Greenville Downtown Airport

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Greenville Downtown Airport
(Greenville Municipal Airport)
Greenville Downtown Airport - South Carolina.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Greenville Airport Commission
Serves Greenville, South Carolina
Elevation AMSL 1,048 ft / 319 m
Coordinates 34°50′53″N 082°21′00″W / 34.84806°N 82.35000°W / 34.84806; -82.35000Coordinates: 34°50′53″N 082°21′00″W / 34.84806°N 82.35000°W / 34.84806; -82.35000
GMU is located in South Carolina
Location in South Carolina
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1/19 5,393 1,644 Asphalt
10/28 3,998 1,219 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 50 15 Concrete
H2 50 15 Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations 91,612
Based aircraft 410

Greenville Downtown Airport (IATA: GMUICAO: KGMUFAA LID: GMU) is three miles east of Greenville, in Greenville County, South Carolina. It is owned by the Greenville Airport Commission. And is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina [1]

The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a general aviation facility.[2]


Aerial view of the Greenville Downtown Airport.jpg

GMU opened in 1928 as Greenville Municipal Airport. In 1930 it received its first airmail flight. Amelia Earhart flew demonstration flights at GMU in an Autogiro for the Beech-Nut Company in November 1931. Eastern Airlines began scheduled flights in the late 1930s and Delta Airlines arrived in 1945.

During World War II the United States Army Air Forces used the airfield for training. The airport was used jointly by the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command, Southeast Training Center (later Eastern Flying Training Command) as a contract glider training school, operated by Southern Airways, Inc. The 19th AAF Glider Training Detachment was a Basic training school active from September 1942 until March 1943 using Aeronca TG-5 and Laister-Kauffmann TG-4A training gliders. The airport was then reassigned to Air Technical Service Command and used as a supply and maintenance depot until being returned to full civil control in October 1945.

Until 1962 GMU (then GRL) was the commercial airport for the Greenville area; in April 1957 it had 13 weekday departures on Eastern, four on Delta and four on Southern. Eastern had one nonstop to Richmond, but no other nonstops out of Greenville exceeded 200 miles.

Commercial service moved to Greenville-Spartanburg Airport when it opened October 15, 1962. It was from this airport that the fatal flight of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Convair 240 departed on October 20, 1977. The recently renovated terminal won a national award.


Greenville Downtown Airport covers 385 acres (156 ha) at an elevation of 1,048 feet (319 m). It has two asphalt runways: 1/19 is 5,393 by 100 feet (1,644 x 30 m) and 10/28 is 3,998 by 80 feet (1,219 x 24 m). It has two helipads, each concrete 50 by 50 feet (15 x 15 m).[1]

The Airport Commission recently completed extensive runway, taxiway, and apron improvements, a major terminal renovation, and construction of a new road that made additional land available for development.

Located at GMU are many companies that provide aviation services like aircraft rental and flight instruction, aircraft maintenance, helicopter services and flight instruction, aircraft management, fuel service, aircraft sales, air charter and air taxi services. See: for details.

GMU has a restaurant, the Runway Cafe. See: for details. GMU also has a public park where people can learn about aviation. See:

In 2016, the airport had 91,612 aircraft operations, average 412 per day: 65% general aviation, 32% air taxi, and 3% military. 410 aircraft are based at this airport.


The Greenville Downtown Airport is governed by a 5-person appointed Commission authorized by Act 919. Two appointees each from City and County Councils and one at-large serve three year terms.

Economic Impact[edit]

A recently completed statewide economic impact study for all of South Carolina's airports revealed that the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) has a significant economic impact:

Total Employment - 453 jobs
Total Payroll - $13.4 million
Total Economic Impact = $35.2 million

The report notes that GMU is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina with nearly 90,000 take-offs and landings annually and more than 410 based aircraft. (source: A report prepared for the South Carolina Aeronatuics Commission by Wilbur Smith Associates in May, 2006)


The FAA Southern Region recently selected GMU to receive its General Aviation Airport Safety Award. The award is presented to a general aviation airport in the Southeast that makes outstanding efforts to increase flight safety. GMU accomplished this by completing numerous safety-enhancing projects. Of particular note, GMU was the first general aviation airport in the nation to install an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) in the latter part of 2003. EMAS rapidly and safely decelerates aircraft that have overrun the active runway by utilizing energy absorbing material. In the summer of 2006, this system was credited with saving five passengers and a $20 million Falcon 900 jet that overran Runway 1 due to a brake malfunction.

The FAA Southern Region selected Joe Frasher, Airport Director of GMU, as the 2008 General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year. This award is presented to a general aviation airport manager in the Southeast who makes outstanding efforts to increase flight safety. Mr. Frasher was instrumental in completing numerous safety-enhancing projects at GMU over the last 26 years.

"The staff of the Greenville Downtown Airport is distinguished in its commitment to continually increasing flight safety," said Rusty Chapman, recently retired Manager of the Airports Division, FAA Southern Region. "They accomplished a significant number of safety upgrades while still successfully operating the state's busiest general aviation airport."

The award was presented to Mr. Frasher at the 2009 FAA Communications Conference in Atlanta on January 30, 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for GMU (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
  2. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on October 27, 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC

External links[edit]