El Paso International Airport

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El Paso International Airport
El Paso Intl Logo.svg
Airport type Public
Owner City of El Paso
Operator El Paso Aviation Department
Serves El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico
Location El Paso, Texas
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 (2014)
Passengers 1,395,363
Aircraft operations 102,832
Source: ACI[1]

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, US.


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.[2] 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.[2]

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 deregulation in the USA, 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.[citation needed]

Airport diagram for January 1963

Airport Clock Tower
The Airport security concourse from airside.

The passenger concourses were built in 1971 as part of an expansion that tripled the size of the airport.[3] It was designed by Garland & Hilles[4]

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.


Airlines customer service section

El Paso International Airport covers 6,800 acres (2,752 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 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.

Baggage claim area.

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–A2: American Airlines and American Eagle. Gate B1: Delta Air Lines. Gates B3–B6: Southwest Airlines. Gate B7: American Airlines and American Eagle. Gates B9 and B11: United Airlines and United Express.

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 Coffee.

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.

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Allegiant Air Las Vegas, San Diego (both begin May 6, 2016)[5] TBD
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth A
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix A
Delta Air Lines Atlanta B
Southwest Airlines Austin, Dallas-Love, Houston-Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio B
United Express Denver, Houston-Intercontinental B

Cargo carriers and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
DHL Aviation
operated by ABX Air

Top airlines and destinations[edit]

Airport entrance
Air Traffic Control Tower
Busiest domestic routes from El Paso (Nov 2014 – Oct 2015)[6]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) 263,000 American
2 Phoenix, AZ 242,000 American, Southwest
3 Dallas, TX (DAL) 133,000 Southwest
4 Houston, TX (HOU) 110,000 Southwest
5 Atlanta, GA 97,000 Delta
6 Houston, TX (IAH) 84,000 United
7 Austin, TX 76,000 Southwest
8 Los Angeles, CA 75,000 American, Southwest
9 Las Vegas, NV 74,000 Southwest
10 San Antonio, TX 73,000 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, 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.[7]
  • 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.[8][9]
  • 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.[10][11][12]
  • 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".[13]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]