Richmond International Airport

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Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport logo.png
Richmond International Airport.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorCapital Region Airport Commission
ServesCentral Virginia
LocationSandston, Virginia, U.S.
Elevation AMSL167 ft / 50.9 m
Coordinates37°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 United States
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
Statistics (2019)
Aircraft operations106,104
Based aircraft94
Sources: Federal Aviation Administration[1] and RIC Airport.[2]
Richmond airport in 1984 when it was the fourth largest airport in Virginia

Richmond International Airport (IATA: RIC, ICAO: KRIC, FAA LID: RIC) is a joint civil-military airport in Sandston, Virginia, United States, an unincorporated community (in 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 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 the early 2000s Richmond saw another period of extensive growth, and in 2005 it announced a complete redesign. 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 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 (B15) for flights to Cancun, Toronto, Punta Cana, all of which are seasonal services.

In 2016 Richmond recorded its second highest yearly passenger volume, and RIC plans a major expansion, starting in the Fall of 2018. The number of gates will increase from 22 to 28 or 30 by adding 6 or 8 gates (net) to its A Concourse.[6] Construction will begin in late Summer/early Fall 2018 and last for 15 months. As of January 2020, the construction work is said to be done by summer 2020. The airport is also planning an expansion of the checkpoint area in Concourse B, which currently has four TSA screening lanes. That project will increase the number of lanes available to at least six. That expansion is estimated to cost $4 million and will be underway in the late Summer or Fall of 2018, with construction set to last for about eight months. Concourse A has three screening lanes in its checkpoint area, though that is likely to be expanded in the next few years. More construction at the airport is coming - the Capital Region Airport Commission is looking into moving the rental car counters from the central portion of the lower lobby level to an expanded north baggage claim area. The airport also expects to add an enclosed two-level connecting walkway between the terminal and the rental car garage. [7] The rental car garage is also set to expand. In 2017, the airport handled 3,657,479 passengers, an all-time record.[8]

In 2016 Richmond International Airport handled over 63,000 tons of cargo, an all-time high. Cargo services 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.

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 with upgraded routes and aircraft. Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines have added additional 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 from Richmond, surpassing American Airlines' Dallas/Fort Worth service.

In 2017 the airport served 3,657,479 passengers, an all-time record for the airport and broke its previous record of 3,634,544 in 2007. In 2018, RIC set an all time passenger record of 4,077,763, an 11.5% increase over 2017.[9]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.


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. The airport's manager from 1957 to 1988 was Anthony E. Dowd, Sr.[10]

A terminal building designed by Marcellus Wright and Son was completed in 1950.[11] It was expanded from 1968 to 1970, which included the current passenger concourses.[12]

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

In the mid 1970s United Airlines scheduled a daily round trip between Richmond and Los Angeles (LAX) with a Douglas DC-8-61 via Dulles International Airport.[13][14] The DC-8-61 was most likely the largest passenger airliner ever scheduled to the airport. United was also flying Boeing 727-200s and Boeing 737-200s to the airport, including nonstop flights to Washington D.C. National Airport in addition to Dulles.[13] Other airlines at Richmond in 1975 included Eastern Air Lines operating Boeing 727s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s with nonstops from Atlanta, New York JFK Airport, New York LaGuardia Airport and Raleigh/Durham; and Piedmont Airlines operating Boeing 737-200s and NAMC YS-11s nonstop from Charleston, WV, Chicago O'Hare Airport, Huntington, WV, Lynchburg, VA, Newport News, Norfolk, Raleigh/Durham, Roanoke, VA, Rocky Mount/Wilson, NC, and Washington D.C. National Airport.[13] Altair Airlines, a commuter air carrier, was serving Richmond with Beechcraft 99s nonstop from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE.[13]

The February 15, 1985 OAG listed five airlines serving Richmond with jet aircraft including Delta Air Lines, Eastern, Piedmont, United and USAir.[15] Delta was operating Boeing 737-200s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s nonstop from Atlanta, Eastern was operating Boeing 727-100s, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s and DC-9-50s nonstop from Atlanta, Charlotte, Greensboro/High Point, New York JFK Airport and New York LaGuardia Airport, Piedmont was operating Boeing 727-200s, Boeing 737-200s and Fokker F28 Fellowships nonstop 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 nonstop from Baltimore, Chicago O'Hare Airport and Norfolk, and USAir was operating BAC One-Elevens and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s nonstop from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Four commuter and regional airlines were at Richmond, including Air Virginia which was operating a hub at the airport flying Swearingen Metroliners 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 340s and Swearingen Metroliners 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.[15] By 1986 Wheeler Airlines had a small hub at the airport and had added nonstop flights from Charleston, WV and Parkersburg, WV.[16]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Allegiant Air Nashville, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota
Seasonal: Punta Gorda (FL)[17]
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami [19]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia [19]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta [20]
Delta Connection Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia [20]
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Tampa [21]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Chicago–Midway, Denver (begins May 9, 2021)
Seasonal: Orlando, Tampa
Spirit Airlines Fort Lauderdale, Orlando [23]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver [24]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [24]


