Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport

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Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport
Laughlin Bullhead International Airport Logo.png
Airport typePublic
OwnerMohave County
OperatorMohave County Airport Authority
ServesBullhead City, Arizona
Laughlin, Nevada
LocationMohave County, Arizona
Elevation AMSL707 ft / 215 m
Coordinates35°09′22″N 114°33′34″W / 35.15611°N 114.55944°W / 35.15611; -114.55944Coordinates: 35°09′22″N 114°33′34″W / 35.15611°N 114.55944°W / 35.15611; -114.55944
IFP is located in Arizona
IFP is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16/34 8,500 2,591 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations26,726
Based aircraft22

Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IATA: IFP[2], ICAO: KIFP, FAA LID: IFP) is a public use airport located 1.15 miles (1.00 nmi; 1.85 km) north of the central business district of Bullhead City, in Mohave County, Arizona, United States.[1] It is owned by Mohave County.[1] The airport is across the Colorado River and one block away from Laughlin, Nevada. Many of the rooms at Laughlin's casino-hotels offer a view of the airport. It was named 2011 Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation.[3]

This facility is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).[4] As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 122,192 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[5] 107,595 enplanements in 2009, and 121,468 in 2010.[6]


In 1943 land was purchased from the state of Arizona for construction of Davis Dam power plant that was initiated by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1947. In 1943 the airport is established on Bureau of Land Management property about two miles south of the Davis Dam power plant construction site. The employees of the Davis Dam project graded and used the airport. In 1953 the dam was completed and residential development commenced in Bullhead City, Lake Mohave and Mohave Valley areas. Mohave County leases the Bullhead City Airport from BLM in 1968 and in 1971 the county subleases a portion of the Bullhead Airport to Bullhead Airport Inc which was a private enterprise which provided Fixed Based Operation Services (FBO). In 1972 ADOT provided a $15,000 grant to aid in an airport improvement project for runway relocation, drainage, marking, lighting and fencing and in 1979 a new 25-year lease for the entire 135 acre airport is negotiated by the county with the newly formed Mohave County Airport Authority. In 1980 Bullhead Airport Inc. sublease is renegotiated and ADOT provides $91,000 to overlay the old aircraft parking apron and extend it to the north. The FBO provided $10,000 to make other facility improvements. In 1983 BLM transfers airport property to the state of Arizona and in 1986 the Arizona State Land Department sold property that included the airport parcel to Bullhead Airport Inc through public auction with two stipulations. Also In the 1980s It housed both Airwolf helicopters. The first being that the buyer would have to dedicate 433 acres to Mohave County for airport use and the buyer would need to complete a flood control project within two years of land purchase. In 1987 FAA and ADOT grants and entitlements are used to commence construction and Mohave County Airport Authority forms two executive committees, one for Kingman and one for Bullhead /Laughlin.

Bullhead Airport (circa 1940s)

Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was the "Bullhead City Airport" until the 1990s, when such airlines as Air Laughlin, Vanguard Airlines, Viscount Air Services and others offered Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9 flights from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. In 1994, Morris Air was operating nonstop Boeing 737-300 service to Oakland, Salt Lake City and San Jose.[7] Reno Air McDonnell Douglas MD-80s flew there briefly in 1995 and 1996 from San Jose International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. Most of this air service would be accompanied by hotel packages. For a short time USAir Express de Havilland Canada Dash 8s flew to Los Angeles International Airport. FedEx Express became the airport's main cargo airline during that decade.

In 2002 Sun Country decided to start service to Bullhead City from Minneapolis. The airline ultimately decided to make Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport a hub for the American Southwestern region. In 2004 Ryan International Airlines returned the jet services from the Phoenix area, beginning to fly to Bullhead City from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, using MD-82 airplanes. There was service on Western Express Air to Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (Arizona) and Riverside Municipal Airport (California) but that ended when that airline ceased operations at the end of May 2007.[8]

In 2008 the airport got a multimillion-dollar expansion and a heightened security system. In the same year, the largest aircraft to visit the airport, a Boeing 747SP, landed on the recently expanded runway.[9]

In March 2010 the airport hosted "Legends Over the Colorado", an air show with additional displays of an original Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress from World War II. The plane is part of the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that has fully restored the B-17 Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey. Also on display was a North American T-6 Texan and 4 other warbirds.

On April 9–10, 2011, Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport held the second annual "Legends Over The Colorado". The main attraction was "FIFI", the only flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress in the world along with two North American P-51 Mustangs, a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero, and several other World War II era warbirds.

On July 20, 2011 marked the opening of the new baggage claim building connected to the main terminal.

More than 109,000 people flew into Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on casino-sponsored chartered flights in 2016.

On February 16, 2017, scheduled commercial service returned to KIFP. American Airlines/American Eagle started daily flights to and from Phoenix. That service proved unprofitable and was later dropped.


Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport covers an area of 650 acres (260 ha) at an elevation of 707 ft (215 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 16/34 with an asphalt surface measuring 8,500 ft × 150 ft (2,591 m × 46 m).[1] The runway was recently reconstructed.[10] Paid for by grants, actual site preparation was due to begin in 2013, and the date of completion was set for some time in 2013.[11] Site preparation and drainage for extend runway 16/34 1000 ft. was completed in early 2016. Phase 2 of the Runway 16/34 & Taxiway extension project was completed in early 2017, which included a 1000 ft extension of the runway and taxiway A, the addition of taxiway A9, and electrical improvements. Runway 16/34 is now 8,500 ft x 150 ft.

A 8,500-by-75-foot (2,591 m × 23 m) taxiway extends the length of the Runway, connected seven taxiways. Taxiway A3, a high speed taxiway, is often used when landing to the north on Runway 34 as it leads to the terminal apron.[12]

A rotating beacon is located to the east of the runway near mid-field, on top of the Air Traffic Control Tower. The beacon operates during night hours, and when instrument meteorological conditions exist at the airport. The Runway and Taxiways have medium intensity lighting systems (MILS). Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL) are at each end of the runway, as well as lights showing the end of the threshold. A Precision Approach Path Indicator system is at each end. “Lighted airfield signs at [IFP] are at aircraft hold positions, taxiway intersections, and at the intersection of the connecting taxiways and runways”.[12] There are also mandatory hold signs. The medium intensity runway lighting can be turned on by a pilot clicking the radio transmission button in the cockpit. Airfield markings control the traffic efficiently on the ground. Runway 16/34 has centerline, threshold markings, aiming points, and runway designation markings. Taxiways have hold short markings before runway intersections and centerlines. The Airport's aprons have centerlines to control traffic and designated tie down areas. A segmented circle is located to the west of the runway, mid-field, for visual reference on how a pilot should fly the traffic pattern for the Runway.[12]

IFP has a couple features that allow pilots in the area be better informed of weather at the airport. Both of them provide accurate and up-to-date weather information. There are three lighted wind socks that show wind directions and approximate speed. Also, an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) was installed in 2007 and records weather data such as “wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, variable wind direction, temperature, dew point, altimeter setting, density altitude, visibility, variable visibility, precipitation, sky condition, and cloud height”.[12] The AWOS data can be heard in an aircraft if the pilot tunes into 119.825 on the radio controls.[10]

Three main navigational aids assist pilots with navigation: very high frequency omnidirectional range facilities (VOR), a Loran-C, and a global positioning system (GPS). These can only be used with properly equipped aircraft. Although IFP does not have a VOR on the field, there are three at airports nearby: Kingman VOR/DME (distance measuring equipment) is to the east, Needles VORTAC (military tactical air navigational aids) is to the south, and Goffs VORTAC is to the west. GPS does not need facilities on the ground for navigational guidance because it uses satellites orbiting the earth to triangulate the aircraft's position. Loran-C basically works the same way as a GPS, but with ground-based facilities around the country. Therefore, IFP does not have any navigational aids on the Airport property.[12]

IFP has three instrument approaches. Runway 16 has a GPS approach. Runway 34 has a GPS approach and a VOR approach using the Needles VORTAC. The GPS approach provides vertical guidance as well as course (horizontal) guidance. The Needles VORTAC approach only gives pilots course guidance. Runway 34's GPS approach provides the lowest minimums for the Airport. The FAA approach plate for this instrument approach is shown in Appendix B. The GPS LPV approach allows aircraft to come down to about 640 feet above ground level (AGL).[10] All landing traffic in VFR weather is kept to the west of the airfield. So, right turning traffic for Runway 16 and left turning traffic for Runway 34.[12] An airport traffic control tower is used to control traffic on the ground at IFP and in the vicinity. It is only operational from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Mountain Standard Time, which is their local time zone. The control tower is stationed at about midfield on the east side. When the control tower is closed, area traffic use the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). During Non-Towered hours, landing traffic operating under instrument flight rules (IFR) are controlled by the Los Angeles air route traffic control facility.[12]

There are numerous landside facilities at IFP. A terminal that has ticket sales, security screening, rental car services, and airport administration is on the north side of the apron, connected to the departure holdroom by a covered walkway. There are no actual gates. Passengers walk out to their planes from the holdroom. Both of those use a pair of parking lots that have about 400 spaces. A rescue and firefighting building holds a rescue/firefighting vehicle as well as maintenance vehicles. There are also a charter bus loading area, a fuel farm owned and operated by Signature Flight Support which offers Jet A and 100LL, and 34 hangars ranging widely in sizes.[12]

Fixed-base operator[edit]

Signature Flight Support

Rental car companies[edit]

The airport is home to three car rental companies: Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz.

Airport fire department[edit]

Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport Fire Department

In October 1991, Station 4 at the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was opened and was manned full-time by Bullhead City Fire Department. In 1997, the airport authority established its own fire department. There are six firefighters employed by the airport, and the station is manned twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. As of July 2011, a design is being completed for a newly constructed airport fire station.[13] In September 2011, the Mohave County Airport Authority was awarded two airport improvement grants totaling $7.6 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. One of the grants is for construction of a new facility for aircraft rescue and fire fighting operations and purchase of a new fire truck.[14]


For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2016, the airport had 26,726 aircraft operations, an average of 73 per day: 23% general aviation, 9% air taxi, 4% scheduled commercial, and 64% military. At that time there were 22 aircraft based at this airport: 69% single-engine, 17% helicopter, 14% multi-engine, and 0% jet.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

There is currently no scheduled commercial air service to or from the airport.


Carrier shares: (Nov 2016 – Oct 2017)
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
American Eagle/Skywest

In popular culture[edit]

The airport is seen as the departing airport for a "Sierra Airlines" flight to Fresno in the opening scenes of the 2003 comedy film View from the Top.


  1. ^ a b c d e FAA Airport Master Record for IFP (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
  2. ^ "IATA Airport Code Search (IFP: Bullhead City / Laughlin Bullhead Intl)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  3. ^ "Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport". Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
  5. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
  6. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
  7. ^, Jan. 17, 1994 Morris Air route map
  8. ^ Western Air Express (official site)
  9. ^ "Photos: Boeing 747SP-31 Aircraft Pictures". Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c "IFP - Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport". SkyVector. October 23, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h IFP Airport master plan, 2009
  13. ^ "News & Press Releases". Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  14. ^ "Airport authority receives FAA grants". Mohave Valley Daily News. September 19, 2011.

External links[edit]