Southwest Florida International Airport

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Southwest Florida International Airport
Southwest Florida International Airport (logo).svg
Southwest Florida International Airport RSW.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerLee County
OperatorLee County Port Authority
ServesFort Myers, Florida
LocationSouth Fort Myers, Florida
Elevation AMSL30 ft / 9 m
Coordinates26°32′10″N 081°45′19″W / 26.53611°N 81.75528°W / 26.53611; -81.75528Coordinates: 26°32′10″N 081°45′19″W / 26.53611°N 81.75528°W / 26.53611; -81.75528
RSW is located in Florida
Location of airport in Florida / United States
RSW is located in the US
RSW (the US)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 12,000 3,658 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations82,643
Total Cargo (Lbs)32,731,775

Southwest Florida International Airport (IATA: RSW, ICAO: KRSW, FAA LID: RSW) is a major county-owned airport in the South Fort Myers region of unincorporated Lee County, Florida, United States. The airport serves the Southwest Florida region, including the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples-Marco Island, and Punta Gorda metropolitan areas, and is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry. It currently is the second-busiest single-runway airport in the United States, after San Diego International Airport,[2] although a second runway is expected to open by 2020. In 2017, the airport served 8,842,549 passengers.

The airport sits on 13,555 acres (5,486 ha) of land just southeast of Fort Myers, making it the third-largest airport in the United States in terms of land size (after Denver and Dallas/Fort Worth). 6,000 acres of the land has been conserved as swamp lands and set aside for environmental mitigation.[3]


Prior to the opening of the airport, the region was served by Page Field in Fort Myers. By the 1970s, however, it had become clear that Page Field would be too small to handle increasing future demand for commercial flights into the region. Expanding Page Field was determined to be impractical because its airfield was constrained by U.S. 41 to the west and expanding the airfield to the east would require bridging the Ten Mile Canal and relocating a railroad track.[4]

A number of sites were considered for a new regional airport, including southern Charlotte County, Estero, and northeast Cape Coral near Burnt Store Marina. The government of Lee County ultimately selected a site near the end of Daniels Road which was a dirt road at the time. An advantage to this location was its proximity to Interstate 75, which was under construction and would have an interchange with Daniels Road, providing easy access (Interstate 75 was opened to traffic through Fort Myers in 1979).[5]

Construction of the airport began in 1980, and it opened on schedule on May 14, 1983, with a single 8400-ft runway. At the time of its opening, the airport was named Southwest Florida Regional Airport (the airport code RSW is short for "Regional South-West").[6] Delta Air Lines operated the first flight. The original terminal was located on the north side of the runway at the end of Chamberlin Parkway.

The airport was renamed Southwest Florida International Airport in 1993, though it had hosted international flights since 1984 and U.S. Customs since 1987. The name change coincided with the completion of a 55,000 square foot Federal Inspection facility annexed to the original terminal's Concourse A.[7] The runway was also lengthened to 12,000 ft (3,658 m) at the same time to better accommodate international service (making it the fourth-longest runway in Florida).[8]

In 1988 the airport exceeded its annual capacity of 3 million passengers; by 2004, the airport was serving nearly 7 million passengers annually. The original terminal had 17 gates on two concourses. While three of the gates were added in a minor expansion of the B concourse in the late 1990s, the original terminal's design was not conducive to a major expansion.

With the terminal operating at more than double its intended capacity, construction of a new Midfield Terminal Complex began in February 2002. The $438 million terminal opened on September 9, 2005. The terminal, designed by Spillis Candela/DMJM Aviation,[9] has three concourses and 28 gates and can eventually expand to five concourses with 65 gates. Demolition of the former terminal north of the airfield was completed in spring 2006. However, the original terminal's parking lot and other related infrastructure still stand at the end of Chamberlin Parkway.

In early 2015, Terminal Access Road, the airport's main entrance road, was extended past Treeline Avenue to connect directly to Interstate 75, allowing airport-related traffic to avoid local streets. The airport can now be accessed directly from the freeway at Exit 128.[10] Terminal Access Road was then expanded to six lanes in late 2016.[11]

Current and future projects[edit]

A new $16 million Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting facility (Lee County Station 92) opened in July 2013. A 9,100 ft (2,800 m) parallel runway is in planning. The project includes a relocated air traffic control tower, apron expansion, crossfield taxiway system, mitigation activities and FPL electrical line relocation. The new air traffic control tower and parallel runway were expected complete by 2019, however this has been pushed back to late 2020. The apron expansion and crossfield taxiway system were completed in late 2013. The entire project is estimated to cost $454 million.

In early 2018, the Lee County Port Authority (LCPA) announced plans to ease seasonal security wait times by expanding and relocating the current security checkpoints for each concourse. By relocating each checkpoint, there will be more restaurants, shops, and post-security spaces. According to the announcement by the LCPA, this expansion could cost between $150 million - $180 million.[12]

Plans are in place for Skyplex – a commercial and industrial park in the location of the old terminal. Other airport-related businesses, such as a hotel, are in the planning stages. A retail gasoline outlet near the airport's entrance opened in June 2014.[13][14]


An overhead view of Southwest Florida International Airport
East Atrium
Main Terminal

The airport covers 13,555 acres (54.9 km2), 10 mi (16 km) southeast of Fort Myers.


In 2017 the airport had 82,643 aircraft operations, average 226 per day.

  • 798,000 sq ft (74,100 m2)
  • Design capacity is 10 million passengers per year, with 28 gates on 3 concourses (current B,C and D). The terminal buildings can be expanded incrementally to 65 gates on 5 concourses (A-E).
  • 11,250 spaces for hourly/daily parking located around the main terminal building and the entrance to the facility.
  • There is a three-story parking structure adjacent from the main terminal, used to house short-term parking.
  • 30-space "cell-phone lot" for customers picking up arriving passengers.
  • J.D. Power & Associates Airport Satisfaction Study – Ranked 2nd among North American airports with under 10 million annual passengers
  • Florida Department of Transportation 2008 Commercial Airport of the Year
  • Airports Council International-North America Excellence in Marketing and Communications 2008: 1st Place Special Events for Aviation Day
  • Airports Council International-North America 2008: 1st Place for Concession Convenience and 2nd Place for Food Concessions
  • Airports Council International-North America 2009: 2nd Place Newsletter – Internal or E-mail and 2nd Place Special Events – Berlin Airlift
  • Federal Aviation Administration 2009 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Advocate and Partner Award
  • Florida Airports Council 2008 Environmental Excellence Award for Mitigation Park
  • Airport Revenue News 2008 Best Concessions Award for top Concessions Program Design


The airport has one terminal with three concourses: Concourse B (Gates B1-B9), Concourse C (Gates C1-C9), and Concourse D (Gates D1-D10). Customs and Immigration services for international flights are located on the lower level of Concourse B. "Concourses A and E" designations have been reserved for the planned future expansion of the terminal.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Canada Rouge Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington–National [17]
American Eagle Seasonal: Miami (begins December 19, 2018),[18] Washington–National [17]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Boston, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia
Delta Connection Seasonal: Boston, Cincinnati, Columbus–Glenn, Indianapolis, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Raleigh/Durham [19]
Eurowings Düsseldorf
Seasonal: Munich[20]
Frontier Airlines Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia, Trenton
Seasonal: Albany, Buffalo, Chicago–O'Hare, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Long Island/Islip, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Omaha, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Portland (ME), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, Syracuse
JetBlue Airways Boston, Newark, New York–JFK, Washington–National, White Plains
Seasonal: Hartford
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Columbus–Glenn, Dallas-Love (resumes January 7, 2019), Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
Seasonal: Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Kansas City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Providence, Rochester (NY), Washington–National
Spirit Airlines Atlantic City, Chicago–O'Hare, Detroit
Seasonal: Akron/Canton, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Hartford, Latrobe/Pittsburgh, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia (begins December 13, 2018),[25] Pittsburgh
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth, Madison, Nashville, St. Louis
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark
Seasonal: Cleveland, Denver
United Express Seasonal: Cleveland (begins March 9, 2019) [28]
WestJet Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Ottawa


FedEx Express Memphis
UPS Airlines Fort Lauderdale, Louisville, San Antonio, Tampa


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from RSW
(July 2017 – June 2018)
Rank City (Airport) Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 561,910 Delta, Southwest
2 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 329,190 American, Frontier, Spirit, United
3 Detroit, Michigan 283,190 Delta, Frontier, Spirit
4 Boston, Massachusetts 277,820 Delta, JetBlue, Spirit
5 Newark, New Jersey 254,960 JetBlue, United
6 Charlotte, North Carolina 238,070 American
7 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 227,520 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country
8 Baltimore, Maryland 217,190 Southwest, Spirit
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 162,270 American, Frontier
10 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 160,820 Southwest
Largest airlines at RSW
(May 2017 – April 2018)[31]
Rank Airline Share
1 Delta Air Lines 20.66%
2 Southwest Airlines 20.59%
3 American Airlines 15.33%
4 JetBlue 12.80%
5 Spirit Airlines 9.40%

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned), 1983 - December 2017[32]
Year Passengers Percent Change Year Passengers Percent Change Year Passengers Percent Change Year Passengers Percent Change
1983 544,636 Steady 1993 3,717,758 Increase 7.1% 2003 5,891,668 Increase 13.6% 2013 7,637,801 Increase 3.9%
1984 1,311,937 Increase 140.9% 1994 4,005,067 Increase 7.7% 2004 6,736,630 Increase 14.3% 2014 7,970,493 Increase 4.3%
1985 1,701,969 Increase 29.7% 1995 4,098,264 Increase 2.3% 2005 7,518,169 Increase 11.6% 2015 8,371,801 Increase 5.0%
1986 2,129,548 Increase 25.1% 1996 4,317,347 Increase 5.3% 2006 7,643,217 Increase 1.7% 2016 8,604,673 Increase 2.8%
1987 2,687,053 Increase 26.2% 1997 4,477,865 Increase 3.7% 2007 8,049,676 Increase 5.3% 2017 8,842,549 Increase 2.8%
1988 3,115,124 Increase 15.9% 1998 4,667,207 Increase 4.2% 2008 7,603,845 Decrease -5.5% 2018 6,115,346 (through July 31, 2018) Increase 5.2%
1989 3,231,092 Increase 3.7% 1999 4,897,253 Increase 4.9% 2009 7,415,958 Decrease -2.5%
1990 3,734,067 Increase 15.6% 2000 5,207,212 Increase 6.3% 2010 7,514,316 Increase 1.3%
1991 3,436,520 Decrease -8.0% 2001 5,277,708 Increase 1.4% 2011 7,537,745 Increase 0.3%
1992 3,472,661 Increase 1.1% 2002 5,185,648 Decrease -1.7% 2012 7,350,625 Decrease -2.5%

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • September 8, 2005 – A Condor Boeing 767-300ER bound for Frankfurt, Germany returned safely to the airport after experiencing engine trouble. This was the final flight to depart from the airport's original terminal.[33]
  • November 28, 2007 – A single-engine fixed wing aircraft crashed about 9:20 a.m. one mile (1.6 km) west of Runway 6. The crash killed the pilot. This is the first reported crash on airport property.[34]
  • April 13, 2009 – A Beech King Air 200 (N559DW) was carrying four passengers when the pilot went unconscious and later died. Doug White, a passenger, was guided into the airport by air traffic controller Brian Norton, assisted by controller Dan Favio. It was later reported that White was a single engine private pilot with about 130 hours of experience in single engine aircraft. All passengers aboard survived and the plane was not damaged.[35]

Ground transport[edit]

LeeTran bus No. 50 serves the airport.

Recent infrastructure and road projects linked the airport's main terminal road to the southbound and northbound lanes of Interstate 75. This is on top of previously existing roads connecting the airport to the region.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  2. ^ Davis, Rob (20 April 2006). "Airport Questions Answered". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Southwest Florida Transportation: Are We There Yet?". Gulfshore Life. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Southwest Florida Regional Airport Environmental Impact Statement". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Interstate 75". AA Roads. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Airport Codes-RSW". Airport Codes. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  7. ^ "A History of Aviation in Lee County" (PDF). Southwest Florida International Airport. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport" (PDF). Freight Moves Florida. Retrieved 12 October 2015.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Ready for Takeoff?". Southeast Construction. September 11, 2001. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  10. ^ "I-75onthego - I-75 Direct Connect". Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  12. ^ "Fort Myers airport to expand terminal, consolidate TSA screening to cut waits". Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  13. ^ "Monthly Project Summary Report" (PDF). Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport". Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  16. ^ "Flight Schedules". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  18. ^ "American extends Miami – Buffalo / Ft. Myers operation in W18; Grand Rapids launch from Dec 2018". Routes Online. July 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  20. ^ Ruane, Laura (7 July 2017). "RSW airport to gain nonstop flights to German cities of Munich, Cologne in May 2018". Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Route Network - Information - Eurowings". Eurowings GmbH. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  22. ^ "Route Map-Frontier Airlines". Frontier Airlines. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  23. ^ "JetBlue - Where We Jet: Flight Destinations". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Spirit Airlines - Route Map". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  27. ^ "Sun Country Airlines-Route Map". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Route map -". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  30. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  31. ^,%20FL:%20Southwest%20Florida%20International&carrier=FACTS
  32. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  33. ^ "The First 24 Hours". The News-Press. 9 September 2005.
  34. ^ [2][dead link]
  35. ^ "Passenger lands turboprop plane after pilot dies". CNN. April 13, 2009.

External links[edit]

Media related to Southwest Florida International Airport at Wikimedia Commons