Henderson Field (Midway Atoll)

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Henderson Field
Starr Andropogon virginicus.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerU.S. Dept. of the Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
OperatorAmerican Airports Corp.
(under sub-contract with Chugach Industries, Inc.)
ServesMidway Atoll
LocationSand Island, Midway Atoll
Elevation AMSL18 ft / 5 m
Coordinates28°12′05″N 177°22′53″W / 28.20139°N 177.38139°W / 28.20139; -177.38139Coordinates: 28°12′05″N 177°22′53″W / 28.20139°N 177.38139°W / 28.20139; -177.38139
Location on Sand Island. Former runways in gray.
Location on Sand Island. Former runways in gray.
PMDY is located in Pacific Ocean
Location in the Pacific Ocean
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 7,800 2,377 Asphalt

Henderson Field (IATA: MDY, ICAO: PMDY) is a public airport located on Sand Island in Midway Atoll, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The airport is used as an emergency diversion point for ETOPS operations.

Henderson Field was named after Major Lofton R. Henderson (killed in the Battle of Midway during WWII) and is one of three airfields so-named (the other two include the original Henderson Field on Eastern Island (Midway Atoll) and Henderson Field (Guadalcanal)). The airfield now provides access to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge - the sole "window" into the rich resources of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (established in 2006). It operated until 1993 as Naval Air Facility Midway.

After transition from the U.S. Navy to the Department of the Interior, the airport was subsidized by Boeing until 2004. Since 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has fully supported airport operations and maintenance with some assistance from the FAA.

Henderson Field is an uncontrolled airport (no tower). Flight arrivals and departures are typically limited to night during the months of November–June when albatross are present.[2] (Midway Atoll NWR is the world's largest nesting albatross colony.)

Past airline service[edit]

The airfield was previously served by Aloha Airlines with scheduled weekly charter flights to and from Honolulu using a Boeing 737-200 jetliner. In early 2000, Aloha began scheduled 737 passenger service between Midway Island and Honolulu.[3]

Continental Micronesia served Midway with Boeing 727-100 jetliners during the early 1970s although the airport was only used as an "operational stop" on this airline's westbound service from Honolulu to Guam.[4] The routing of these 727 flights was Honolulu - Midway Island - Kwajalein - Majuro - Ponape - Truk - Guam.[5]

During the early 1950s, the airfield was used as a technical stop by Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) for its Boeing 377 Stratocruiser propliners as part of Pan Am's round the world service from New York City to San Francisco via London, Frankfurt, Delhi, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Guam, Honolulu and other en route stops.[6]


Henderson Field covers 1,200 acres (486 ha) and has one runway:

  • Runway 6/24: 7,800 ft × 150 ft (2,377 m × 46 m), surface: asphalt[1]
Continental Airlines Boeing 737 at Midway to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, in 2008.


  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for MDY (Form 5010 PDF)
  2. ^ More details on AirportIQ 5010 (airport master records and reports)
  3. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Jan. 10, 2000 Aloha Airlines route map
  4. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Oct. 15, 1971 Air Micronesia system timetable
  5. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 31, 1971 Continental Airlines system timetable
  6. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, April 1, 1950 Pan American World Airways system timetable

External links[edit]