Long Island MacArthur Airport

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Long Island MacArthur Airport
Long Island MacArthur Airport Logo.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorTown of Islip
ServesIslip, Long Island
Location100 Arrival Avenue
Ronkonkoma, New York, U.S.
Time zoneEST (UTC−05:00)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL99 ft / 30 m
Coordinates40°47′43″N 073°06′01″W / 40.79528°N 73.10028°W / 40.79528; -73.10028
ISP is located in New York
Location of airport in New York / United States
ISP is located in the United States
ISP (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 7,006 2,135 Asphalt
15L/33R 3,175 968 Asphalt
15R/33L 5,186 1,581 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 50 15 Asphalt
H2 50 15 Asphalt
Aircraft operations (2016)124,154
Based aircraft (2018)247
Departing Passengers (12 months ending Sep 2018)851,000

Long Island MacArthur Airport (formerly known as Islip Airport) (IATA: ISP, ICAO: KISP, FAA LID: ISP) is a public airport in Ronkonkoma, New York on Long Island. The Town of Islip owns and operates the airport, which serves about two million commercial passengers a year, as well as general aviation. Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA) covers 1,311 acres (531 ha) and has three runways and two helipads.[1]

Entrance sign to the airport

Located between Montauk Point, which is 72 miles (116 km) to the east, and Manhattan, which is 60[3] miles (97 km) to the west, MacArthur Airport serves the suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties as an alternative to the JFK and LaGuardia airports – both in the borough of Queens in New York City.[4] Shuttle buses connect the airport to the Ronkonkoma Railroad Station.

The FAA designated LIMA an Official Metro Airport in early 2011,[5] meaning it is now grouped with LaGuardia, JFK and Newark in travel and informational searches for New York airports, providing better exposure to the traveling public. MacArthur Airport, which does not share the congested airspace of the city-centric airports, has an exceptional record of on-time performance. During 2009, 83.6% of flights arrived on time and 85.6% of flights departed on time.[6]

During 2017, the airport served more than 1.29 million commercial passengers.[6] In 2016, the airport had 124,154 aircraft operations, an average of 340 per day; 84% general aviation; 7% scheduled commercial; 6% air taxi and 2% military. In July 2018, there were 247 aircraft based at this airport: 141 single-engine, 30 multi-engine, 36 jets, 31 helicopters, and 9 military.[1] The Town-owned Foreign Trade Zone is next to the airport property.


In April 1942, the Town of Islip contracted with the federal government to build an airfield on town-owned land for military use.[7] Within months the Civil Aeronautics Administration – predecessor to today's Federal Aviation Administration – funded construction of three paved runways. Originally named Islip Airport, at the suggestion of Charles H. Duryea, a local elected official, the airport was renamed MacArthur Airport after General Douglas MacArthur, whose dramatic escape from the Philippines had captured the attention of the world.[7]

In 1944 Lockheed Aircraft Corporation built the first hangar at the airport. Five years later the Town built the airport's first terminal building preparing for airline flights. Through the 1950s the Sperry Corporation conducted aerospace research at the airport.

In 1960 Allegheny Airlines (AL) was the first airline to operate scheduled passenger service with flights from the airfield to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.. The March 1961 Official Airline Guide lists five weekday Convair 440 propliner departures: a nonstop to Washington National, one to Baltimore, and three flights direct to Boston via several stops. The General Douglas MacArthur Terminal was completed in 1966. In 1967, Mohawk Airlines began operating two Fairchild Hiller FH-227 turboprop flights a day to Bridgeport and Albany and beyond with one of these flights continuing on to Toronto. By 1969, Mohawk was flying British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven jet service nonstop to Syracuse.[8] In 1972, the airline was continuing to operate nonstop flights to Albany with direct service to Buffalo and Rochester.[9] Mohawk would subsequently be merged into Allegheny Airlines.

