Westover Metropolitan Airport
|Westover Metropolitan Airport|
|IATA: CEF – ICAO: KCEF – FAA LID: CEF|
|Owner||Westover Metropolitan Corporation|
|Elevation AMSL||241 ft / 73 m|
Westover Metropolitan Airport (IATA: CEF, ICAO: KCEF, FAA LID: CEF) is a civilian airport located in the Massachusetts communities of Chicopee, Granby, and Ludlow, near the cities of Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts. The complex is considered intermodal because it borders the Massachusetts Turnpike and is accessible by several industrial rail spurs. It was named for General Oscar Westover, commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s.
The Westover complex serves the "joint use" mission of military and civilian cooperation. The core aviation facilities at Westover are owned by the Department of Defense while nearly a 100 acres (400,000 m2) are under private ownership. The two parties coordinate operations in order to promote national defense and economic development. The mile-long runways provide significant separation between the two components.
Westover Field was created by a war-readiness appropriation signed by president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939. It became the largest military air facility in the Northeast during the course of World War II. The post-war Berlin Airlift was based in large part at Westover. It was renamed Westover Air Force Base after that agency's creation and became instrumental in waging the Cold War. The Eighth Air Force and its 99th Bombardment Wing were headquartered at Westover in order to provide range and support to nuclear bombers. As a former Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52 and KC-135 base, this military center was one of the Soviet Union's top targets during the Cold War. The SAC constructed a secret underground bunker several miles away in Amherst, Massachusetts to coordinate Westover's operations during a nuclear war. The command post was linked to the main base by buried cables and microwave antennae. The U-2 spy plane film that set off the Cuban Missile Crisis was developed at Westover. It was a base of operations for the Air Force in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Bombing and cargo missions in Vietnam were made directly from Westover. Eight fully armed nuclear bombers stood ready in Christmas tree formation to scramble if a conflict broke out with the Soviet Union.
In 1974, as the last Vietnam War veterans stepped onto Westover's tarmac, the base was turned over to the Air Force Reserve. The decision followed four years after the Eighth Air Force was moved from Westover by President Richard Nixon.
The local government credits Westover with spurring development of the Memorial Drive corridor, including several planned hotels and a high-end retail plaza.
Westover Metropolitan Airport is the civilian component of the complex. It is owned and managed by the non-profit Westover Metropolitan Corporation, established in 1974 to develop property surplused by the General Services Administration. An area of 91 acres (370,000 m2) of the property has been operated since that time as a public use, regional civilian airport. The United States Air Force extends military-grade air traffic control and firefighting/rescue services to civilian users.
Airlines and destinations
Westover Metropolitan Airport contains a full-service passenger terminal, including Transportation Security Administration security facilities. The facility was built in 1989 in order to host several commuter airlines and closed in April 2008 with the collapse of Skybus Airlines. Long-term and short-term parking is available. Parking shuttles and hotel shuttles are provided at no cost. Facility upgrades were paid for by Massachusetts taxpayers, but since the collapse of Skybus the passenger terminal has been empty. The airport is currently looking to receive new commercial service from a new airline.
Facilities and aircraft
The Westover complex covers an area of 2,500 acres (10 km²) which contains two runways: 5/23: measuring 11,597 x 301 ft (3,535 x 92 m) and 15/33 measuring 7,082 x 150 ft (2,159 x 46 m). A new Air Traffic Control tower was constructed in 2002 and the old tower was demolished.
According to FAA records for the 12-month period ending September 26, 1994, the airport had 38,137 aircraft operations, an average of 104 per day: 81% military, 18% general aviation and 1% air taxi. There were 46 aircraft based at this airport: 35% military, 50% single engine, 9% multi-engine, 2% jet aircraft, 2% helicopters and 2% ultralight.
General aviation services are provided by Metro Air Services.
- Westover Metropolitan Airport (official site)
- (PDF), effective November 12, 2015
- Resources for this airport: