Southwest Florida International Airport

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Southwest Florida International Airport
Southwest Florida International Airport Overhead Shot.jpg
RSW Logo.svg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerLee County
OperatorLee County Port Authority
ServesFort Myers
LocationUnincorporated Lee County, adjacent to Fort Myers
Hub forWestern Global Airlines
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
Websiteflylcpa.com
Maps
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
RSW is located in Florida
RSW
RSW
Location of airport in Florida / United States
RSW is located in the United States
RSW
RSW
RSW (the United States)
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 12,000 3,658 Asphalt
Statistics (2021)
Aircraft operations101,408
Passengers10,322,434
Total cargo (lbs)41,571,117
Source:[1]

Southwest Florida International Airport (IATA: RSW, ICAO: KRSW, FAA LID: RSW) is a major county-owned airport in the South Fort Myers area 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] In 2019, the airport served 10,225,180 passengers, the most in its history.

The airport sits on 13,555 acres (5,486 ha, 21.2 sq.mi.)[3] 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.[4]

History[edit]

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.[5]

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).[6]

Construction of the airport began in 1980; 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").[7] Delta Air Lines operated the first flight. The airport's original terminal was located on the north side of the runway at the end of Chamberlin Parkway and it initially included 14 gates on two concourses.[8]

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.[9] 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).[10]

In 1988 the airport exceeded its annual capacity of 3 million passengers; by 2004, the airport was serving nearly 7 million passengers annually. In 1998, the original terminal was expanded with a new wing added to Concourse B which included three additional gates, bringing the total to 17.[8]

LTU International delivered Fort Myers its first nonstop flights to Europe in April 1994, introducing service to Germany. The inaugural flight arrived from Munich via Düsseldorf, while the return to Munich stopped in both Miami and Düsseldorf.[11] The new route came in response to rising tourism from Germany, which Lee County had spent the past several years cultivating. The county considered Germany a natural market to target, given the sizable German-American community that lived in Southwest Florida and maintained ties with its country of origin.[12][13] Condor joined LTU in 2000 with a flight to Frankfurt.[14]

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,[15] 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. The former terminal's ramp, now known as North Ramp, is now primarily used as a base for Western Global Airlines, an Estero-based cargo airline.[16]

After deciding to prioritize its service to Orlando, Condor withdrew from Fort Myers in 2007.[17] Two years later, Air Berlin replaced LTU at the airport following the merger of the two airlines.[18]

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.[19] Terminal Access Road was then expanded to six lanes in late 2016.[20]

Air Berlin continued to serve Fort Myers until it ceased operations in 2017.[13] Transatlantic flights resumed within a year when Eurowings opened routes to Düsseldorf, Munich, and Cologne; however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the company to suspend flights.[21][22] In mid-2021, the Lufthansa Group revealed that a new airline brand, Eurowings Discover, would link Fort Myers to Frankfurt beginning in March 2022.[23]

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 to be completed by 2019, but this was 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.[24]

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.[25][26]

Facilities[edit]

The entrance at the airport.
East Atrium
Main Terminal
Airfield
  • The airport covers 13,555 acres (54.9 km2), 10 mi (16 km) southeast of Fort Myers.[3]
Runways
  • Runway 06/24: 12,000 x 150 ft (3,658 x 46 m), asphalt[3]
Activity[27]

In 2020 the airport had 74,901 aircraft operations, averaging 205 per day.

Terminal
  • 798,000 sq ft (74,100 m2)
  • Design capacity is 10 million passengers per year, with 28 gates on three concourses (current B,C and D). The terminal buildings can be expanded incrementally to 65 gates on five concourses (A-E).
Parking
  • 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
Awards
  • 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

Terminals[edit]

The airport has one terminal with three concourses: Concourse B serves Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Avelo Airlines, Eurowings, Frontier, Southwest, and Sun Country; Concourse C serves Delta, United, and WestJet; and Concourse D serves American, JetBlue, and Spirit. Customs and Immigration services for international flights are located on the lower level of Concourse B. The concourses are each completely separate and are not connected Airside. Concourses A and E designations have been reserved for the planned future expansion of the terminal.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Air Canada Rouge Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau
[28]
Air Transat Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau [29]
Alaska Airlines Seasonal: Los Angeles, Seattle/Tacoma [30]
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington–National [31]
American EaglePhiladelphia, Washington–National
Seasonal: Austin
[31]
Avelo Airlines New Haven (CT) [32]
Breeze Airways Charleston (SC), Las Vegas (both begin June 11, 2022)[33] [34]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia [35]
Delta Connection New York–LaGuardia [36]
Eurowings Discover Frankfurt [37]
Frontier Airlines Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Long Island/Islip, Philadelphia, Trenton
Seasonal: Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Portland (ME), Providence, Syracuse
[38]
JetBlue Boston, Newark, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Washington–National, White Plains
Seasonal: Hartford
[39]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Dallas–Love, Houston–Hobby, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington-National
Seasonal: Albany, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Kansas City, Louisville, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Providence, Rochester (NY)
[40]
Spirit Airlines Atlantic City, Chicago–O'Hare, Detroit
Seasonal: Akron/Canton, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Hartford, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Latrobe/Pittsburgh, Louisville, Manchester (NH), Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
[41]
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Duluth (MN), Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Rochester (MN)
[42]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Los Angeles, San Francisco
[43]
United Express Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Cleveland, Newark
[43]
WestJet Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Ottawa
[44]

Cargo[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
FedEx Express Memphis
UPS Airlines Huntsville, Jacksonville, Louisville

Statistics[edit]

Since beginning commercial airline service on May 14, 1983 through the end of 2021, over 221.8 million passengers (enplaned and deplaned) have transited through RSW. There has been over 2.84 million aircraft operations at the airport since its opening.

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from RSW (March 2021 – February 2022)[45]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 467,000 Delta, Southwest
2 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 467,000 American, Frontier, Spirit, United
3 Detroit, Michigan 363,000 Delta, Spirit
4 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 352,000 Delta, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country
5 Charlotte, North Carolina 292,000 American
6 Newark, New Jersey 286,000 JetBlue, Spirit, United
7 Boston, Massachusetts 221,000 JetBlue, Spirit, United
8 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 206,000 American, Frontier, Spirit
9 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 199,000 American
10 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 196,000 Southwest
Largest airlines at RSW
(December 2020 – November 2021)[46]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Southwest Airlines 2,222,000 22.87%
2 Delta Air Lines 1,803,000 18.55%
3 American Airlines 1,426,000 14.67%
4 United Airlines 1,289,000 13.26%
5 JetBlue 904,000 9.3%

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at RSW airport. See source Wikidata query.
Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned), 1983–present[47]
Year Passengers Percent change Year Passengers Percent change Year Passengers Percent change Year Passengers Percent change
1983 594,185 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 120.8% 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 9,373,178 Increase 6.0%
1989 3,231,092 Increase 3.7% 1999 4,897,253 Increase 4.9% 2009 7,415,958 Decrease -2.5% 2019 10,225,180 Increase 9.0%
1990 3,734,067 Increase 15.6% 2000 5,207,212 Increase 6.3% 2010 7,514,316 Increase 1.3% 2020 5,978,414 Decrease 41.5%
1991 3,436,520 Decrease -8.0% 2001 5,277,708 Increase 1.4% 2011 7,537,745 Increase 0.3% 2021 10,322,434 Increase 72.7%
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]

  • 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.[48]
  • April 12, 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.[49]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Davis, Rob (April 20, 2006). "Airport Questions Answered". Voice of San Diego. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for RSW PDF, effective December 30, 2021.
  4. ^ "Southwest Florida Transportation: Are We There Yet?". Gulfshore Life. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  5. ^ "Southwest Florida Regional Airport Environmental Impact Statement". 1977. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "Interstate 75". AA Roads. Archived from the original on February 25, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Airport Codes-RSW". Airport Codes. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "2004 Master Plan" (PDF). Southwest Florida International Airport. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  9. ^ "A History of Aviation in Lee County" (PDF). Southwest Florida International Airport. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport" (PDF). Freight Moves Florida. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  11. ^ Winton, Pete (April 8, 1994). "Global flights begin at airport". The News-Press. Fort Myers, FL. p. 16A. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  12. ^ Strother, Susan G (October 2, 1994). "Germans' love affair with Fort Myers sours". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Ruane, Laura (December 22, 2017). "RSW airport's nonstop German service will return in May with more cities, seats". The News-Press. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  14. ^ "Condor, LTU set Fla. flights to Germany". Travel Weekly. July 3, 2000. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  15. ^ "Ready for Takeoff?". Southeast Construction. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  16. ^ "Estero-based Western Global Airlines announces Shreveport project". Estero Weekly. May 16, 2018. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  17. ^ Ochoa, Julio (March 22, 2007). "German airline cuts ties with Southwest Florida International". Naples Daily News. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  18. ^ Maslen, Richard (March 2, 2016). "airberlin strengthens Fort Myers only link to Europe". Routesonline. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  19. ^ "I-75onthego – I-75 Direct Connect". i75onthego.com. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Ruane, Laura (May 4, 2018). "Southwest Florida International greets Eurowings, return of German nonstops to Fort Myers". The News-Press. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  22. ^ Casey, David (April 8, 2020). "Lufthansa cuts fleet, reduces Eurowings' long-haul operations". Routesonline. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  23. ^ "Summer 2022: Seven additional long-haul tourist connections from Frankfurt and Munich". Lufthansa Group. May 20, 2021. Archived from the original on May 20, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  24. ^ "Fort Myers airport to expand terminal, consolidate TSA screening to cut waits". News-press.com. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  25. ^ "Monthly Project Summary Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  26. ^ "Southwest Airlines informations". February 19, 2020. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  27. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport". Flylcpa.com. Archived from the original on May 20, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  28. ^ "Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  29. ^ "Air Transat Winter Program: New Flights to Miami and Fort Myers". canadiantravelnews.ca. June 16, 2021. Archived from the original on October 26, 2021. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  30. ^ Airlines, Alaska. "New Alaska Airlines flights | Alaska Airlines". Alaska Airlines. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  31. ^ a b "American Airlines Map". Archived from the original on April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  32. ^ "Destinations". Avelo Airlines. Archived from the original on July 15, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  33. ^ "Breeze Airways wants a piece of your summer vacation budget with these 35 new routes across US". USA Today.
  34. ^ "Breeze Airways".
  35. ^ "Delta Airlines Map". Archived from the original on April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  36. ^ "Delta Airlines Map". Archived from the original on April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  37. ^ "Eurowings Discover outlines seven new long-haul routes". Archived from the original on June 11, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  38. ^ "Route Map-Frontier Airlines". Frontier Airlines. Archived from the original on February 21, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  39. ^ "Route Map – JetBlue". www.jetblue.com. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  40. ^ "Southwest Airlines – Check Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  41. ^ "Spirit Airlines – Route Map". www.spirit.com. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  42. ^ "Route Map – Sun Country Airlines". Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  43. ^ a b "U.S and International Route Maps – United Airlines". Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  44. ^ "Route map – WestJet official site". www.westjet.com. Archived from the original on October 26, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  45. ^ "Air Carrier Statistics (Form 41 Traffic)- U.S. Carriers". BTS, Transportation Statistics. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  46. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  47. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport". flylcpa.com. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  48. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 122". Aviation Safety Network. November 28, 2007. Archived from the original on May 1, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  49. ^ "Passenger lands turboprop plane after pilot dies". CNN. April 13, 2009. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2009.

External links[edit]

Media related to Southwest Florida International Airport at Wikimedia Commons