In 1971 American began operating nonstop Boeing 727-100 jet service to Chicago O'Hare Airport. By 1974, Allegheny had introduced jet service as well with British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 twin jets with nonstop flights to Albany and Washington D.C. National Airport, and direct jet flights to Burlington, VT, Cincinnati and Detroit with the airline continuing to operate Convair 580 turboprop flights nonstop to Albany, Boston, Bridgeport and Washington D.C. in addition to direct Convair 580 service to Buffalo and Rochester.[10] Allegheny would be renamed USAir which then became US Airways with these respective airlines operating service into the airport for many years before US Airways was merged into American.

According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), the following airlines operated scheduled passenger jet service into Long Island MacArthur nonstop from the following destinations at various times from the late 1960s to the late 1990s with specific jet aircraft types operated over the years by each air carrier into the airport being noted as well:[11][8]

In addition, Southwest was serving the airport by 1999 with nonstop Boeing 737-700 jet service to Baltimore, MD, Chicago Midway Airport, Nashville, TN and Tampa, FL.[14]

Most of the above airlines ceased serving the Long Island MacArthur over the years; however, between 1999 and 2009 passenger traffic grew with the airport now serving about two million passengers a year via flights operated by three air carriers: Southwest, Frontier and US Airways Express with the latter now operating as American Eagle Airlines following the merger of US Airways with American

A number of commuter and regional airlines also served the airport at various times from the late 1970s to the late 1990s including Allegheny Commuter, Altair Airlines, Atlantic Coast Airlines operating as United Express, Business Express Airlines operating as Delta Connection, Continental Express, Empire Airlines (1976-1985), Mall Airways, Metro Airlines Northeast operating as Trans World Express, Mohawk Airlines (a later commuter air carrier version), NewAir and its predecessor New Haven Airways, Piedmont Regional Airlines operating on behalf of Piedmont Airlines (1948-1989), Pilgrim Airlines, Precision Airlines operating as Northwest Airlink, Ransome Airlines and USAir Express and its successor US Airways Express.[15] According to the OAG, turboprop and prop aircraft types operated by these smaller airlines into the airport included the ATR-42, Beechcraft 99, Beechcraft 1900C, British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7, de Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8, Dornier 228, Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, Nord 262, Piper Navajo, Saab 340, Short 330, Short 360 and Swearingen Metro.

In 1994, Continental Express was operating ATR-42 turboprop service nonstop between the airport and the Continental Airlines hub located at Newark Airport.[16] By 1999 Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) flying as Delta Connection was operating Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet service nonstop to the Delta Air Lines hub in Atlanta while Comair, also flying as Delta Connection, was operating Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet service nonstop to the Delta Air Lines hub in Cincinnati. Also in 1999, Continental Express was flying Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets nonstop to the Continental Airlines hub in Cleveland.[14]

In later years, Continental Express continued to serve the airport with nonstop regional jet flights to Cleveland while Continental Connection was operating nonstop turboprop flights to Albany, NY; however, both services ended in 2005. Spirit Airlines scheduled flights to several Florida cities and Detroit, before moving to LaGuardia Airport in 2001; in May 2008 the airline resumed service to Fort Lauderdale from MacArthur only to drop it soon after.[17][18] Delta Express, which had nonstops to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, dropped MacArthur Airport in 2003 after a decline in traffic. Delta Connection regional jet service to Atlanta flown by Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) on behalf of Delta Air Lines ended on May 1, 2008 following a mid-April announcement that Delta and Northwest Airlines were planning to merge – a move that led to changes for the merged airline.

As of January 2014 Southwest was operating year-round non-stops to Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, and seasonal service to Fort Myers. Allegiant Air previously operated two weekly flights on a seasonal basis to Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, FL. with McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliners but no longer serves the airport. PenAir began operating two daily nonstop flights to Boston in July 2013, but stopped flying to MacArthur a year later. The only legacy carrier currently serving the airport is American Airlines with Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet code share flights operated by its American Eagle Airlines regional air carrier affiliate Piedmont Airlines to Philadelphia. Service to Washington–National ended on July 2, 2014, after the merger between US Airways and American. The newly merged airline had to cut service to 17 cities from Washington–National because of an antitrust lawsuit preventing the airline from monopolizing slots at National Airport. American Airlines then reapplied for nonstop service between MacArthur Airport and Washington–National when two slots opened up at the airport. However, it was confirmed in early 2015 that the airline lost the bid for these two slots.[19]

Passenger enplanements and operations[edit]

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks MacArthur Airport saw a 25% decrease in passenger traffic. Passenger traffic later increased, but they decreased again in 2006. Charts depicting annual operations and passenger enplanements are in Appendix C and D. In the year 2005 MacArthur Airport had 173,135 total operations; during this year 1,055,832 passenger were enplaned, 7.07% more than 2004. In 2006 MacArthur had 189,390 total operations with 1,138,061 passenger enplanements. The year 2007 brought total operations at MacArthur down to 184,760 but passenger enplanements increased to 1,167,515, MacArthur's highest enplanements in the last 6 years. In 2008, total operations at MacArthur were 179,230 and passenger enplanements were down to 1,048,768; in 2009, 159,736 total operations and 929,902 passenger enplanements. From 2005 to 2009 almost every category of MacArthur's operations has declined: airline, military, air taxi, and general aviation. A recent figure was released citing a 46.4% decrease from 2007 to 2012, the most loss in any small hub airport.[20]

Growth in the 21st century[edit]

FAA Airport Diagram of MacArthur Airport
Airport front drive
Construction of the new control tower on the left started in 2008 and was completed in 2010, replacing the earlier tower on the right, which was built in 1962.[21]
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 departing on Runway 24

Established about midway through the 20th century, by the end of the century MacArthur Airport had been completely transformed. Growth and expansion continued in the early years of the 21st century, but by 2014 the airport was experiencing financial difficulties.[22]

In 2004 MacArthur Airport embarked on an expansion that included a Southwest Airlines terminal built by the airline at a cost of $65 million. Phase one of the expansion included four gates to be used by Southwest, as well as space for shops and restaurants. Phase two, completed in November 2006, added four more gates for a total of eight new gates. Prior to the expansion project, passengers had to pass back through the ticketing area of the airport to reach the baggage claim area. With the completion of Phase two, the new concourse provided a more convenient exit point to baggage claim, ground transportation, and the airport's roadway exit. Nevertheless, the location of the baggage claim area still requires most travelers using the airport's long-term parking lots to still pass back through the ticketing area of the airport to reach their vehicles.

A major proponent of the airport's 2004–2006 expansion projects was Peter J. McGowan, then the Islip Town Supervisor; the new concourse was named after McGowan. The terminal was renamed Veterans Memorial Concourse in homage to Long Island's distinction as home to more military veterans than almost any other community in the United States.[citation needed]

The 2004 expansion was built without state approvals and in violation of fire and safety codes, which resulted in a scandal.[23][24]

A new control tower was completed in 2010 and opened in 2011 to replace the outdated tower built in the early sixties. In 2010 a new state-of-the-art Fuel Farm will increase the airport's jet fuel supply. The airport has plans to reconfigure the roadway in front of the terminal; another taxiway is planned along with other airfield projects using FAA airport improvement program funds. Development of the airport's West Side, home to a thriving general aviation sector, will get underway in late 2010.

While the airport continues to expand it has added numerous amenities, including free courtesy cell phone parking (located in the rear of Lot 6B). In November 2009 MacArthur Airport became the only airport in the Tri-state region to offer free wireless in the entire terminal and in the courtesy cell phone parking lot.[25] In addition, the airport launched several tools designed to provide up-to-date information to travelers, including: the airport's first official Website – www.flyLIMA.com. All passenger food catering within the airport terminal is provided by HMSHost, which operates five restaurants.

