El Paso International Airport

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El Paso International Airport
El Paso Intl Logo.svg
Airport entrance.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of El Paso
Operator El Paso Aviation Department
Serves El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S.
Location El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Elevation AMSL 3,958 ft / 1,206 m
Coordinates 31°48′26″N 106°22′39″W / 31.80722°N 106.37750°W / 31.80722; -106.37750Coordinates: 31°48′26″N 106°22′39″W / 31.80722°N 106.37750°W / 31.80722; -106.37750
Website elpasointernationalairport.com
ELP is located in Texas
Location within Texas
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 12,020 3,664 Asphalt
8R/26L 9,025 2,751 Asphalt
8L/26R 5,493 1,674 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 2,807,734
Aircraft operations 79,148

El Paso International Airport (IATA: ELPICAO: KELPFAA LID: ELP) is a public airport four miles (6 km) northeast of downtown El Paso, in El Paso County, Texas, United States. It is the largest commercial airport in West Texas, handling 2,778,248 passengers in 2014.[3] The airport serves the El Paso–Las Cruces Combined Statistical Area.


The City of El Paso built the first El Paso Municipal Airport near the east side of the Franklin Mountains in 1928. The airport was closed by 1945 and in more recent times has been home to the Jobe Concrete Products "Planeport" cement factory.[4] In 1934, Varney Speed Lines (now United Airlines) operated at the original El Paso Municipal Airport (now closed). The original El Paso Municipal Airport construction was inspired by a visit from Charles Lindbergh.[citation needed]

What became the present-day El Paso International Airport was built as Standard Airport by Standard Airlines in 1929 for transcontinental air mail service. Standard Airlines became a division of American Airlines in the 1930s. In 1936, American Airlines "swapped" airports with the City of El Paso and El Paso International Airport was born.[4]

During World War II, the airport was a United States Army Air Forces training base. Units which trained at El Paso Army Airfield were:

  • 385th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (B-17 Flying Fortress) December 21, 1942 – February 1, 1943
    • Served with the 8th Air Force in England.
  • 491st Bombardment Group (Heavy) (B-24 Liberator) November 11, 1943 – January 1, 1944
    • Served with the 8th Air Force in England.
  • 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) (B-29 Superfortress) November 20 – December 1, 1943
    • Served with the 20th Air Force at Saipan.

At the end of the war the airfield was deemed excess by the military and returned to the local government for civil use. The April 1952 C&GS diagram[vague] shows runways 4, 8, 12 and 17, each 7001 to 7062 ft long.[citation needed]

El Paso was the last stop of the first hijacking of a jetliner, a Boeing 707 owned by Continental Airlines.[citation needed] Before airline deregulation in the United States, El Paso was a focus city for Continental but was soon demoted to a standard station in a hub-and-spoke system under Frank Lorenzo. The airline had a pilot base that was closed in 1963 but re-opened in 1977.[citation needed]

Aerial view of airport taken in 1996

Airport diagram for January 1963

The passenger concourses were built in 1971 as part of an expansion that tripled the size of the airport.[5] It was designed by Garland & Hilles.[6]

Serving general aviation at El Paso International Airport, Cutter Aviation established a fixed-base operation in 1982. Cutter Aviation moved to a new facility on Shuttle Columbia Drive in 2006. Atlantic Aviation also serves general aviation at ELP.


El Paso International Airport covers 6,670 acres (2,699 ha) and has three runways:

  • Runway 4/22: 12,020 ft × 150 ft (3,664 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 8R/26L: 9,025 ft × 150 ft (2,751 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 8L/26R: 5,493 ft × 75 ft (1,674 m × 23 m), Surface: Asphalt

Main terminal[edit]

The airport security concourse from airside
Baggage claim area

The terminal is a pier-satellite layout. It has a central entrance and the gates branch out east to west on the two concourses. The airport has East and West Concourses. Gates A1–A4 are located on the West Concourse and Gates B1–B11 is located on the East Concourse. The airport has a total of 15 gates. There is also a lower and upper level. The gates are located on the upper level and the ticketing, baggage claim, rental car, and main entrance are located on the lower level of the terminal. The meeter/greeter area is located on the lower level just behind the escalators that lead to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint leading to the gates. Major terminal renovations have been made over the past several years, designed and managed by the local architectural firm MNK Architects.

Airlines customer service section

The airport access road is Convair Road. Convair Road splits into four lanes with the left two lanes reserved for commercial vehicles and the right two lanes utilized for pickup and drop-off of passengers. In between the split road there is a waiting area where passengers can wait for commercial vehicles to arrive.

