Gerald R. Ford International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Gerald R. Ford Airport)
Jump to: navigation, search
Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Gerald R. Ford International Airport.jpg
Aerial of Ford International.jpg
Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Kent County
Operator Kent County Department of Aeronautics
Serves Grand Rapids, Michigan
Location Cascade Charter Township, MI, USA
Elevation AMSL 794 ft / 242 m
Coordinates 42°52′51″N 85°31′22″W / 42.88083°N 85.52278°W / 42.88083; -85.52278Coordinates: 42°52′51″N 85°31′22″W / 42.88083°N 85.52278°W / 42.88083; -85.52278
GRR is located in Michigan
GRR is located in the US
Location in Michigan
Direction Length Surface
ft m
8R/26L 10,000 3,048 Concrete
8L/26R 5,000 1,524 Concrete
17/35 8,501 2,591 Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Total passengers 2,653,630 Increase 3.5%
Aircraft movements 76,256 Increase 1.5%
Sources: airport web site[1] and FAA[2]

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (IATA: GRRICAO: KGRRFAA LID: GRR) is a commercial airport in Cascade Township about 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021 categorized it as a small hub primary commercial service facility.[3]

Originally called Kent County Airport and later Kent County International Airport; in December 1999 the airport was renamed for former president Gerald R. Ford, the 40th Vice President and the 38th President of the United States.

The airport is the largest commercial airport in the West Michigan region and is the second largest airport in Michigan after Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The airport has flights to 24 domestic airports.


Grand Rapids' first airport broke ground in November 1919, four miles (6.4 km) south of downtown. This was eight years after the area witnessed its first landing, a Wright biplane at Comstock Park State Fairgrounds on September 10, 1911. The airport was operated by the Kent County Board of Supervisors.

The first scheduled air service in the United States was between Grand Rapids and Detroit (actually Dearborn's Ford Airport) on a Ford-Stout monoplane named Miss Grand Rapids, which started July 26, 1926.

In 1938–39 the Works Progress Administration made improvements including new runways and runway widening, fencing, sodding, lighting,[4] remodeling the administration building and construction of a new restaurant.[5]

Circa 1940 the airport was between 32nd and 36th St, from Jefferson Ave east to the railroad; the west end was soon extended south to just north of Himes St and in the 1950s one 5700-ft runway reached south to 44th St.

In 1959 construction began on the present airport in Cascade Township, several miles east of the original one. The new airport opened November 23, 1963, and was dedicated June 6, 1964; it had 6600-ft runway 8/26 and 3400-ft 18/36.[6] The first scheduled jet was a United Airlines Boeing 737-200 on April 28, 1968, from Chicago O'Hare. The aircraft, N9003U, was named 'City of Grand Rapids'.{BOEING 737 by Malcolm L. Hill, The Crowood Press, 2002, pp. 52–53} In 1968 the only scheduled nonstops beyond Michigan were to Chicago and Green Bay.

On January 27, 1977, Kent County Airport was renamed Kent County International Airport with the opening of a U.S. Customs Bureau Office in the main terminal building.

In 1997 the new 8,500-foot (2,600 m) runway 17/35 was added to allow the airport to continue operations during the $32 million reconstruction of runway 8R/26L, completed in 2001. A passenger terminal renovation was completed in 2000 at a cost of about $50 million. Runways 8R/26L and runway 17/35 have ILS. The airport also has a 5,000 ft. general aviation runway north of the main 8R/26L runway.

In 2004 the airport served more than 2 million passengers for the first time in a year.[7] In 2010 the airport broke the 2004 record with almost 2.2 million passengers, as increase of over 23% from 2009.

On January 2, 2007, Air Force One carried the remains of former President Gerald Ford to the airport, which is named after him, as part of funeral services culminating in burial at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids the next day.

Until October 31, 2011, the airport was a focus city for Allegiant Air.[8]

The Airport has had international service to Toronto Pearson International Airport in the past.

Delta Air Lines operates Boeing 757-200 seasonally between Grand Rapids and Detroit during the summer, making it the largest aircraft that is currently serving GRR.[9]


Gerald R. Ford International Airport has two parallel east-west runways and one north-south runway. Along with cargo and general aviation facilities, the airport has a two-level passenger terminal with two concourses: A has seven gates and B has eight.[10]

Concourse A's tenants are Allegiant Air and Delta Air Lines. In concourse B are American Eagle/American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines[10] All gates have climate-controlled jetways.

When new baggage screening regulations were introduced by the Transportation Security Administration in 2002, the airport was one of the first in the nation to conduct trials on the new screening machines.[6] The baggage processing areas were too small for the machines so they were placed in the passenger lobby.[11]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Gerald R. Ford International Airport is served by 5 airlines.


Airlines Destinations Refs
Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa, Punta Gorda (FL), Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington–National [13] [14]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul [15]
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia
Seasonal: Orlando
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Orlando
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Tampa
United Airlines Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Denver [17]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [17]


Airlines Destinations
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Memphis, Rochester
FedEx Feeder
operated by CSA Air
Pellston, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City

82,921,357 pounds of air freight were handled in 2016.


Top domestic destinations[edit]

Top ten busiest domestic routes out of GRR
(Feb 2016 - Jan 2017)[18]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago, IL (O'Hare) 201,000 American, United
2 Detroit, MI 177,000 Delta
3 Atlanta, GA 166,000 Delta
4 Minneapolis/St Paul, MN 153,000 Delta
5 Denver, CO 91,000 Southwest, United
6 Chicago, IL (Midway) 90,000 Southwest
7 Dallas, TX 64,000 American
8 Charlotte, NC 45,000 American
9 Orlando, FL 41,000 Delta, Southwest
10 Baltimore, MD 40,000 Southwest

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Grand Rapids Airport, 2003 thru 2016[19]
Year Passengers Year Passengers
2003 1,976,833 2010 2,185,924
2004 2,150,125 2011 2,275,332
2005 2,090,505 2012 2,134,956
2006 2,015,846 2013 2,237,979
2007 1,990,896 2014 2,335,105
2008 1,809,445 2015 2,550,193
2009 1,771,465 2016 2,653,630

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is at the intersection of 44th Street and Patterson Avenue. It abuts I-96 on the east, M-6 on the south, M-37 on the west, and M-11 on the north.

Metro Cab and Metro Cars provides taxi and luxury sedan service and the airport is served by Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National/Alamo rental car companies on-site.

Rapid route 17, Woodland/Airport, travels between the airport and Woodland Mall (Kentwood Station) on weekdays between 6.30am and 10.30pm. From Woodland Mall, passengers can continue on to downtown or parts of the east side of Grand Rapids via routes 5 and 6, or across town to Grandville and Wyoming on routes 24, 28 and 44.

Aircraft spotting[edit]

The airport has two aircraft spotter locations. There is an observation deck located on the mezzanine level of the passenger terminal building, which gives a relatively unobstructed view of the ramp area and runway 8R and 26L.

An outdoor viewing area on Kraft Avenue north of 52nd Street has picnic tables, litter barrels, and a portable toilet. Radio station 1650 AM broadcasts transmissions by air traffic controllers, pilots, and GFIA operations and ground crew staff. The viewing area is open year-round daily from dawn to dusk.

Planned development[edit]

In 2013 the airport began building a natural treatment system to improve stormwater management practices and safeguard the waters of the Thornapple River. The new, innovative system will include a biological treatment system that will improve collection of stormwater runoff and naturally remove sediments and pollutants before sending the water to the Thornapple River, which flows just east of the airfield.[20]

The airport has plans to eliminate the two separate security checkpoints in each concourse and create one larger checkpoint in the grand hall area to help traffic flow much faster and to be prepared for future growth. In addition, the grand hall area and the entrance area to the airport will be renovated along with more shopping and dining options. This is expected to begin in late 2015 and be completed in a few years. Concourse A and B have been recently refurbished and completed in early 2015.

The airport is partnering with the Cascade Community Foundation on plans to renovate the current outdoor viewing area to make it a larger, more inviting place for people to relax.[21]

The airport is building a roof over the parking deck for more close-in, covered long-term parking. The roof will cover most of the fourth floor, though some spaces on the fourth and third floors will remain uncovered. This is due to airfield sight-line requirements for the FAA control tower. The garage roof is expected to be completed in November 2015, with some of the 4th floor spaces being available by mid-August 2015.[22]


  1. ^ "Measures of Michigan Air Carrier Demand". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for GRR (Form 5010 PDF), effective January 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "2004 Master Plan Update Executive Summary" (PDF). Airport Publications. Gerald R. Ford International Airport. 2004. Retrieved 2016-01-30. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "History and Statistics". Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  6. ^ a b Staff. "History & Statistics". Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ Staff (2011). "Gerald R. Ford International Airport – Grand Rapids, Michigan". Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Archived from the original on December 15, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Allegiant Air closing GR base, some flights". Grand Rapids: WOOD-TV8. August 12, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Gates (Map). Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  11. ^ Terminal Map (Map). Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  17. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  18. ^ "Grand Rapids, MI: Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. December 2012. 
  19. ^ GFIA Statistics. Retrieved on Mar 28, 2017.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links[edit]