Richmond International Airport

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Richmond International Airport B Concourse
Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport Logo.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Capital Region Airport Commission
Serves Central Virginia
Location Sandston, Virginia, U.S.
Elevation AMSL 167 ft / 50.9 m
Coordinates 37°30′18″N 077°19′10″W / 37.50500°N 77.31944°W / 37.50500; -77.31944
Richmond International Airport is located in Virginia
Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport is located in the US
Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16/34 9,003 2,744 Asphalt
2/20 6,607 2,014 Asphalt
7/25 5,326 1,623 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft operations 10,073
Based aircraft 94
Passengers 3,818,759
Sources: Federal Aviation Administration[1] and RIC Airport.[2]
Richmond airport in 1984. Then it was the 4th-largest airport in Virginia.

Richmond International Airport (IATA: RICICAO: KRICFAA LID: RIC) is a joint civil-military public airport in Sandston, Virginia, United States, an unincorporated community (within Henrico County). The airport is about 7 miles (11 km) southeast of downtown Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Richmond International Airport is the busiest airport in central Virginia and the third-busiest in the state[citation needed] behind Washington D.C.'s two major airports, Washington Dulles and Washington National. RIC covers 2,500 acres (1,012 ha) of land.[1]


The Capital Region Airport Commission (CRAC) owns and operates Richmond International Airport. Established in 1975 by the Virginia General Assembly,[3] the commission is overseen by representatives of the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico, and the City of Richmond. RIC serves the Greater Richmond Region with non-stop flights to 26 destinations, serviced by seven commercial air carriers. A joint-civil-military public airport, RIC houses the former property of the Richmond International Airport Air National Guard Station, which was transferred to the Department of the Army in support of U.S. Army Reserves and Virginia Army National Guard Activities.[4]

In 2007, an estimated 3,630,000 passengers travelled through RIC, an all-time high for the airport. RIC is served by airlines flying primarily domestic routes to cities in the South, Northeast, and Midwest, and connecting flights to major hubs for international destinations. In 2016, RIC reported its 32nd consecutive month of growth, with an estimated 345,000 travelers reported in October 2016. Several airlines serving RIC have responded to growing demand and traffic with upgraded routes and aircraft. Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines have added additional existing routes and larger aircraft in 2017. United Airlines up-gauged its Denver service to a mainline aircraft, replacing the Embraer E-175 used with United Express. It is the longest and most westerly flight originating from Richmond, surpassing American Airlines' Dallas/Fort Worth service.

In the early 2000s Richmond saw another period of extensive growth, and in 2005 it announced a complete redesign of the airport. RIC went from a single story terminal with 12 gates to 22 gates (plus numerous non-jet bridge gates), added parking spaces (to 10,500), and created a new terminal roadway and air traffic control tower. The project features major renovations of the terminal building, including upper-level departures and lower-level arrivals, the construction of a central utility plant, and the widening of security checkpoints. Construction on the renovated two-level terminal was completed in spring 2007, and was designed by Gresham, Smith & Partners.[5] Due to recent growth Richmond has reopened its international gate (B14) for flights to Cancun, Toronto, Punta Cana, all of which are seasonal services.

In 2016 Richmond recorded its second highest yearly passenger volume. In response, RIC plans a major expansion, starting in 2018. The number of gates will increase from 22 to 28 or 30 by adding 6 or 8 gates (net) to its A terminal.[6] In 2017, the airport handled 3,657,479 passengers, an all-time record.[7]

In 2016, Richmond International Airport handled over 63,000 tons of cargo, an all-time high. Cargo services offered at the airport include more than 100,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of warehouse/office space and 1,000,000 square feet (100,000 m2) of apron space. The airport is designated a Foreign Trade Zone. Because of its position on the Eastern Seaboard, cargo transit via RIC is on the rise. Goods shipped out of the metropolitan Richmond area can reach 72% of the U.S. population within 24 hours.


The airport was dedicated as Richard Evelyn Byrd Flying Field in 1927 in honor of aviator Richard E. Byrd, brother of then Gov. Harry F. Byrd. Charles Lindbergh attended the dedication ceremony. Although the facility was in Henrico County, Richmond Mayor John Fulmer Bright was instrumental in the creation of Byrd Field, which was initially owned by the City of Richmond. It was renamed Richard E. Byrd Airport in 1950, and became Richmond International Airport in 1984.

A terminal building designed by Marcellus Wright and Son was completed in 1950.[8] It was expanded from 1968 to 1970, which included the current passenger concourses.[9]

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide (OAG) lists 43 weekday departures: 22 flights on Eastern Air Lines, ten flights on Piedmont Airlines (1948-1989), five flights on American Airlines, four flights on National Airlines and two flights on Capital Airlines.

During the mid 1970s, United Airlines was operating daily round trip one stop service between Richmond and Los Angeles (LAX) with a stretched Douglas DC-8-61 jetliner via a stop in both directions at Washington D.C. Dulles International Airport.[10][11] The Super DC-8-61 was one of the largest aircraft types ever to serve the airport in scheduled passenger operations.

The February 15, 1985 OAG listed five airlines serving Richmond with jet aircraft including Delta Air Lines, Eastern, Piedmont, United and USAir.[12] According to this edition of the OAG, Delta was operating Boeing 737-200 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets on nonstop flights from Atlanta, Eastern was operating Boeing 727-100, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and DC-9-50 jets with nonstop service from Atlanta, Charlotte, Greensboro/High Point, New York JFK Airport and New York LaGuardia Airport, Piedmont was operating Boeing 727-200, Boeing 737-200 and Fokker F28 Fellowship jets with nonstops from Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago O'Hare Airport, Greensboro/High Point, Kinston, NC, Louisville, New York LaGuardia Airport, Norfolk and Philadelphia, United was operating Boeing 727-100 and Boeing 727-200 nonstops from Baltimore, Chicago O'Hare Airport and Norfolk, and USAir was operating British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets on nonstop flights from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The OAG also lists service into Richmond at this time in 1985 operated by four commuter and regional airlines including Air Virginia which was operating a hub at the airport flying Swearingen Metroliner turboprops nonstop from Baltimore, Charlottesville, VA, Lynchburg, VA, New Bern, NC, Newport News, New York LaGuardia Airport, New York Newark Airport, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Roanoke, VA and Washington D.C. National Airport; Delta Connection operated by Comair with nonstop Saab 340 and Swearingen Metroliner turboprop flights operated on a code sharing basis for Delta from Roanoke, VA; Piedmont Regional Airlines operating Beechcraft 99, de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 and Short 330 turboprops with nonstop service flown on a code sharing basis for Piedmont from Baltimore, Newport News, Norfolk and Roanoke, VA; and Wheeler Airlines operating Beechcraft 99 turboprops nonstop from Danville, VA, Raleigh/Durham, Washington D.C. National Airport and Wilmington, DE.[13] By 1986, Wheeler Airlines had created a small hub at the airport and had added nonstop flights from Charleston, WV and Parkersburg, WV.[14]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 with service to Atlanta


Airlines Destinations Refs
Allegiant Air Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater [15]
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–La Guardia, Philadelphia [16]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–La Guardia [17]
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando [18]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta [19]
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale (begins March 15, 2018),[20] Orlando (begins March 15, 2018)[20] [21]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [22]


Airlines Destinations
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Greensboro
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Knoxville, Memphis
UPS Airlines Louisville, Norfolk, Philadelphia


Top domestic routes[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from RIC
(Feb 2016 – Jan 2017)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 521,230 Delta, Southwest
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 325,810 American
3 Boston, Massachusetts 161,120 Delta, JetBlue
4 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 120,970 American, United
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 120,720 American
6 New York–La Guardia, New York 111,230 American, Delta
7 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 99,980 American
8 Newark, New Jersey 73,740 United
9 Orlando, Florida 72,800 JetBlue
10 Detroit, Michigan 70,750 Delta
11 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 69,900 Jet Blue
12 Washington–Dulles, D.C. 58,010 United
13 Denver, Colorado 57,990 United
14 New York–JFK, New York 57,600 Delta
15 Houston, Texas 35,580 United

Airline market share[edit]

Top Airlines at RIC
(August 2017)[24]
Rank Airline Percent of market share
1 Delta Air Lines 22.81%
2 American Airlines 15.12%
3 ExpressJet Airlines 14.17%
4 JetBlue Airways 11.67%
5 Southwest Airlines 6.97%

In 2007, the airport served 3,634,544 passengers, a record for the airport; a 10.3% increase over 2006.[25] RIC is the third-busiest airport in Virginia, after Washington Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington.

In June 2017, RIC served 333,086 passengers compared to June 2016 of 323,681 passengers (a 2.91% increase). Richmond International Airport continues to see month over month growth and has seen an increase in passengers served 30 of the past 32 months.[26]

Richmond International has 75 based aircraft; 21 are single-engine, 21 multi-engine, and 33 jets.[27]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • In 1951: Eastern Airlines Flight 601 bound from Newark to Miami suffered severe buffeting after an access door opened in flight over Lynchburg, Virginia and the crew decided to divert to Richmond. A flapless wheels-up landing was made a few miles short of the runway at Curles Neck Farm because the crew feared that the aircraft would disintegrate before they could get to the airport to attempt an emergency landing. There were no fatalities.
  • In 1961: Imperial Airlines Flight 201/8 was destroyed when it crashed and burned following an attempted emergency landing at the airport, all 74 passengers, and three of the 5 crew members died.
  • In 1996, Eastwind Airlines Flight 517 from Trenton, New Jersey, experienced loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond; however, control was regained shortly after, and the aircraft landed normally.[28] There was one minor injury.
  • In 2011, a private twin engine, Piper Navajo, crashed after take-off. Only the pilot was on board at the time of the crash.[29] The pilot suffered burns and was immediately taken to a hospital.

Virginia Air National Guard[edit]

Until October 2007, the 192d Fighter Wing (192 FW), an Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained unit of the Virginia Air National Guard, maintained an Air National Guard station, operating F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the airport. In late 2007, pursuant to BRAC 2005 action, the 192 FW relinquished its F-16C and F-16D aircraft and moved to Langley AFB (now Joint Base Langley-Eustis), to integrate with the Regular Air Force as an associate unit to the 1st Fighter Wing (1 FW) flying the F-22 Raptor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for RIC (Form 5010 PDF) effective January 2016
  2. ^ "Richmond International Airport Aviation Activity Report" (PDF). Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ John Pike. "Richmond International Airport / Byrd Field". Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Airport Design, Architecture and Interior Design – Gresham, Smith and Partners". Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ Zullo, Robert. "Expansion at Richmond International's Concourse A on the horizon". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2017-10-11. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Terminal Building, Richard E. Byrd Airport, Richmond, Virginia: Rarely Seen Richmond". Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ "History". Capital Region Airport Commission. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  10. ^, April 15, 1975 Official Airline Guide (OAG)
  11. ^, June 6, 1976 United Airlines system timetable
  12. ^, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Richmond flight schedules
  13. ^, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Richmond flight schedules
  14. ^, Feb. 15, 1986 Wheeler Airlines route map
  15. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  17. ^ "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  18. ^ "JetBlue Airlines Timetable". Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  19. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Spirit Airlines plans Richmond launch in Mar 2018". Routes Online. November 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Spirit Airlines Timetable" (PDF). Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  22. ^ "Timetable". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  23. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  24. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Retrieved November 27, 2017. 
  25. ^ Dunham, Linda (January 30, 2008). "Richmond airport's growth flying high". Richmond Times-Dispatch. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ [1][dead link]
  28. ^ "Aircraft accident Boeing 737-2H5 N221US Richmond, VA". Aviation Safety Network. June 9, 1996. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Plane Crashes at Richmond International Airport – WRIC Richmond News and Weather". November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]