Erie International Airport

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Erie International Airport
Tom Ridge Field
ERI logo.png
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Erie Regional Airport Authority
Serves Erie, Pennsylvania
Location Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Elevation AMSL 732 ft / 223 m
Coordinates 42°4′59″N 80°10′55″W / 42.08306°N 80.18194°W / 42.08306; -80.18194Coordinates: 42°4′59″N 80°10′55″W / 42.08306°N 80.18194°W / 42.08306; -80.18194
Website www.erieairport.org
Map
ERI is located in Pennsylvania
ERI
ERI
ERI is located in the US
ERI
ERI
Location of airport in Pennsylvania / United States
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 3,508 1,069 Asphalt
6/24 8,420 2,566 Asphalt / Concrete
Statistics (2015)
Passenger enplanements 88,953 Decrease 8.4%[1]

Erie International Airport Tom Ridge Field (IATA: ERIICAO: KERIFAA LID: ERI) is a public airport five miles (8 km) southwest of Erie, in Erie County. Airline service at Erie faces stiff competition from the Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo airports, all within two hours of Erie by car. In 2004 Erie was the third fastest growing airport in the United States, and the fastest growing airport in Pennsylvania.[2] It is also 128 miles (206 km) from Pittsburgh, 111 miles (179 km) from the Canada–US border, 95 miles (153 km) from Cleveland, Ohio and 105 miles (169 km) from Buffalo, New York.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

In 1924, Roger Griswold purchased 22.12 acres (9.0 ha) of land 6 miles (10 km) west of Erie at the intersection of West Lake and Asbury Roads for use as an airfield.[3] Soon after, a flight training school was based at the field. In 1927, as part of a nationwide tour by Charles Lindbergh after his transatlantic flight, Erie was selected as one of the cities where Lindbergh would make a brief stopover.[4] However, as Griswold Field proved inadequate for the larger Spirit of St. Louis to land and an alternative site could not be located, a flyover by Lindbergh had to suffice. The affair illuminated the need for a proper airport and prompted the Erie City Council to examine to possibility of establishing a municipal airport.[5] City Council was, initially, favoring a site 12-mile (0.8 km) east of Wesleyville for a municipal airport, however Lieutenant Jimmy Doolittle commented on the distance between it and the city; Dolittle noted that "you might as well take 40 minutes more and go on to Cleveland."[6] After recommendations made by Lindbergh to a Congressional committee that no airport less than 1 square mile (2.6 km2) be approved, the planning commission for Erie's airport began to reevaluate the site they chose.[6]

Griswold Field closed, officially, in 1929 when Griswold moved to Long Island, but continued to be used by aircraft and by the flight school. That same year two airfields were established: one on land adjacent to the former Griswold Field, and another in Kearsarge that is now the site of the Millcreek Mall.

The first commercial passenger and airmail service out of Port Erie Airport was inaugurated in June 1938 by American Airlines.[7]

Prior to September 11, 2001 the airport was at its height with US Airways mainline jets to Pittsburgh and international service to Toronto.[8][9] After 9/11 US Airways replaced 737s and DC-9s with regional jets.[10] As air service rebounded in the mid-2000s, US Airways Express flew to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Charlotte; Northwest Airlink to Detroit; Continental Connection to Cleveland; and Delta Connection to Cincinnati and Atlanta.

The airport is reportedly looking to expand service to New York and other cities.[11] US Airways discontinued Charlotte flights in 2006. Delta Air Lines discontinued Atlanta flights on September 6, 2007. In early 2008 US Airways discontinued Pittsburgh flights. As of January 2010 US Airways Express service is three flights daily to Philadelphia; Delta Connection has five flights daily to Detroit; and United Express has two flights daily to Chicago-O'Hare.[12]

Erie International is in an expansion program: expanding runway 6/24, establishing a relationship with an airport in Germany to create a cargo bridge, and attracting new airlines to more destinations. About 200,000 people used the airport in 2006, down 14% due to airlines cutting back on seats. The number of passengers did increase by 16.1% in 2010 from 2009.[13]

Runway extension[edit]

The 1,920-foot (590 m) extension of runway 6/24 was opened on November 8, 2012.[14] The total cost of the project was $80.5 million, or approximately $5 million under budget.[15] Owing to a mild winter in 2011–2012 that did not hinder construction work, the extension was also completed two years ahead of schedule.[14]

Facilities[edit]

FAA airport diagram of Erie International

Erie International/Tom Ridge Field covers 450 acres (182 ha) and has two runways:

  • Runway 2/20: 3,508 ft × 150 ft (1,069 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 6/24: 8,420 ft × 150 ft (2,566 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt/Concrete

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The last DC-9 to fly for US Air arriving at Erie International Airport

Passenger[edit]

Airlines Destinations Notes
American Eagle Philadelphia [16]
Delta Connection Detroit [17]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare [18]

Cargo[edit]

Airlines Destinations
FedEx Feeder
operated by Mountain Air Cargo
Cleveland, Indianapolis

Ground transportation[edit]

Taxis can reach the airport. Two Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority bus routes stop at the airport. Avis Rent a Car System, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, The Hertz Corporation, and National Car Rental have car rental counters.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • In 1986 USAir Flight 499, a DC-9, from Toronto Pearson landed on snow-covered runway 24, and slid off the runway to rest over Asbury Road on the western perimeter of the airport.[19]
  • In 1984, a Spirit Airlines chartered flight, a DC-9 carrying a football team, landed in snowy conditions on a soft patch of land next to the runway.[20]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]