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% of passenger travel and more than 95% of air cargo of the state. It is located within Portland's city limits just south of the Columbia River in Multnomah County, six miles by air and twelve miles by highway northeast of downtown Portland. Portland International Airport is often referred to by its IATA airport code, PDX.
PDX has direct connections to major airport hubs throughout the United States, and non-stop international flights to Canada, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Mexico and the Netherlands. The airport is a major hub for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and serves as a maintenance facility for Horizon Air. Small regional carrier SeaPort Airlines is headquartered and operates its Pacific Northwest hub 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 grounds, the host unit of which is the 142d Fighter Wing (142 FW) flying the F-15 Eagle. Local transportation includes light rail on the MAX Red Line and Interstate 205.
- 1 Terminal building
- 2 Statistics and ratings
- 3 Terminals
- 4 Airlines and destinations
- 5 Statistics
- 6 City airport history
- 7 Expansion and improvement
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 Gallery
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The main terminal consists of one building roughly "H"-shaped and is divided into five concourses. Concourses A, B, and C are on the south side of the terminal and concourses D and E are on the north; the two sides are connected beyond security checkpoints by a walkway opened in August 2005. PDX offers services including free Wi-Fi wireless Internet access, a children's play area, and postal services.
PDX 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, Oregon Pendleton Shop, and The Real Mother Goose among others. Food services also are a mix of national chains and local options.
Statistics and ratings
In 2014, PDX handled 15,916,512 passengers and had non-stop commercial air service to 16 of the 18 most populated US Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
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 city. In 2015, Travel+Leisure also named PDX as the best US airport. Along with its continued on-time record, shopping, transportation options, and the growth of international service, 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 is to replaced throughout the entire airport with newer carpet that contains a similar design. This project is to be finished by 2017. 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 its recycling of its restaurants' used oil and grease.
In 2008, a J.D. Power study contradicted the magazine's assessment, ranking the airport 19th in overall airport satisfaction out of 21 U.S. airports with from 10 to 30 million passengers per year. It scored PDX 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.
Portland Airport has five concourses (A, B, C, D, E) as well as a business aviation terminal. In addition, a dedicated facility handles cargo operations. Airport Lounges are available from Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines.
Concourses A and B are solely operated by Alaska Airlines, Portland's largest carrier, and Horizon Air. By 2017, Alaska and Horizon will move from concourses A, B, and C to concourse E, while United Airlines moves from concourse E to concourse C. This move is designed to balance the number of passengers on the north side (D and E) and south side (A, B, and C) concourses.
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.
Airlines and destinations
Note: All international arrivals (except flights from cities with customs preclearance) are handled at the far end of Concourse D, regardless of their departure concourse.
^1 All US Airways flights will be rebranded as American Airlines effective October 17, 2015.
Top international destinations
|1||Vancouver, Canada||197,349||Air Canada, Alaska Airlines|
|2||Amsterdam, Netherlands||143,151||Delta Air Lines|
|3||Tokyo (Narita), Japan||109,374||Delta Air Lines|
|4||Calgary, Canada||23,911||Air Canada|
|5||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico||7,527||Alaska Airlines|
|7||San José del Cabo, Mexico||6,107||Alaska Airlines|
Top domestic destinations
|1||Seattle/Tacoma, WA||576,000||Alaska, Delta|
|2||San Francisco, CA||501,000||Alaska, United, Virgin America|
|3||Denver, CO||478,000||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|4||Phoenix, AZ||439,000||Alaska, Southwest, US Airways|
|5||Los Angeles, CA||426,000||Alaska, Delta|
|6||Las Vegas, NV||366,000||Alaska, Southwest, Spirit|
|7||Chicago (O'Hare), IL||338,000||Alaska, American, Spirit, United|
|8||Salt Lake City, UT||308,000||Alaska, Delta|
|9||San Jose, CA||278,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|10||Oakland, CA||265,000||Alaska, Southwest|
City airport history
Portland's main airport has been in two other incarnations. The first was on Swan Island, now used by the Port of Portland for industrial parks, and the second was the 1940s–1950s configuration on the present site known as the "super airport". The third and present configuration was first known as "The International", but is now known as PDX in all common and most official usage.
Swan Island Municipal Airport
In 1925 aviation proponents proposed an airport for Portland 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 Swan Island 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.
Swan Island Airport was officially named Portland Airport until the opening of the new airport.
Portland-Columbia "Super Airport"
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.
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. Airport diagrams for 1955 and 1965
International status and expansion
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
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. 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.
Concourse E will be extended by 210 feet (64 m) as a part of a plan for Alaska Airlines and United Airlines to swap concourses. The $98 million project is expected to be complete by late 2017.
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.
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.
The first international nonstop was Western's 720B to Vancouver in 1967. United Airlines flew to Tokyo on Tuesday from 1983 to 1987. The flight, which originated in Chicago and stopped in Portland six days a week, was discontinued when United acquired equipment with the range necessary to fly nonstop from hubs.
Delta Air Lines used Portland as a gateway in the 1990s for extensive service to Asia with its MD-11 aircraft, until the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. 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 to discontinue what was then the last direct flight from Portland to Tokyo and Nagoya in March 2001. This change brought local media scrutiny, which, when combined with the resulting Congressional pressure, caused those in charge[who?] of the immigration facility to address the problems. Delta resumed a Tokyo nonstop filight in 2009 as part of its acquisition of Northwest.
Meanwhile, local travel businesses had begun recruiting other carriers. Lufthansa started direct flights to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 31, 2003. However, in September 2009, Lufthansa indefinitely suspended the Portland-Frankfurt route citing lack of profitability. Northwest Airlines introduced non-stop flights to Tokyo (Narita Airport) on June 10, 2004. Mexicana Airlines also introduced service to Guadalajara, Mexico and Mexico City. After 5 years of service between PDX and Mexico, the service was cancelled by Mexicana Airlines on May 2, 2008, due to high fuel prices and change in demand. This change left Alaska Airlines as the only airline with nonstop services to Mexico, but ended all service from Portland to Mexico in 2010. Northwest Airlines announced on October 9, 2007 the expansion of international service with new A330 nonstop service to Amsterdam that began on March 29, 2008. Though at one time reported to continue to Mumbai by Delta beginning June 2009, the Amsterdam service was instead 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, A330-200s and A330-300s depending on the season.
The airport's international service was also featured on The Amazing Race 13 as the arrival airport after all three teams that were in the race arrived on Lufthansa from Frankfurt. Lufthansa ended its service to Frankfurt on September 12, 2009.
Delta Air Lines announced that it will keep its nonstop flights to Amsterdam and Tokyo, the latter requiring a direct transfer of $3.5 million, to Delta, by the Port of Portland to subsidize the route.
The airport is also pushing for flights to Mexico City, and hopes to eventually have nonstop flights to China, and even as far as Hong Kong, South Korea (Seoul) and Taipei.
On April 25, 2014, Volaris of Mexico applied with the DOT for a non-stop service to Guadalajara Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport. The DOT accepted the application and Volaris started this service on October 6, 2014.
Expansion and improvement
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 thick and used an estimated 180,000 square yards of materials—enough to pave a two-lane road for about 26 miles. 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.
Incidents and accidents
- Pan Am Flight 845/26 departed Portland on March 26, 1955, en route to Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii. Approximately thirty-five miles off the Oregon Coast, the No. 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 unpopulated 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 International Airport. Claiming he had a bomb, he demanded $200,000, four parachutes, and refueling once the aircraft arrived in Seattle. 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 U.S. 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, two 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 a suburban neighborhood. 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 slate".
- Tourism in Portland, Oregon
- Portland-Mulino Airport
- Pearson Field
- Oregon World War II Army Airfields
- Western Air Defense Force (Air Defense Command)
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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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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Portland International Airport.|
- Official Website.
- Airport Wayfinder: Interactive video guide and detailed information about Portland International Airport.
- (PDF), effective July 23, 2015
- FAA Terminal Procedures for PDX, effective July 23, 2015
- Resources for this airport: