Portland International Airport
|Portland International Airport|
PDX airport diagram
|IATA: PDX – ICAO: KPDX – FAA LID: PDX|
|Owner/Operator||Port of Portland|
|Serves||Portland metropolitan area|
|Elevation AMSL||30 ft / 9 m|
Portland International Airport (IATA: PDX, ICAO: KPDX, FAA LID: PDX) is a joint civil-military airport and the largest airport in the U.S. state of Oregon, accounting for 90 percent of passenger travel and more than 95 percent of air cargo of the state. It is located within Portland's city limits just south of the Columbia River in Multnomah County, 6 miles (10 kilometers) by air and 12 mi (19 km) by highway northeast of Downtown Portland. Portland International Airport is often referred to by its IATA airport code, PDX.
Portland International Airport has direct connections to some major airport hubs throughout the United States, and non-stop international flights to Canada, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The airport is a secondary hub for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, with Seattle–Tacoma International Airport as the primary hub for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. The airport also serves as a maintenance facility for Horizon Air. Small regional carriers SeaPort Airlines and PenAir both operate their Pacific Northwest hubs at PDX. General aviation services are provided at PDX by Atlantic Aviation. The Oregon Air National Guard has a base located on the southwest portion of the airport property grounds, and is also the host unit of the 142d Fighter Wing (142 FW) and the F-15 Eagle. Local transportation includes the MAX Red Line, which takes passengers between PDX and Downtown Portland, as well as farther west to Beaverton, Oregon. There is also Interstate 205, which connects to southwestern Washington (north from PDX) along with many suburbs of Portland (south from PDX).
- 1 Airport ratings
- 2 Airport facilities
- 3 Terminal
- 4 Airlines and destinations
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Public transportation
- 7 History
- 8 Airport expansions and renovations
- 9 Accidents and incidents
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
In 2013, a Travel+Leisure magazine readers' poll named PDX as the best US airport, based on its on-time record, dining, shopping, and mass transportation into the main parts of the city. In 2015, 10 new restaurants were opened at PDX, making it a "foodie haven" according to travelers. PDX also got significant recognition for its unique carpet pattern, which was replaced throughout the entire airport with newer carpet that contains a similar design.
Condé Nast Traveler
In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010, PDX was identified as the top airport for business travelers in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. The Condé Nast ranking was based upon criteria including location and access, ease of connections, food, shops, amenities, comfort and design, and perceived safety and security; PDX received the top overall score, and the magazine noted the airport's environmentally friendly initiatives, including the airport's use of solar panels for power, its connection to the MAX Light Rail, and the recycling of its restaurants' used oil and grease.
J. D. Power and Associates
In 2008, a J. D. Power and Associates study contradicted the magazine's assessment, ranking the airport 19th in overall airport satisfaction out of 21 US airports with from 10 to 30 million passengers per year. It scored Portland International Airport as "average" in the categories of check-in/baggage check, security check, and baggage claims. It also scored at the bottom of several categories, including overall airport satisfaction, airport accessibility, terminal facilities and food and retail services.
A work station and assembly for repairing bicycles is located at the lower terminal roadway near the TriMet MAX Red Line station. There is also a "Tool check-out" located at the Oregon Welcome Center.
In the spring of 2016, an 800 square foot cinema space will be located at post-security and will be run by Hollywood Theatre. The films will run for no longer than 15 minutes free of charge, and will showcase the works of Portland-based filmmakers around the culture of the Pacific Northwest.
In January 2016, House Spirits Distillery and the Port of Portland announced plans to open the world's first airport tasting room in October 2016 in concourse C. It will be the first distillery in the world to operate a spirits tasting room at an airport location.
In addition to selling spirits and other curated items, House Spirits Distillery will also provide mini classes to introduce PDX fliers to their products during airport down time. The new retail experience is inspired by their new facility in Southeast Portland which opened in November 2015 and expanded the company’s production capacity sixfold.
There is one passenger terminal in the airport, with five concourses split between two sides. These two sides are connected beyond the security by the "Concourse Connector," a walkway that was opened in August 2005. The airport also offers many complimentary services such as free Wi-Fi wireless internet access, a children's play area, and postal services.
The airport has a shopping mall behind its ticketing counters, with all shops and restaurants open every day. Because the state is one of the few in the nation with no sales tax, all stores offer tax-free shopping. The Port of Portland also requires all airport shops and restaurants to practice fair retail pricing—businesses are not allowed to charge more than at off-airport locations. Stores include national stores and Oregon-based ones such as Made in Oregon, Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Powell's Books, and Oregon Pendleton Shop among others. Food services also are a mix of national chains and local options.
Concourses and terminals
The two sections of the main terminal (South and North) at Portland International Airport contain five concourses (A, B, C, D, E). In addition, Portland International Airport handles many operations from a variety of different cargo transportation airlines.
The international section of Concourse D was renamed the Governor Victor G. Atiyeh International Concourse to honor former Oregon Governor Victor G. Atiyeh, who was also known as "Trader Vic" for launching international tourism and trade initiatives during his term as Oregon Governor.
- South Terminal
- Concourse A has 12 gates (A1–A12)
- Concourse B has 3 gates (B1–B3)
- Concourse C has 23 gates (C1–C23)
- North Terminal
- Concourse D has 15 gates (D1–D15)
- Concourse E has 7 gates (E1–E7)
There are a total of 60 gates located within the two passenger terminals.
In the latter half of 2016, the Port of Portland and several PDX air carriers approved a project intended to balance the use of the terminal and concourses at Portland International Airport. The subsequent project will extend Concourse E by 750 feet and add 6 new gates to the facility. With this project Southwest Airlines will relocate their operations from Concourse C to the newly expanded Concourse E. With the relocation of Southwest Airlines to Concourse E, Alaska and American Airlines will be the primary users of Concourse(s) A, B and C. Construction on this project is expected to begin in 2017 with significant completion in early 2020. 
- South Concourses
- Concourse A: None
- Concourse B: None
- Concourse C: Alaska Airlines - across from Gate C5.
- North Concourses
- Concourse D: Delta Air Lines - across from Gate D6.
- Concourse E: United Airlines - across from Gate E1.
Airlines and destinations
Note: All international arrivals (except flights from cities with customs pre-clearance) are handled at the far end of Concourse D, regardless of their departure concourse.
|1||Seattle/Tacoma, Washington||677,000||Alaska, Delta, Horizon|
|2||Los Angeles, California||596,000||Alaska, Delta, Southwest, Spirit|
|3||San Francisco, California||543,000||Alaska, United, Virgin America|
|4||Denver, Colorado||518,000||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|5||Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona||443,000||Alaska, American, Southwest, US Airways|
|6||Las Vegas, Nevada||383,000||Alaska, Southwest, Spirit|
|7||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||369,000||Alaska, American, Frontier Spirit, United|
|8||Salt Lake City, Utah||343,000||Alaska, Delta|
|9||San Jose, California||294,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|10||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||288,000||Alaska, American, Spirit|
|1||Vancouver, Canada||197,349||Air Canada, Horizon|
|3||Tokyo (Narita), Japan||109,374||Delta|
|4||Calgary, Canada||23,911||Air Canada|
|5||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico||7,527||Alaska|
|7||San José del Cabo, Mexico||6,107||Alaska|
|4||Delta Air Lines||1,957,000||11.66%|
Public transit service to the airport is provided by TriMet, the metropolitan area's primary transit agency, with its MAX Red Line light rail service. The 1986-opened MAX Light Rail system was extended to the airport in 2001. The Red Line originally provided service as far as downtown Portland only, but in 2003 was extended beyond downtown, to Beaverton. The light rail station is located only about 150 ft (50 m) from the airport's baggage claim area. Prior to 2001, TriMet service to the airport consisted of bus route 72-82nd Avenue from 1970 to 1986, and route 12-Sandy Blvd. from 1986 to 2001.
Portland's first airport was on Swan Island, northwest of Downtown Portland on the Willamette River. The Port of Portland purchased 256 acres (104 ha) and construction began in 1926. Charles Lindbergh flew in and dedicated the new airfield in 1927.
By 1935 it was becoming apparent to the Port of Portland that the airport was becoming obsolete. The small airfield couldn't easily be expanded, nor could it accommodate the larger aircraft and passenger loads expected to become common to Portland. Plans immediately were conceived to relocate the outdated airfield to a larger site. The Swan Island Municipal Airport is now used by the Port of Portland for industrial parks.
Construction and early operations
The present PDX site was purchased by the Portland City Council in 1936. It was 700 acres (280 ha) bordered by the Columbia River in the north and the Columbia Slough in the south. The city council issued US$300,000 and asked the Port of Portland to sponsor a US$1.3 million Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant to develop the site into a "super airport". The project provided badly needed Great Depression-era jobs and was completed in 1940. The airport was designated Portland-Columbia Airport to distinguish it from then-operating Swan Island Airport. During World War II, the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Forces.
The "super airport" had a terminal on the north side, off Marine Drive, and five runways (NE-SW, NW-SE, and an E-W runway forming an asterisk). This configuration was adequate until a new terminal and a longer, 8,800-foot (2,700 m) east-west runway were constructed in 1952. View airport diagrams: 1955 and 1965
New terminal (1950s)
A new terminal opened in 1959, which for the most part serves as the present facility. The new terminal is located to the east of the original runways, and north of the then-new 8,800 ft (2,700 m) runway. Construction of a second east-west runway to the north made this a midfield terminal. At this point, all but the NE-SW (3/21) runway in the original "X" were abandoned and turned into taxiways. 3/21 was extended for use as a cross-wind runway. "International" was added to the airport's official designation after the 1950s-era improvements.
Plans made in 1968 to add a third runway by means of filling in parts of the Columbia River were met with vocal public opposition and scrapped. The airport switched from screening passengers at individual gates to screening all visitors at concourse entrances in 1973 as new FAA regulations went into effect. In 1974 the south runway was extended to 11,000 feet (3,400 m) to service the newest jumbo jets. The terminal building was renovated and expanded in 1977.
By the 1980s, the terminal building began an extensive renovation in order to update PDX to meet future needs. The ticketing and baggage claim areas were renovated and expanded, and a new Concourse D for Alaska Airlines was added in 1986. Concourse E was first to be reconstructed in 1992, and featured PDX's first moving sidewalks. The Oregon Marketplace, a small shopping mall, was added in the former waiting areas behind the ticket counters.
The early 1990s saw a food court and extension added to Concourse C, and the opening of the new Concourse D in 1994. This marked the first concessions inside secured areas, allowing passengers to purchase items without having to be re-screened.
An expanded parking garage, new control tower, and canopy over the curbside were finished in the late 1990s. Although hailed by architectural critics, the canopy blocked views of Mount Hood from the curbside. On July 31, 1997, during construction, the garage addition collapsed due to inadequate bolts holding girders together and inadequate securing of structural members, killing three steelworkers.
The present H-shape of the PDX terminal, designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, was completed on September 10, 2001 when the new A, B and C concourses, as well as the light rail line, were finished. Probably the most stunning portion of PDX's interior, the new concourses reflect a Northwest theme, focusing heavily on the nearby Columbia River. A huge celebration was to be held the following weekend, but the events of September 11, 2001 interceded. The new concourses, designed to be public spaces, were closed to non-passengers.
In August 2005, the concourse connector was opened. This is a long hallway on the secure side of the airport that connects the A, B and C concourses to the D and E concourses on the other side of the airport. If there is a long line at the checkpoint at one end of the airport, passengers may use the other checkpoint and walk through the connector to their desired concourse.
The April 1957 OAG shows 38 United departures a day, 10 West Coast, 8 Northwest and 6 Western. Alaska had four a week and Pacific Northern had three; Pan Am and Northwest both flew SEA-PDX-HNL and back, Pan Am with 5 DC-7C round trips a week and Northwest with four DC-6Bs. Portland's first jets were Pan Am 707-321s about October 1959.
In 1966 PDX had nonstop flights to SLC, DEN, ORD and no other cities farther east than Boise; in 1977 nonstops reached LAS-PHX-DEN-DFW-ORD and no others east of Boise. In 1967 United started PDX's first transcon nonstop, to JFK; it ended in 1973.
By 1974, the airport was served by Braniff, Cascade, Continental, Eastern, Hughes Airwest, Northwest Orient, Pan Am, United and Western, and the Seattle route was served by seven airlines with aircraft as large as Boeing 747s.
In the 1980s Air California had nonstop flights to Seattle, Reno and the Bay Area; PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) had nonstops to San Francisco and one or two to Reno and Sacramento. In 2010 Northwest's former Honolulu service was eliminated by Delta altogether. In 2015, Delta resumed its seasonal service to Honolulu.
United was the dominant carrier at PDX during the regulated era and through the 1980s.
The first international nonstop was Western's 720B to Vancouver in 1967.
United Airlines, then the dominant carrier at PDX, used Portland as a once-weekly stop for its Chicago-O'Hare-Tokyo-Narita service from 1983 to 1987. The flight stopped in Seattle/Tacoma six days a week and in Portland once a week. After United Airlines acquired Pan American World Airways' Asian routes in 1986, they were able to use Pan American World Airways' Boeing 747SP aircraft to eliminate the West Coast stop.
As United Airlines made plans to end Tokyo service from Portland, Delta Air Lines applied to begin Atlanta-Tokyo service via Portland using Lockheed L-1011 aircraft. Like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines lacked aircraft that could fly to Japan nonstop from the eastern United States; Delta Air Lines also lacked a West Coast hub at the time, and saw Portland as favorable international and domestic hub over Seattle, which was dominated by Northwest Airlines. After beginning Tokyo service in 1986, Delta Air Lines added a flight to Seoul in 1988, coinciding with the 1988 Summer Olympics; the Seoul flight was later extended to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei. By 1994, Delta Air Lines had introduced McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft, and added another transpacific flight to Nagoya and domestic flights to New York City, Anchorage, Fairbanks and other destinations. Delta Air Lines' hub had peaked in 1998, with additional service to Osaka and Fukuoka.
The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis hurt Delta Air Lines's operation, and international travel decreased even further due to complaints about treatment at the immigration facility in Portland, leading it to be nicknamed "DePortland". The combination of these factors caused Delta Air Lines to discontinue what was then the last direct flight from Portland to Tokyo and from Portland to Nagoya in March 2001. This change brought local media scrutiny. This then combined with the resulting congressional pressure, caused the officials in charge of the immigration facility to address the problems.
Meanwhile, local travel businesses had begun recruiting other carriers. Lufthansa started direct flights to Frankfurt, Germany in 2003, but suspended the route in 2009 citing lack of profitability. Northwest Airlines introduced non-stop flights to Tokyo (Narita Airport (NRT) on June 10, 2004, reviving a route terminated by Delta. Mexicana Airlines also introduced service to Guadalajara and Mexico City; after 5 years of service, Mexicana Airlines withdrew in 2008 due to high fuel prices and change in demand.
Northwest Airlines added nonstop service to Amsterdam in 2008, which was at one time planned to continue to Mumbai. The service was reduced that year to a Northwest-operated Delta-flown 767-300, and occasionally a Northwest-operated Delta-flown 767-400. The service has since been fluctuating between 767-300s, 767-400s and A330-300s depending on the season. Air Canada operated seasonal service to Toronto from 2010 to 2012 but was then resumed on May 2016. Since 2014, three more foreign carriers have begun service at PDX: Volaris with service to Guadalajara, Condor with seasonal service to Frankfurt, and Icelandair with seasonal service to Reykjavik-Keflavik.
Following its acquisition of Northwest, Delta Air Lines has maintained Northwest's nonstop flights to Amsterdam and Tokyo. The latter required a direct transfer of $3.5 million to Delta Air Lines by the Port of Portland to subsidize the route.
Airport expansions and renovations
Although plans have been studied to replace or relieve PDX traffic, planners prefer expansion. Salem, Oregon's McNary Field (SLE) and the Port of Portland's Hillsboro Airport (HIO) in Washington County have been suggested as future relievers. Between 1993 and 2007, Salem's airport had no scheduled airline flights. With resumption of commercial flights on June 7, 2007, the airport has planned terminal improvements using a preconstructed modular building. However, these flights have since been canceled.
Portland International Airport's south runway reopened in October 2011 after being rebuilt over the 2011 summer. The South Runway Reconstruction Project was the final phase of a three-year tarmac improvement program. The first two years focused on the north runway, with a rehabilitation of the surface and an extension to each end so it could replace the south runway during rebuilding.
The project was completed on time and under budget. As the Portland airport's longest, the south runway had seen routine maintenance and rehabilitation over the years, and the wear and tear of aircraft landings had deteriorated the pavement joints and subsurface base. The project team chose to rebuild it; pavement materials were evaluated and an all-concrete surface was chosen. With a pavement design life of 40 years, construction-related aircraft noise impacts on neighborhoods will be lessened in the future.
The new concrete is 19 inches (480 mm) thick and used an estimated 180,000 square yards (150,000 m2) of materials—enough to pave a two-lane road for about 26 miles (42 km). The old asphalt runway, which was excavated in spring 2011, was completely recycled.
The airport's carpet, installed in 1987, was designed to stylize the criss-crossing north and south runways. Beginning in 2014, a new design replaced the original pattern. In response, many residents created products to celebrate the carpet as a local icon.
Along with the carpet replacement, the Port of Portland plans to renovate the security checkpoints and immigration facilities as part of its PDXNext project. These changes are budgeted at $57 million and $940,000, respectively, and are expected to be complete by August 2016.
The Port of Portland is embarking on a $98 million expansion of Concourse E on the airport terminal's north side. The idea is to even out plane and passenger traffic on the terminal's north and south sides to avoid bottlenecks. The south side is currently used by both Alaska Air Group and Southwest Airlines, which together account for more than two-thirds of PDX passengers. When the work is complete, Alaska Air Group will move to the expanded north side of the terminal, swapping space with United Airlines. The 44,000-square-foot addition to Concourse E will add new gates and concessions. It also will add covered walkways for boarding planes on the tarmac. The port has already torn down hangers formerly used by Atlantic Aviation, the general aviation operator at PDX, to make room for the concourse extension. Work crews will begin construction in January, and the work's expected to be finished in 2017.
Accidents and incidents
- On March 26, 1955, Pan Am Flight 845/26 was en route to Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii. Approximately 35 miles (56 km) off the Oregon Coast, the number 3 engine and propeller tore loose from the wing, resulting in a loss of control. The aircraft was ditched and soon sank. Approximately two hours after the aircraft ditched, the United States Navy attack transport USS Bayfield (APA-33) arrived on the scene and rescued the 19 survivors. Four people died.
- On October 1, 1966, West Coast Airlines Flight 956 crashed in an desolate section of the Mount Hood National Forest during descent into Portland International Airport. Of the 18 passengers and crew, there were no survivors. The probable cause of the accident was "the descent of the aircraft below its clearance limit and below that of surrounding obstructing terrain, but the Board was unable to determine the cause of such descent." The accident was the first loss of a Douglas DC-9.
- On November 24, 1971, a still unidentified man commonly known as D. B. Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305, a Boeing 727 flying from Portland International Airport to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. Claiming he had a bomb, he demanded $200,000, four parachutes, and refueling once the aircraft arrived at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. Law enforcement rushed to meet his demands, and the plane took off again, this time with only members of the crew on board, headed toward Reno, Nevada. About forty minutes into the flight, Cooper jumped from the aft stair, parachuting to an unknown fate. An extensive search—arguably the most intensive in the United States history—uncovered no significant material evidence related to the hijacking. Despite an ongoing FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or positively identified. The case remains the only unsolved air piracy in American aviation history.
- On December 28, 1978, United Airlines Flight 173 was en route to Portland International Airport from Stapleton International Airport in Denver, Colorado. On approach to Portland International Airport, the crew lowered the landing gear which caused a loud thump, abnormal vibration, unusual yaw, and the landing gear indicator lights failed to light. The plane circled Portland while the crew investigated the problem. After about an hour, the plane exhausted its fuel supply and crashed into the suburban neighborhood of East Burnside and 158th. Of the 189 passengers and crew on board, ten died and twenty four more were injured. An investigation revealed that the crash was caused by "the failure of the captain to properly monitor the aircraft's fuel state". This accident's investigation led to substantially improved aviation safety by widespread adoption of crew resource management which emphasizes crew teamwork and communication instead of a command hierarchy.
- On February 16, 2008, visibility of 1/8 mile was a possible factor in the fatal accident that took the life of the pilot, Oregon doctor Richard Otoski, a Klamath Falls dermatologist flying his Columbia 400. The accident took place just short of runway 10R at Portland International Airport. Otoski was the only person on board the aircraft, manufactured by the former Lancair Company. "Damn it... we're gonna crash" were the last words PDX controllers heard from N621ER. The aircraft was apparently in the process of making another missed approach in poor visibility following the ILS when it clipped an airport perimeter fence, crashed, and soon caught fire. The aircraft had departed from Klamath Falls 90 minutes earlier.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Portland International Airport.|
- Oregon World War II Army Airfields
- Pearson Field
- Portland-Mulino Airport
- Tourism in Portland, Oregon
- Western Air Defense Force
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PDX received the top overall score, and the magazine noted the airport's green initiatives
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Portland International Airport was chosen the best domestic airport by business travelers
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Portland's main airport on Swan Island was only open a few years before it became obvious that the site offered little expansion room. The year after this 1935 photo, land was purchased along the Columbia River for a new airport.
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- Official Website.
- Airport Wayfinder: Interactive video guide and detailed information about Portland International Airport.
- (PDF), effective September 15, 2016
- FAA Terminal Procedures for PDX, effective September 15, 2016
- Resources for this airport: