Cold Bay Airport

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Cold Bay Airport
WMO: 70316
Airport type Public
Owner State of Alaska DOT&PF - Central Region
Serves Cold Bay, Alaska
Hub for PenAir
Elevation AMSL 101 ft / 31 m
Coordinates 55°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 6,235 1,900 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations 9,210
The airfield at Cold Bay, 1942, later named Fort Randall AAF, then Thornbrough Field

Cold Bay Airport (IATA: CDBICAO: PACDFAA 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 Evergreen International Airlines 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 has two asphalt paved runways: 14/32 is 10,180 by 150 feet (3,174 x 46 m) and 8/26 is 6,235 by 150 feet (1,900 x 46 m). For the 12-month period ending January 1, 2011, the airport had 9,210 aircraft operations, an average of 25 per day: 63% air taxi, 29% scheduled commercial, 5% military, and 2% general aviation.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service at this airport:

Airlines Destinations
PenAir Anchorage


On September 8, 1973 World Airways Flight 802 a Military Airlift Command cargo flight crashed into Mount Dutton when on approach to Cold Bay. All six people on board were killed.[7]

On October 30, 2013, a Delta Airlines Boeing 767-300 on the flight from Tokyo to San Francisco landed on the airport due to an engine shut-down. On board were 167 passengers and 11 crew members; all of them were able to leave the aircraft without any injuries. [8]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for CDB (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.  External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.  External link in |work= (help)
  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. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63CF N802WA Cold Bay, AK". Aviation Safety Network. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Military history