Palm Springs International Airport

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Palm Springs International Airport
Palm Springs Army Airfield
Palm Springs International Airport photo D Ramey Logan.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Palm Springs
OperatorCity of Palm Springs Aviation Department
ServesCoachella Valley, Inland Empire
LocationPalm Springs, California
Elevation AMSL476 ft / 145 m
Coordinates33°49′47″N 116°30′24″W / 33.82972°N 116.50667°W / 33.82972; -116.50667Coordinates: 33°49′47″N 116°30′24″W / 33.82972°N 116.50667°W / 33.82972; -116.50667
WebsiteOfficial website
FAA diagram
FAA diagram
PSP is located in California
PSP is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13R/31L 10,000 3,048 Asphalt
13L/31R 4,952 1,509 Asphalt
Statistics (2021)
Total Passengers2,092,943
Aircraft operations58,137
Source: FAA[1][2]

Palm Springs International Airport (IATA: PSP, ICAO: KPSP, FAA LID: PSP), formerly Palm Springs Municipal Airport, is an airport two miles (3 km) east of downtown Palm Springs, California, United States. The airport covers 940 acres (380 ha) and has two runways.[2] The facility operates year-round, with most flights occurring in the fall, winter, and spring.

The airport was named as number 3 in a 2011 list of "America's Most Stress-Free Airports" by Smarter Travel.[3]


Military use[edit]

PSP was built as a United States Army Air Corps emergency landing field in 1939 on land owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians due to its clear weather and its proximity to March Field and the Los Angeles area.

In March 1941, the War Department certified improvements to the existing airport in Palm Springs as essential to National Defense. The airport was approved to serve as a staging field by the Air Corps Ferrying Command 21st Ferrying Group in November 1941. Land was acquired to build a major airfield a half mile from the old airfield site. The new airfield, Palm Springs Army Airfield,[4] was completed in early 1942, and the old air field was then used only as a backup.[5]

Many of the field's Air Transport Command 560th Army Air Forces Base Unit personnel stayed at the comfortable Lapaz Guest Ranch nearby. Training conducted at the airfield was by the 72d and 73d Ferrying Squadrons in long-distance over-water flying and navigation. Later, training was also provided to pursuit pilot training by IV Fighter Command 459th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron. Training was in P-51 Mustangs, P-40 Warhawks and P-38 Lightnings.

On June 1, 1944, training moved to Brownsville Army Airfield, Texas, and the airfield was used for Army and Navy transport flights until the end of April 1945. The auxiliary field or backup field was declared surplus on May 12, 1945, and the main airfield was declared excess and transferred to the War Assets Administration for disposal in 1946 and it was sold to private buyers. The City of Palm Springs purchased the land in 1961 and converted it to Palm Springs Municipal Airport.

Airline service[edit]

Palm Springs had scheduled passenger service in 1934 operated by Palm Springs Air Lines with Ford Trimotor aircraft with flights to the Union Air Terminal (now the Hollywood Burbank Airport) in Burbank.[6] Western Airlines flights began in 1945–46 followed by Bonanza Air Lines in 1957–58. In 1964, Western Lockheed L-188 Electras flew nonstop to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.[7] Bonanza and successors Air West and Hughes Airwest served Palm Springs for many years with the Fairchild F-27 followed by Douglas DC-9s. American Airlines Boeing 707s appeared in winter 1967–68. By 1969, American had four Boeing 707 departures a day from the airport, two nonstops to Los Angeles and two nonstops to Phoenix and on to Chicago.[8] Trans World Airlines (TWA) Boeing 707s arrived in 1978, flying to Chicago via Phoenix.

Scheduled nonstops did not reach beyond California, Las Vegas, and Phoenix until winter 1969–70, when American Airlines started a nonstop to Chicago O'Hare Airport. In the 1970s, American McDonnell Douglas DC-10s appeared, the largest aircraft ever scheduled to PSP. In 1976, American was flying the DC-10 to New York LaGuardia Airport via Chicago O'Hare Airport as well as Boeing 727-100s to Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix and Los Angeles.[9] In 1976 Western Boeing 727-200s and Boeing 737-200s flew nonstop to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.[9] In 1987, Western was merged into Delta Air Lines which continues to serve PSP with year-round service to Seattle and seasonal services to other destinations. Other jet service to Palm Springs in the past included flights operated by Air21, Air California and successor Air Cal, America West Airlines, CP Air, the original Frontier Airlines (1950–1986), Hughes Airwest, Morris Air, Pacific Express, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), Pan Am, Reno Air, Republic Airlines (1979–1986) and USAir.[10]

Commuter and regional airlines at Palm Springs from the late 1970s to the 1990s included Air Bahia, Air Nevada, American Eagle operated by Wings West Airlines, America West Express operated by Mesa Airlines, Cable Commuter Airlines, California Seaboard Airlines, Dash Air, Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines, Imperial Airlines, Inland Empire Airlines, Scenic Airlines, SkyWest Airlines (operating independently), Sun Aire Lines, Swift Aire Lines, Trans World Express operated by Alpha Air, United Express operated by WestAir and later by SkyWest Airlines, and USAir Express followed by US Airways Express operated by Trans States Airlines and StatesWest Airlines.[11]

On September 3, 2020, Southwest Airlines announced plans to serve Palm Springs, year-round, in 2020.[12]

Other past use[edit]

On December 30, 2006, a U.S. Air Force Presidential Boeing VC-25 (the USAF military version of the Boeing 747), departed Palm Springs International Airport with the body of the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford, and delivered it to Washington, D.C., for memorial services.

U.S. customs clearance[edit]

Although a true international airport, PSP only has U.S. customs and immigration facilities for general aviation aircraft including business jets. All international airline flights are currently operated from Canadian cities that have pre-clearance facilities.


Palm Springs International Airport Tower (2021)

PSP's passenger terminal consists of three parts—the main building, the elevated Sonny Bono Concourse to the north, and a yet-unnamed concourse to the south. The airport has 19 total gates.[13] Airside, it has a unique open-air layout in that all passenger walkways connecting these structures are roofless.[14]

Main building[edit]

The main building is the land side of the airport. Road traffic accesses the airport directly off of Tahquitz Canyon Way (from downtown) or Kirk Douglas Way, itself fed by Ramon Road from points east. Uncovered parking areas are directly in front of the building. The center section houses the security screening area and automatic doors to/from the open-air walkways airside. Ticketing is on the right (south) wing, while baggage claim and car rental counters are on the left (north).

Departing passengers are routed first to airline ticket counters or kiosks for checking in. Since all gates at Palm Springs are in the two outlying concourses, passengers must pass through the security screening area for admittance into the secure air side of the airport. After leaving the main building via the automatic doors leading out to the open-air courtyard, passengers can access seventeen full-service gates at the two concourses.

The Sonny Bono Concourse, with Bono's bust to the right of the escalator
An Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319 at the Sonny Bono Concourse

Sonny Bono Concourse (Gates 4–11)[edit]

On November 4, 1999, the new Sonny Bono Concourse opened as part of the 1994–2000 expansion. Named in honor of the late singer, congressman and former mayor of the city,[15] this newer concourse has 8 gates (all with jet bridges) and is the elevated one of the two. It is used for larger aircraft (such as the Boeing 737) because of its jet bridges. SB's outdoor escalator and walkway are shaded by a designer roofline similar to that of the Denver International Airport.[14]

Regional Concourse (Gates 12–20)[edit]

The older Regional Concourse on the south side, simply known as the Regional Concourse on the airport website, or "Gates 12–20" on airport signage, is at the tarmac level and hosts smaller aircraft such as the Embraer ERJ and Bombardier CRJ. There are 11 gates, which are all hardstands. Boarding uses ramps or airstairs.[14]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Sun Country and United Airlines jets at the airport
Sonny Bono Concourse
Palm Springs International Airport
United Airlines Airbus A319 at the airport


aha! Reno/Tahoe
Air Canada Seasonal: Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver
Alaska Airlines Austin,[16] Portland (OR), San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Boise, Everett
Allegiant Air Bellingham
Seasonal: Boise, Des Moines, Eugene, Indianapolis, Nashville, Provo
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
American Eagle Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Austin (begins November 17, 2022)[17]
Avelo Airlines Seasonal: Eugene, Redmond/Bend, Santa Rosa (all begin November 11, 2022)[18]
Delta Air Lines Seasonal: Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle/Tacoma
Delta Connection Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma
Flair Airlines Seasonal: Edmonton, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver
Frontier Airlines Seasonal: Denver
JetBlue Seasonal: Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK
Southwest Airlines Denver, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Sacramento
Seasonal: Chicago-Midway, Dallas–Love, Portland (OR), San Jose (CA) (begins November 6, 2022)[19]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Swoop Seasonal: Edmonton
United Airlines Denver, San Francisco
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental
United Express Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental
WestJet Calgary, Vancouver
Seasonal: Edmonton, Winnipeg


Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Ontario


In the year ending December 31, 2018, the airport had 57,512 aircraft operations, average 158 per day: 41% general aviation, 37% airline, 19% air taxi, and 3% military.[20] 81 aircraft at the time were based at the airport: 62 single-engine, 8 multi-engine, 10 jet, and 1 helicopter.[20]

Airport traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at PSP airport. See source Wikidata query.

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from PSP (March 2021 – February 2022)[21]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 206,000 Alaska, Delta
2 Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 150,000 American, Southwest
3 Denver, Colorado 135,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
4 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 132,000 American
5 San Francisco, California 114,000 Alaska, United
6 Salt Lake City, Utah 66,000 Delta
7 Oakland, California 64,000 Southwest
8 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 49,000 American, Southwest, United
9 Portland, Oregon 45,000 Alaska, Southwest
10 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 39,000 Delta, Sun Country

Airline market share[edit]

Largest airlines at PSP (February 2021 – January 2022)[21]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 SkyWest Airlines 608,000 28.38%
2 Southwest Airlines 406,000 18.94%
3 Alaska Airlines 374,000 17.44%
4 American Airlines 315,000 14.7%
5 United Airlines 129,000 6.01%
-- Other 312,000 14.54%

Ground transportation[edit]

State Route 111 (Gene Autry Trail) is accessible to PSP via Ramon Road.

PSP is served by both municipal and regional routes. Sunline's SunBus routes 2 and 4 provide direct service to downtown Palm Springs via the bus stops at El Cielo/Kirk Douglas and Tahquitz/Civic. Morongo Basin Transit Authority provides service to Twentynine Palms. An Amtrak Thruway bus stop is located just outside the baggage claim area, with service to Cabazon (Morongo Casino), Riverside, and Fullerton.

Palm Springs International Airport

Accidents and incidents at or near PSP[edit]

ARFF Vehicle at Palm Springs International Airport (2021)
  • On October 23, 1942, American Airlines Flight 28, a Douglas DC-3 (reg. NC16017) en route to New York City, crashed in Chino Canyon, 3.1 miles (5 km) north of then Palm Springs Municipal Airport after being clipped by a United States Army Air Force Lockheed B-34 Ventura II bomber. All nine passengers and three crew were killed on the DC-3. The bomber (reg. 41–38116) landed safely at Palm Springs Municipal Airport with minor damage.[22]
  • On February 13, 1958, Western Airlines Flight 19, a Convair CV-240 crash-landed and was destroyed after striking boulders and large mounds of drifted sand on desert terrain 4.1 miles NNW of PSP due to separation of the right wing leading edge in flight. Of the 18 passengers and three crew, there were no fatalities, but five passengers were seriously injured, and most of the rest had minor injuries. The aircraft was heavily damaged and written off.[23]
  • On November 14, 1965, a Paul Kelly Flying Service Learjet 23 crashed 13.1 miles east of PSP at night when the aircraft lost control and crashed in a 55-degree nose-down vertical left bank attitude due to spatial disorientation of the pilot. Both crew and all six passengers died.[24]
  • On September 23, 1967, a Bird Corp. Oakland Centaurus, a modified Lockheed Ventura, crashed in the initial climb after the right engine failed. Both occupants survived, but the aircraft was written off.[25]
  • On January 6, 1977, a Jet Avia Learjet 24B impacted a mountain at 9,700 feet 21.9 miles NW of PSP en route to Las Vegas. The crew misinterpreted instrument flight rules clearance and air traffic control instructions, and maintained the runway heading. All four occupants (two crew, two passengers) were killed.[26]

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ "PSP Statistical Data". City of Palm Springs. January 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b FAA Airport Form 5010 for PSP PDF, effective December 30, 2021.
  3. ^ "America's Most Stress-Free Airports". April 5, 2011.
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Palm Springs Army Air Field (historical)
  5. ^ Aerial pic of the old airfield at 33°49′37″N 116°31′59″W / 33.827°N 116.533°W / 33.827; -116.533, looking ENE
  6. ^, Dec. 20, 1934 Palm Springs Air Lines timetable
  7. ^, March 1, 1964 Western timetable
  8. ^, Mar. 30, 1969 American timetable
  9. ^ a b Feb. 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide
  10. ^, Route Maps
  11. ^, Official Airline Guide editions: Nov. 15, 1979; April 1, 1981; Feb. 1, 1985; April 2, 1995; June 1, 1999
  12. ^ "Southwest Airlines Intends to Serve Miami and Palm Springs, Calif".
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b c "Terminal Map | City of Palm Springs". Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  15. ^ "Airport Adds Sonny Bono Concourse". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Alaska Airlines adds Austin–Palm Springs service from NOV 2022". Aeroroutes. July 21, 2022.
  17. ^ "American Airlines expands AUS network to popular destinations in Southern California and Florida, adds new service to Palm Springs, CA". City of Austin. July 19, 2022.
  18. ^ "Avelo airline coming to PSP with service to Santa Rosa, Eugene and Redmond". Desert Sun. August 4, 2022.
  19. ^ "Southwest Airlines Extends Flight Schedule Through Jan. 4, 2023". Retrieved June 16, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ a b FAA. "Facility Dashboard - PSP". Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). "Palm Springs, CA: Palm Springs International (PSP) Scheduled Services except Freight/Mail". U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT). Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  22. ^ Accident description for 41-38116 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
  23. ^ Accident description for N8405H at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
  24. ^ Accident description for N243F at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
  25. ^ Accident description for N7436C at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
  26. ^ Accident description for N12MK at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 12, 2021.

External links[edit]