Westover Metropolitan Airport

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Westover Metropolitan Airport
Westover Metropolitan Airport Logo.jpg
Airport typeCivil
OwnerWestover Metropolitan Corporation
ServesSpringfield, Massachusetts
LocationChicopee, Massachusetts
Ludlow, Massachusetts
Granby, Massachusetts
Elevation AMSL241 ft / 73 m
Coordinates42°11′38″N 072°32′05″W / 42.19389°N 72.53472°W / 42.19389; -72.53472
FAA Airport Diagram
FAA Airport Diagram
CEF is located in Massachusetts
CEF is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 11,598 3,535 Asphalt
15/33 7,082 2,159 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations16,213
Based aircraft40

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.

Joint use[edit]

The Westover complex is composed of the civilian airport and the Westover Air Reserve Base. The core aviation facilities at Westover are owned by the Department of Defense while 91 acres (370,000 m2) are under private ownership.


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.[2] The SAC constructed a secret underground bunker several miles away in Hadley, 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.

On May 30, 2007, Skybus Airlines announced it would begin once-daily flights to Columbus, OH utilizing 144-seat Airbus A319 jets.[3] On July 16, 2007, the first revenue flight bound for Columbus took off from Westover.[4] This marked the first commercial service at the airport since the late 1980s. Due to Skybus ceasing all operations on April 4, 2008, the airport was yet again without commercial service.[5]

Economic impact[edit]

The local government credits Westover with spurring development of the Memorial Drive corridor, including several planned hotels and a high-end retail plaza.[6]

Civilian use[edit]

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[edit]

Skybus Airlines was the last airline to operate scheduled commercial service at the airport, in 2008.

The airport is currently looking to receive new commercial service from an airline.

Historical service[edit]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

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 is still operational today.

  • 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,[citation needed] but since the collapse of Skybus the passenger terminal has been empty.

The Westover complex covers an area of 2,500 acres (10 km²) which contains two runways: 5/23: measuring 11,598 x 301 ft (3,535 x 92 m) and 15/33 measuring 7,082 x 150 ft (2,159 x 46 m).[1] At nearly 11,600 feet long, runway 5/23 is the longest runway in all of New England. 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 October 31, 2017, the airport had 16,213 aircraft operations, an average of 44 per day: 64% military, 33% general aviation and 3% air carrier. There were 40 aircraft based at this airport: 16 military, 11 single engine, 5 multi-engine, 5 jet aircraft, 2 gliders and 1 helicopter .[1]

General aviation services are provided by Metro Air Services.


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for CEF PDF, retrieved 2007-03-15
  2. ^ Pike, John. "Strategic Air Command".
  3. ^ "Chicopee airport to get discount airline". masslive.com. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  4. ^ "Inaugural Skybus flight lands at Westover". masslive.com. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  5. ^ "Low-cost carrier Skybus calls it quits". msnbc.com. 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  6. ^ "Westover project good for economy - MassLive.com".

External links[edit]