Fresno Yosemite International Airport

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Fresno Yosemite International Airport
Fresno Yosemite International Airport logo.png
Fresno airport CA - 17 Aug 1998.jpg
USGS aerial image, 1998
Airport type Public / Military
Owner City of Fresno
Operator City of Fresno Airports Division
Serves Fresno, California
Elevation AMSL 336 ft / 102 m
Coordinates 36°46′36″N 119°43′08″W / 36.77667°N 119.71889°W / 36.77667; -119.71889Coordinates: 36°46′36″N 119°43′08″W / 36.77667°N 119.71889°W / 36.77667; -119.71889
Runway Diagram
Runway Diagram
FAT is located in Fresno, California
FAT is located in California
FAT is located in the US
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11L/29R 9,539 2,907 Asphalt
11R/29L 8,008 2,441 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations 13,228
Passengers 805,252

Fresno Yosemite International Airport (IATA: FATICAO: KFATFAA LID: FAT), formerly Fresno Air Terminal, is a joint civil-military public airport in eastern Fresno, in Fresno County, California. Located approximately 64 miles south of Yosemite National Park on California State Route 41, it is the closest airfield to the Park with scheduled passenger airline jet service. Situated near California State Route 168 and California State Route 180, the airport covers 1,728 acres (699 ha). It maintains two runways and one helipad. Fresno Yosemite International is the air transport center for the San Joaquin Valley, with flights to several airline hubs in the western United States. International flights to Mexico are available through Aeroméxico and Volaris. The airport is also home to the Fresno Air National Guard Base and the 144th Fighter Wing (144 FW) of the California Air National Guard.


The airfield opened in June 1942. During World War II the airfield was known as Hammer Field and was used by the United States Army Air Forces' Fourth Air Force. Hammer Field was a training base and had three sub-bases and two gunnery ranges.

The airfield was renamed Fresno Air Terminal, and retained a military cantonment area for an Army Air Forces unit of the National Guard that became a unit of the Air National Guard when the U.S. Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947.

Today the California Air National Guard 144th Fighter Wing (144 FW) occupies two separate parcels of land at the airport—the main base area and the Munitions Storage Area. These areas of the airport are known as the Fresno Air National Guard Base.[3] This military unit currently operates F-15 "Eagle" jet fighters.

Passenger service to the Fresno Air Terminal started in 1947 when Trans World Airlines (TWA) and United Airlines flights to San Francisco/Oakland and Los Angeles moved from Chandler Field (now Fresno Chandler Executive Airport).

In 1988 the FAA designated the airport an "International Point of Entry," allowing international flights.

In 1996 the airport's name was changed from Fresno Air Terminal to Fresno Yosemite International Airport to attract out-of-state and international visitors to Yosemite National Park. Airport managers petitioned the FAA for a new identifier code to replace FAT, but were denied, with the FAA reaffirming its long standing policy to only issue a new airport identifier code when an airport physically moves to another location (such as in 1995 when Denver Airport moved from Stapleton).[4]

The airport was the first in the country to implement an anti-terrorist facial recognition system, shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Since its opening, the passenger terminal has gone through multiple renovations and expansions. In 2002, a new two-level concourse building designed by DMJM Aviation was completed and in 2006 construction of a new Federal Inspection Facility (FIS) for international arrivals was completed.[5]

Fresno Yosemite International features a 2.4 megawatt solar power system, completed in March 2008. The solar system was financed through a solar power purchase agreement, which required no capital outlay from the airport. The solar array is owned, operated, and maintained by Solar Power Partners and the airport purchases solar-generated electricity from the system. At the time of commissioning, the system was the largest airport solar system in the nation.