Gates: Generally, these gates are used for the following airlines. Gates A1–A3: American Airlines and American Eagle. Gate B1: Delta Air Lines. Gates B3–B6: Southwest Airlines Gates B8 and B9: United Airlines and United Express. Gate B10: Allegiant

Food Court: The food court is located between gates B6 and B11. It is currently occupied with Carlos and Mickey's Mexican Express, Pizza Hut Express, Quizno's and Starbucks.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

El Paso International Airport has 15 gates on 2 concourses: Concourse A has gates A1–A4 and Concourse B has gates B1–B11.


Air Traffic Control Tower
Airlines Destinations
Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Oakland, San Diego
Seasonal: Orlando/Sanford
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth
American Eagle Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Southwest Airlines Austin, Dallas–Love, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, San Antonio
United Express Denver, Houston–Intercontinental


Airlines Destinations
DHL Aviation
operated by ABX Air
DHL Aviation
operated by Air Transport International
FedEx Express Austin, Houston–Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Memphis, San Antonio
GTA Air Dallas–Addison
UPS Airlines Albuquerque, Lubbock, San Antonio


Top destinations[edit]

Airport Clock Tower
Busiest domestic routes from ELP
(March 2016 – February 2017)
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 267,000 American
2 Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 226,000 American, Southwest
3 Dallas–Love, Texas 131,000 Southwest
4 Houston–Hobby, Texas 107,000 Southwest
5 Atlanta, Georgia 104,000 Delta
6 Los Angeles, California 100,000 American, Southwest
7 Houston–Intercontinental, Texas 90,000 United
8 Las Vegas, Nevada 86,000 Allegiant, Southwest
9 Austin, Texas 74,000 Southwest
10 San Antonio, Texas 67,000 Southwest

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On July 20, 1982, Douglas C-47D N102BL of Pronto Aviation Services was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing near El Paso International Airport following an engine failure shortly after take-off. The aircraft was on a domestic non-scheduled passenger flight to Tucson International Airport in Arizona when the engine failed and the decision was made to return to El Paso. A single engine go-around was attempted following an unsafe landing gear warning.[8]
  • On February 19, 1988, Don McCoy, a private pilot, the owner of El Paso Sand and Gravel, took off in a newly acquired Rockwell Aero Commander 680 in a snowstorm (an aircraft he was not properly rated to fly), and attempted to land again after encountering mechanical trouble in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The aircraft crashed, killing the owner and two acquaintances. Some later attempted to attribute the accident to US Senator Phil Gramm, as it was alleged that McCoy planned to testify against Senator Gramm's shakedown of campaign contributions made by the El Paso Small Business Administration office.[9][10]
  • On January 16, 2006, a mechanic employed by a contractor of Continental Airlines was killed when he was sucked into the right engine of a Boeing 737–524 while investigating an oil leak. The aircraft was preparing to depart as Continental Airlines Flight 1515 to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.[11][12][13]
  • In April 2015, a Southwest Airlines jet was directed by the tower at ELP to land on a closed runway under construction. The aircraft landed safely but missed construction equipment by "mere feet".[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for ELP (Form 5010 PDF)
  2. ^ "El Paso International Airport Operating Statistics". El Paso International Airport. January 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  3. ^ "El Paso International Airport Operating Statistics for 2014". El Paso International Airport. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b http://airfields-freeman.com/TX/Airfields_TX_ElPaso.htm#elpasomuni
  5. ^ McClintock, Wayne (April 2, 1971). "Airport Passenger Numbers 3 Times E.P. Population". El Paso Herald-Post. Retrieved June 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ Diaz, Kandice N. (September 22, 2008). "Hilles and Garland: Modern Architecture for the Borderland". The UTEP Prospector. Retrieved June 21, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "El Paso, TX: El Paso International (ELP)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  8. ^ "N102BL Accident report". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Probable cause briefing, NTSB Identification: FTW88FA066". NTSB. 1990-01-24. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  10. ^ "Phil Gramm". Famoustexans.com. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ "CNN.com – Mechanic sucked into jet engine – Jan 16, 2006". CNN. 
  12. ^ "NTSB Report on Flight DFW06FA056". Ntsb.gov. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Incident document". R721.livejournal.com. May 15, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/features/featured/stories/Plane-lands-on-runway-closed-for-construction-at-El-Paso-International-Airport-116601.shtml#.ViVqcmSrRGF

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]