 Alaska King Cove, AK King Cove Airport 1,640
3 Alaska False Pass, AK False Pass Airport 330
4 Alaska Nelson Lagoon, AK Nelson Lagoon Airport 230
5 Alaska Port Moller, AK Port Moller Airport 200

Accidents and incidents[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for CDB (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. effective April 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "Passenger Boarding (Enplanement) and All-Cargo Data for U.S. Airports" (PDF, 1.0 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
  3. ^ "CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data" (PDF, 189 KB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
  4. ^ "2011–2015 National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems, Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on 2012-09-27.
  5. ^ "Continental trans-Pacific flight makes emergency landing". The Associated Press. 2004-10-19. Archived from the original on 2004-10-19.
  6. ^ Osborn, Liz. "Cloudiest Places in United States". Current Results weather and science facts. Current Results Nexus. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  7. ^ "PenAir Destinations". PenAir. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Grant Flight Schedule". Grant Aviation. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  9. ^, April 15, 1975; Nov. 15, 1979; April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Anchorage flight schedules
  10. ^, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Seattle flight schedules
  11. ^, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Anchorage flight schedules
  12. ^, June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Anchorage flight schedules
  13. ^ a b "Cold Bay, AK: Cold Bay(CDB)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), U.S. Department of Transportation. December 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.

External links[edit]

Military history