Amazon Air Cincinnati, Fort Worth/Alliance, Lakeland[25]
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Greensboro
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
UPS Airlines Baltimore, Louisville, Norfolk, Philadelphia


Top domestic routes[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from RIC
(November 2019 – October 2020)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 276,000 Delta, Southwest
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 164,000 American
3 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 76,000 American
4 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 76,000 American, United
5 Orlando, Florida 63,000 JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit
6 Fort Lauderdale, FL 59,000 JetBlue, Spirit
7 Boston, Massachusetts 51,000 Delta, JetBlue
8 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 43,000 American
9 New York–La Guardia, New York 42,000 American, Delta
10 Newark, New Jersey 34,000 United

Airline market share[edit]

Top Airlines at RIC (August 2019 – July 2020)[26]
Rank Airline Passenger Percent of market share
1 Delta Air Lines 583,000 19.97%
2 American Airlines 475,000 16.27%
3 JetBlue 293,000 10.03%
4 Southwest Airlines 191,000 6.56%
5 SkyWest Airlines 189,000 6.48%

In 2017, the airport served 3,657,479 passengers, an all-time record for the airport and broke its previous record of 3,634,544 in 2007. 2017 was also the airport's fifth consecutive year of growth and experienced a passenger traffic increase of 2.8% over passenger traffic reported in 2016.[27] RIC is the third-busiest airport in Virginia, after Washington Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington.

Richmond International has 75 based aircraft; 21 are single-engine, 21 multi-engine, and 33 jets.[28]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On May 16, 1946, a Douglas C-47 operated by Viking Air Transport crashed 6.3 miles south of Richmond-Byrd Field due to engine issues, all 27 on board were killed.[29]
  • On July 19, 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.
  • On November 8, 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.
  • On July 16, 1964: An Eastern Airlines DC-7B N809D with 76 occupants bound from New York touched down short of Runway 15, suffered a right main gear collapse and slid for 4752 feet. There were no injuries but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. [30]
  • On May 6 1980, a Gates Learjet 23, N866JS, rolled inverted landing on Runway 33. The aircraft crashed adjacent to the runway at 03:12 and burst into flame. Both pilots were killed.[31]
  • On June 9, 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.[32] There was one minor injury.

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 Form 5010 for RIC PDF effective January 2016
  2. ^ "Richmond International Airport Aviation Activity Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Capital Region Airport Commission - Richmond International Airport". Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  4. ^ John Pike. "Richmond International Airport / Byrd Field". Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  5. ^ "Airport Design, Architecture and Interior Design – Gresham, Smith and Partners". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Zullo, Robert. "Expansion at Richmond International's Concourse A on the horizon". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  7. ^ CLINE, ALEXANDRA. "Expansion of Richmond International Airport's Concourse A should begin later this year". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  8. ^ "News - Richmond International Airport". Archived from the original on February 2, 2018.
  9. ^ "Richmond International Airport Records Record Year, Contract Let for Concourse A Expansion". Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  10. ^ Richmond Times-Dispatch, ELLEN ROBERTSON. "Anthony E. "Tony" Dowd, who helped put the "international" at Richmond's airport, dies at 90". Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Terminal Building, Richard E. Byrd Airport, Richmond, Virginia: Rarely Seen Richmond". Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "History". Capital Region Airport Commission. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d, April 15, 1975 Official Airline Guide
  14. ^, June 6, 1976 United Airlines timetable
  15. ^ a b, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide
  16. ^, Feb. 15, 1986 Wheeler Airlines route map
  17. ^ "Allegiant announces nonstop flights to Punta Gorda starting at $65". Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  21. ^ "JetBlue Airlines Timetable". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  22. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  23. ^ "Where We Fly". Spirit Airlines. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  24. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  25. ^ "Lakeland". Flightradar24. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  26. ^ a b "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  27. ^ Wire and staff reports. "Richmond airport sets all-time passenger record". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  28. ^ "AirportIQ 5010". Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  29. ^ Accident description for NC53218 at the Aviation Safety Network
  30. ^ "Aircraft accident Eastern Airlines DC-7B, Richmond, VA". Aviation Safety Network. July 16, 1964.
  31. ^ "Aircraft accident Learjet 23 N866JS, Richmond, VA". Aviation Safety Network. May 6, 1980.
  32. ^ "Aircraft accident Boeing 737-2H5 N221US Richmond, VA". Aviation Safety Network. June 9, 1996. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012.

External links[edit]