Lake Tahoe Airport

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Lake Tahoe Airport
Airport type Public
Operator The City of South Lake Tahoe
Location South Lake Tahoe, California
Elevation AMSL 6,269 ft / 1,911 m
Coordinates 38°53′38″N 119°59′43″W / 38.89389°N 119.99528°W / 38.89389; -119.99528Coordinates: 38°53′38″N 119°59′43″W / 38.89389°N 119.99528°W / 38.89389; -119.99528
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 8,541 2,603 Asphalt

Lake Tahoe Airport (IATA: TVLICAO: KTVLFAA LID: TVL) is a public airport three miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe, in El Dorado County, California. This general aviation airport covers 348 acres (141 ha) and has one runway. The airport is sometimes called Tahoe Valley Airport.

This high elevation airport in the Sierra Nevada just south of Lake Tahoe opened in 1959 with a 5900-ft runway. Starting in 1963 it had few airline flights: the first were Paradise Airlines Lockheed L-049 Constellations. Paradise ceased operations after a fatal accident in the mountains near Lake Tahoe and Pacific Air Lines arrived in 1964 with Fairchild F-27 turboprops. In 1966 Pacific started operating the first jet service into Lake Tahoe with Boeing 727-100s flying a Los Angeles (LAX)-San Jose-Lake Tahoe roundtrip schedule. This lasted less than a year, and Tahoe did not see scheduled jets again until 1983. Following cessation of the Pacific 727 service, a ban on passenger airline jet operations at the airport was initiated. Pacific Air Lines resumed Fairchild F-27 service and successors Air West and Hughes Airwest then continued Fairchild F-27 turboprop flights until the early 1970s. For a number of years, air carriers had to use turboprop powered aircraft for their service into Lake Tahoe due to the jet ban.

Holiday Airlines Lockheed L-188 Electras served Lake Tahoe in the 1960s and early 1970s, followed by Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) and Air California (later AirCal) Electras starting in 1975. PSA dropped Lake Tahoe in 1979, as did Air California a few months later. The replacements were Aspen Airways and Cal Sierra Airlines both flying Convair 580s, and Golden Gate Airlines and Golden West Airlines both with STOL capable de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7s. Pacific Coast Airlines (formerly Apollo Airways) served the airport with Handley Page Jetstreams while Gulf Air Transport gambling charters used Electras. Another turboprop operator was Royal American Airways with the Vickers Viscount.[1]

The ban on airline jets then ended, and jet service resumed in 1983 with AirCal operating McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and later Boeing 737-300s. AirCal flew nonstop to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, CA and direct to Burbank and Orange County. In 1987 a daily AirCal 737-300 was scheduled direct to Chicago O'Hare Airport via San Francisco and Orange County. American Airlines acquired AirCal in 1987 and continued to serve Lake Tahoe with the former AirCal 737-300s but soon switched to regional partner American Eagle with Saab 340s and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners into the 1990s. American was the only major airline ever to serve Lake Tahoe. At one point Reno Air flew McDonnell Douglas MD-80s nonstop to Los Angeles; other jets included British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Elevens operating nonscheduled casino charters.

In 1999 Casino Express Airlines operating as Tahoe Air started low fare Boeing 737-200s nonstop to San Jose and Los Angeles (LAX). Allegiant Air flew Douglas DC-9 nonstops to Burbank, Fresno, Las Vegas and Long Beach around this time, but the airport apparently could not support two jet airlines and Tahoe Air continued their flights while Allegiant discontinued all service and subsequently evolved into a low fare air carrier that is still currently in business. Tahoe Air then experienced financial problems and ceased operations later that year. Lake Tahoe has not had scheduled passenger flights since, and the area is now served by Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Sacramento International Airport.

Former airline service[edit]

Airlines in bold flew jets to Lake Tahoe. All of the following destinations were served nonstop or direct:


External links[edit]