Airline service[edit]

Fresno has been the headquarters for at least three airlines. In the mid 1990s Air 21 flew Fokker F28 Fellowship jets to several destinations including nonstop to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and San Francisco, and direct to Colorado Springs.[6] Allegiant Air also called Fresno home but then moved its headquarters to Las Vegas. In 2000, Allegiant was operating McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jet service nonstop to Las Vegas and Long Beach.[7] Far West Airlines was also based in Fresno and in 1984 was operating a small intrastate hub at the airport with nonstop flights to the California destinations of Burbank, Los Angeles, Modesto, Oakland, Orange County, Sacramento and San Jose as well as one stop direct flights to Ontario via Burbank, all flown with 60-passenger seat NAMC YS-11 turboprop aircraft.[8]

United Airlines was a major player at the airport for many years, operating Boeing 727-100, Boeing 727-200, Boeing 737-200, Boeing 737-300 and Douglas DC-8 jets. United even flew stretched Douglas Super DC-8 series 61 (DC-8-61) flights to Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. With over 200 seats these DC-8-61s were the largest airliners ever scheduled into Fresno. In 1979, the airline was operating up to eleven mainline jet flights a day from Fresno with nonstop Boeing 727-200 service to Chicago and Denver as well as nonstop Boeing 727-200 and 737-200 service to Los Angeles and San Francisco.[9] United Airlines remains the longest continuously-operating carrier out of Fresno Yosemite International Airport with daily nonstop flights to Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco although all United service is currently flown by regional airline partner SkyWest with Canadair CRJ-200, CRJ-700 and Embraer E-175 regional jets operating as United Express via a code sharing agreement.[10] United has since announced it will resume mainline jet service to Fresno with nonstop Boeing 737-800 flights between the airport and San Francisco (SFO) effective August 15, 2017.[11]

Other airlines that operated jet service into Fresno from the mid 1960s through the 1990s included:

Pacific Air Lines was the first airline to schedule jets into Fresno when it initiated Boeing 727-100 service nonstop to both Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1966.

In the spring of 1975, three airlines were serving the airport with mainline jet service including Hughes Airwest with nonstop flights to Las Vegas and Sacramento, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) with nonstops to Los Angeles and Stockton as well as one stop service to San Francisco via Stockton and United Airlines with nonstops to Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Bakersfield with the Denver service being operated with a stretched Douglas DC-8-61 (Super DC-8) jetliner.[12]

By early 1985, five airlines were operating mainline jet service into Fresno including Jet America Airlines with nonstop flights to Chicago O'Hare Airport, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) with nonstops to Los Angeles and San Francisco, Republic Airlines (1979-1986) with nonstops to Phoenix and Sacramento, United Airlines with nonstops to San Francisco and Western Airlines with nonstops to Los Angeles and San Francisco.[13] According to the February 15, 1985 edition of the Official Airline Guide (OAG), two commuter air carriers were also serving the airport at this same time including Pacific Coast Airlines operating Handley Page Jetstream propjets nonstop to Bakersfield, Sacramento and Santa Barbara, and WestAir Commuter Airlines flying Cessna 402 prop aircraft as well as Short 330 turboprops nonstop to Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose. WestAir would later serve Fresno with British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jets operating as United Express.

In the 1990s there was a shift to smaller regional jet and turboprop aircraft; however, mainline jets still serve Fresno. Mainline jet aircraft currently serving Fresno include Boeing 737-800 service nonstop to Dallas/Fort Worth operated by American Airlines. Allegiant Air flies McDonnell Douglas MD80s nonstop to Las Vegas and Phoenix/Mesa and was also operating Boeing 757-200 nonstops to Honolulu before ceasing service to Hawaii from the airport. Aeroméxico flies Boeing 737s while Volaris operates Airbus A319s with both airlines flying nonstop to Guadalajara, Mexico. Delta Air Lines had announced new flights to Fresno from Atlanta; however, this service was then cancelled before it began. The current version of Frontier Airlines was flying nonstop Airbus A319 service to Denver three days a week but has since abandoned this service.

Direct international service from Fresno briefly ended when Mexicana ceased operations in August 2010 to Guadalajara International Airport, Mexico. International flights resumed less than a year later when Volaris and Aeroméxico added service to Fresno from Guadalajara in April 2011.[14][15]

Fresno is the largest city in the continental United States not served by Southwest Airlines. Morris Air operated Boeing 737-300s into the airport but ceased all service after the airline was acquired by Southwest Airlines.[16]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

False sequoia trees inside the terminal
Check-in counters

Fresno Yosemite International Airport covers 1,728 acres (699 ha) at an elevation of 336 ft (102 m) above mean sea level, with two paved asphalt runways: 11L/29R (primary) and 11R/29L (secondary). Runway 11L/29R is 9,539 by 150 ft (2,907 by 46 m), and runway 11R/29L is 8,008 by 150 ft (2,441 by 46 m).[1]

Completed in 2010, CSHQA designed the $10 million Terminal Building Expansion and Remodel – The portion included a multi-phased rehabilitation of the ticketing lobby, central lobby (including the unique sequoia forest exhibit), the rental car counter areas, and the expansion of baggage claim. The enhanced ticket lobby incorporates an open floor plan with high ceiling interiors; houses all airline ticket counters in the same space; provides large open common use baggage screening and processing rooms, and introduces a more high tech image through the use of LCD screen displays and other material and lighting elements. The central lobby area includes the "sense of place" Sequoia Treescape project. The expanded baggage claim area accommodates higher capacity equipment, and provides more circulation space for travelers.[17]

A US$30 million construction project was completed in October 2012 to widen, lengthen and strengthen secondary runway 11R/29L.[18]

For the year ending September 30, 2009 the airport had 143,945 aircraft operations, an average of 394 per day: 65% general aviation, 18% air taxi, 10% scheduled commercial, and 8% military. At that time there were 195 aircraft based at the airport: 47% single-engine, 23% multi-engine, 6% jet, 11% helicopter and 13% military.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

A United Express Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia at the airport in 2013


Airlines Destinations
Aeroméxico Guadalajara
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Seasonal: San Diego
Alaska Airlines
operated by SkyWest Airlines
Portland (OR), San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma
Allegiant Air Las Vegas
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth
Seasonal: Phoenix –Sky Harbor
American Eagle Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Delta Connection Salt Lake City
Frontier Airlines Denver (begins May 22, 2018)[19]
United Airlines San Francisco[20]
United Express Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Volaris Guadalajara


Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Oakland, Santa Maria, Visalia
FedEx Express Denver, Grand Junction, Memphis, Oakland[21]
Seasonal: Los Angeles[22]
UPS Airlines Ontario
Seasonal: Louisville[23]


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from FAT (June 2016 – May 2017)[24]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Phoenix, Arizona 106,000 American, American Eagle
2 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 95,000 American
3 Los Angeles, California 88,000 American Eagle, United Express
4 Denver, Colorado 64,000 United Express
5 San Francisco, California 58,000 United Express
6 Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 56,000 Alaska
7 Las Vegas, Nevada 54,000 Allegiant
8 Salt Lake City, Utah 52,000 Delta Connection
9 San Diego, California 46,000 Alaska
10 Portland, Oregon 26,000 Alaska

Annual passenger traffic[edit]

In 2016, Fresno Yosemite International Airport had 1,540,623 departing and arriving passengers, representing a 10% increase from 2015.[25]

In 2015, Fresno Yosemite International Airport totaled 1,408,922 passengers, marking a notable 21% increase in passengers since 2009.[26]

In 2014, 1,442,026 passengers flew through Fresno Yosemite International Airport, breaking the previous record from 2013.[27]

In 2013, 1,401,582 passengers arrived and departed through Fresno Yosemite International Airport, exceeding the previous record of 1,318,493 passengers in 2007 by 6.3%. This increase is contributed to the introduction of larger jet aircraft and new destinations. Flights to and from Fresno Yosemite International Airport averaged a load factor of 82% in 2013.[28]

In 2011 over 1.2 million passengers traveled through Fresno Yosemite International Airport, a 6.4% increase from 2010.

Fresno completed 2006 with 1.281 million passengers traveling through Fresno Yosemite International Airport, an increase of 7.54% over 2005.

Fresno completed 2007 with 1.382 million passengers traveling through Fresno Yosemite International Airport, an increase of 3.13% over 2006.

Military and government operations[edit]

The 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard is based out of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.[29] The California Army National Guard also maintains an Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot (AVCRAD) at the airport. The mission of this unit is to perform high level maintenance and repair on Army aircraft. Its jurisdiction covers a 15-state region in the Western United States.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry operate an Air Attack Base at the airport for fighting forest fires with aerial tankers.

Ground transportation and access[edit]


The airport is located about a mile away from California State Route 180 (SR 180), with vehicles using Peach Avenue to connect between the airport and the highway. California State Route 180 connects to all of the other freeways in the Fresno area, California State Route 41, California State Route 99, and California State Route 168. Yosemite National Park can be accessed by California State Route 41 and Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park can be accessed by California State Route 180.


The city of Fresno offers paid on-site parking in a large lot located just west of the airport. The lot is divided into a short term area with 283 stalls and a long term area with 1879 stalls.[30] There is also a separate cell phone waiting lot located off the airport's main driveway with 47 stalls, designated for drivers waiting for arriving passengers.[30]

Public transportation[edit]

Fresno Area Express (FAX) operates two public transit buses to the airport, each with half-hourly service.[31] Route 26 Palm / Butler runs between the airport and North Fresno via Southeast and Downtown Fresno (where passengers may transfer to other FAX routes). Route 39 FYI/Clinton runs between the airport and West Fresno.

The City of Visalia operates the V-Line bus between the airport and the Visalia Transit Center (where passengers can connect to Visalia Transit routes) and the Visalia Airport (which offers V-Line passengers free long-term parking for up to ten days).[32][33]

Rental car facility[edit]

The airport offers a consolidated rental car facility at the north end of the terminal. Eight rental car companies have passenger service counters inside the terminal in the baggage claim area and up to 400 cars can parked in a lot just north of the terminal building.[34] The 11-acre rental car facility opened in 2009 and was built at a cost of US $22 million which will be paid for by fees on car rentals.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On September 13, 2015, an MD-87 of Aero Air LLC had an engine failure after taking off from Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Pieces of the engine struck a car, damaging it. The aircraft was able to return to the airport safely.[35]

On December 14, 1994, a private jet on a military training mission, attempting to land at Fresno, crashed on a Fresno street and careened into a crowded apartment complex. The plane, piloted by two civilians and belonging to a Georgia-based company, Phoenix Air, had finished chasing an F-16 fighter during a war game shortly before noon. The plane was returning to the Fresno airport when the crew radioed the tower about engine trouble. The aircraft attempted to land on a city street, however struck several power poles and then crashed into an apartment complex on Olive Ave. Both crew members, and at least one person on the ground were killed; however, the exact number of ground fatalities is still currently unknown.[36]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for FAT (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective March 10, 2011.
  2. ^ "Statistics". Fresno Yosemite International Airport. January 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Inside the 144th FW". 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard. 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ Fresno Yosemite International (2010). "Frequently Asked Questions". City of Fresno. Archived from the original on March 20, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Decade in Review: Top 10 in Fresno Architecture". archop. December 31, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Air 21 Mar. 4, 1996 system timetable and route map". 
  7. ^, June 1, 2000 Allegiant Air route map
  8. ^, Sept. 17, 1984 route map
  9. ^, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Fresno schedules
  10. ^, system timetable
  11. ^, Fresno-San Francisco schedules
  12. ^, April 15, 1975 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Fresno flight schedules
  13. ^, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Fresno flight schedules
  14. ^ "Volaris to Start Flying from FYI to Mexico". WorldNow / KMPH. March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  15. ^ Sheehan, Tim (March 10, 2011). "Aeroméxico to start Fresno flights April 4". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  16. ^ Sheryl (June 18, 2011). "Test Your Knowledge of Southwest Airlines on Their 40th Birthday Which is Today". Flyertalk. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ Roebbelen Contracting
  18. ^ "Airports $35 Million Improvements Award Provide Economic Boost to Valley" (Press release). Fresno Yosemite International Airport. September 29, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats: Fresno, CA: Fresno Yosemite International (FAT)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Security Check Required". Facebook. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Fresno Air National Guard Base". Global Security. 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  30. ^ a b "Parking map". Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Department of Transportation | FAX Routes & Schedules". Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Visalia Transit rolls out V-Line service". Visalia Times-Delta. November 17, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  33. ^ "V-LINE | Your connection to Fresno from Visalia". Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Rental Car Facility (ConRAC) at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport (FAT)". PGAL. March 8, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Report that pieces of metal fell from Erickson MD-87 air tanker over Fresno, California". Fire Aviation. 
  36. ^ "At Least 3 Killed as Plane Crashes on Fresno Street : Accident: Learjet has engine trouble while returning to airport. It slams into apartment complex, creating grim scene of destruction.". latimes. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Fresno Yosemite International Airport at Wikimedia Commons