In March 2017, plans were announced to build a U.S. Customs Station at MacArthur Airport by the end of 2019 with help from financial assistance from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. This will be an attempt at making MacArthur an international destination and at enticing airlines to add MacArthur to their destinations. Beginning in late March, a marketing campaign is to be undertaken by the Town Of Islip to announce the revival of the airport. This will include advertisements on public transportation, digital marketing, and radio spots. In years past, previous campaigns have targeted airlines. This time, the $180 million campaign focus will be on potential passengers and commuters. A new logo and slogan will be announced in the future, as well. The thought process is that by attracting more passengers, the airport will attract more airlines, including international flights.

On July 17, 2017, Frontier Airlines announced service to 10 new cities using aircraft as large as the Airbus A321 which approaches the Boeing 757 in range and passenger capacity, a first for the airport in the past decade.[26][27]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

MacArthur Airport currently has two concourses in one main terminal. Concourse A has nine gates, concourse B has two gates with jetways and multiple gates that board from the ramp.


American Eagle Philadelphia
Frontier Airlines Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Miami (resumes May 10, 2020),[28] Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach, Raleigh/Durham
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from ISP (October 2017 – September 2018)[6]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Orlando, Florida 223,580 Frontier, Southwest
2 Baltimore, Maryland 166,420 Southwest
3 West Palm Beach, Florida 127,780 Frontier, Southwest
4 Tampa, Florida 105,770 Frontier, Southwest
5 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 58,600 Southwest
6 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 34,400 American
7 Fort Myers, Florida 30,180 Frontier
8 Miami, Florida 24,750 Frontier
9 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 19,070 Frontier
10 San Juan, Puerto Rico 13,480 Frontier

Carrier shares[edit]

Carrier shares: (October 2017 – September 2018)[6]

  Southwest, 1,025,000 (60.27%)
  Frontier, 606,000 (35.64%)
  Piedmont, 68,510 (4.03%)
  Air Wisconsin, 890 (0.05%)
  Elite, 90 (0.01%)


The airport's crash response trucks.

Long Island MacArthur Airport is owned and operated by the Town of Islip. The Department of Aviation is led by the Commissioner of Aviation and Transportation, who works closely with the Town Board to manage and steward the airport. Departments include Airport Operations, Custodial, Fire Rescue, Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Construction, and Administration.


A Heritage Flight Academy Cessna 172 Skyhawk returns from a training flight

Long Island MacArthur Airport's houses numerous general aviation tenants, including three fixed based operators: Sheltair Aviation, ExcelAire, and Mid Island Air, which offers a full range of general aviation services. There are three flight schools based on the field, ATP Flight School, Heritage Flight Academy, and Mid Island Air Service.[29]

The Suffolk County Police (SCPD) Aviation Section has a Law Enforcement and MEDEVAC helicopter based at MacArthur Airport. The base is staffed 24 hours a day by Police Pilots, as well as Flight Paramedics employed by the Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Until the early 1990s, the 2nd Battalion (Attack), 142nd Aviation Regiment of the N.Y. Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division Aviation Brigade, was based at MacArthur Airport, equipped with Bell Helicopter AH-1 Cobra (F model) gunships. In 2006, the 3rd Battalion (Assault), 142nd Aviation Regiment moved its headquarters from Latham, N.Y. to Long Island MacArthur Airport, bringing its Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. In May 2007, following yet another reorganization in which the battalion was re-configured, the unit received its mobilization alert order to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Over the course of their deployment, the unit – which came to be known as Task Force Jester – flew more than 15,000 flight hours. The last of the battalion's troops returned home to Long Island MacArthur Airport in May 2009.

It is also home to Civil Air Patrol's Long Island Group's Suffolk Cadet Squadron 10.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On April 4, 1955, a Douglas DC-6 of United Airlines operating on a pilot test flight bound for LaGuardia Airport lost control soon after take-off and subsequently crashed, killing all three crew members on board.
  • On November 23, 1999, a U.S. Army National Guard UH-1H "Huey" helicopter crashed in fog during an attempted landing after training exercises above eastern Long Island in which two were killed and two injured.[30][31][32]

Ground transportation[edit]

MacArthur Airport is connected with the nearby Long Island Rail Road station at Ronkonkoma by shuttle buses and taxi service. The LIRR offers passengers transportation to nearby New York City. The LIRR currently offers a discount package for airport passengers, which includes the cost of shuttle service between the train station and airport terminal.

Suffolk Transit's S57 route serves the airport, connecting it with Sayville and the Smith Haven Mall, located in Lake Grove, New York.

The Hampton Jitney's Westhampton, Montauk, and North Fork lines stop along the Long Island Expressway (Interstate 495) at Exit 60. It is called the Islip Airport Connection, and is a short cab ride away from the airport terminal.

Popular culture[edit]

Long Island MacArthur Airport has been used several times as a filming location:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for ISP (Form 5010 PDF), effective July 19, 2018
  2. ^ "Long Island Mac Arthur Airport". Retrieved Feb 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "MacArthur Airport - Long Island Islip MacArthur Airport (ISP)". Long Island Macarthur Airport. Retrieved Sep 4, 2015.
  4. ^ Newsday, January 10, 2010, "The Little Airport That Could"
  5. ^ "About MacAuthur Airport". Town of Islip. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d "RITA BTS Transtats – ISP". www.transtats.bts.gov. September 2018.
  7. ^ a b Suffolk County News Archive, April 3, 1942
  8. ^ a b http://www.departedflights.com, April 27, 1969 Mohawk Airlines route map
  9. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 1, 1972 Mohawk Airlines system timetable
  10. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, March 1, 1974, Allegheny Airlines system timetable
  11. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Long Island MacArthur Airport flight schedules: April 1, 1974; Nov. 15, 1979; April 1, 1981; Feb. 15, 1985; Dec. 15, 1989; Oct. 1, 1991; April 2, 1995; June 1, 1999
  12. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 1, 1987 Continental Airlines employee system timetable
  13. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 1, 1986 New York Air system timetable
  14. ^ a b http://www.departedflights.com, June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Long Island MacArthur flight schedules
  15. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions, Long Island MacArthur flight schedules: Nov. 15, 1979; April 1, 1981; Feb. 15, 1985; Dec. 15, 1989; Oct. 1, 1991; April 2, 1995; June 1, 1999
  16. ^ Feb. 1994 OAG Pocket Flight Guide, Long Island MacArthur flight schedules
  17. ^ "Spirit Air considering ISP service to FLL". Newsday.com. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  18. ^ Yahoo Finance Video (2017-07-22). "Spirit Airlines Attacks Record Fuel Prices". Biz.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Southwest Airlines: No plans to leave MacArthur". Newsday.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-07-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "MacArthur Airport struggling to reverse losses". Newsday.
  23. ^ Fischler, Marcelle S. (2008-02-17). "She's Got Grand Plans for the Future of the Islip Airport". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  24. ^ "Inside Troubled expansion new SW terminal at LI MacArthur Airport". Airline Forum - Air Travel Forum / Flying Forum. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  25. ^ MacGowan, Carl, "Cablevision wires MacArthur Airport for Internet access", Newsday, 2009-11-24.
  26. ^ "Frontier Airlines outlines launch date for new routes in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  27. ^ Thomas Pallini. "Frontier Breathes New Life into Struggling Long Island Airport". AirlineGeeks.com. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  28. ^ https://news.flyfrontier.com/frontier-airlines-announces-25-new-routes-including-service-to-central-america/
  29. ^ User, Super. "General Aviation". www.macarthurairport.com. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
  30. ^ Harro Ranter (4 April 1955). "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-6 N37512 Islip-MacArthur Field, NY (ISP)". aviation-safety.net.
  31. ^ Andy Newman (1999-11-24). "2 Killed and 2 Hurt in Crash Of Helicopter on Long Island - NYTimes.com". Mobile.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  32. ^ By John T. Mcquiston (1999-11-25). "Investigation Begins Into Why Army Helicopter Crashed at L.I. Airport - NYTimes.com". Mobile.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  33. ^ "Meryl Streep films new movie 'Ricki and the Flash' at Long Island MacArthur Airport". Newsday.


External links[edit]