Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
|Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport|
|Owner/Operator||Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties|
|Location||Pittston Township, Pennsylvania|
|Elevation AMSL||962 ft / 293 m|
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (IATA: AVP, ICAO: KAVP, FAA LID: AVP) is primarily in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania, and spans the border between Luzerne County and Lackawanna County. It is owned and operated jointly between the two counties, and it is located approximately 7 miles away from Scranton and 8 miles away from Wilkes-Barre. It is the fifth largest airport in Pennsylvania measured by passenger boarding and calls itself "your gateway to Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Pocono Mountains". This is the primary airport of Northeast/Northeast Central PA and of the Wyoming Valley.
In the 1930s, the largest cities in Northeast Pennsylvania began to recognize the need for a mile-wide airport as the country entered the age of mass air transportation. Despite the crippling depression and hard times affecting the local coal mining industry, a windfall multimillion-dollar opportunity to plan and build a regional airport was presented to Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties through their Public Works Administration. It became apparent that a modern airport would be needed for the economic survival of the region. The site in Avoca was first surveyed in 1939 by the County Commissioners boards of both counties.
In 1941, John B. McDade, Congressman Joseph M. McDade’s (whose name is on the current terminal building) father and president of the Heidelberg Coal Co., donated 122 acres on which part of the airport now sits. Most of the land was previously owned by various coal companies.
Many U.S. airfields built in the World War II era were motivated as much by military defense as they were by commercial aviation. The government funded construction of many airfields to develop a network that could be used by military planes if needed.
The proponents of a large bi-county airport continued their efforts in the early forties until late in 1944, when they succeeded in receiving a last minute commitment from the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics of the United States Department of Commerce, with the approval of a Board composed of the Secretaries of Navy, War, and Commerce that designated the project as necessary for national defense.
Early in 1945, the two counties entered into a legal agreement to co-sponsor and operate the airport. During the negotiations on site selection and the bi-county operation plan, it was agreed that Scranton, the larger city and alphabetical first and closest in mileage should have second billing in name, since Luzerne County had the largest population, thus the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport was named.
Construction of the airport took place from 1945 to June 1, 1947, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport was dedicated with fanfare. The debut commercial passenger service for the region was witnessed by hundred in attendance.
Colonial Airlines and American Airlines were the first two airlines at the airport. In April 1948, Transcontinental & Western Air (later TWA) started service, along with All American Airways (later Allegheny Airlines) in June 1949. Colonial provided Montreal/Syracuse- Philadelphia/Washington and intermediate stop service; American provided Chicago/Buffalo-New York Service; TWA provided Kansas City/Pittsburgh-Albany/Boston service; and All American provided a general interstate service and later a looping network to Newark, Atlantic City, Washington, and around again through Pennsylvania.
The first aircraft type here, operated by all four carriers, was the DC-3, a 21-passenger airplane weighing about 25,000 pounds, which cruised anywhere between 155-165 mph.
The airport was granted "international" status in 1975 when cargo flights to Canada began.
Besides regional airline flights, the airport has had many celebrity visitors. Air Force One has landed with Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama for fundraisers and campaign trips throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. A charter plane carrying Hillary Clinton used the airport during her presidential campaign in 2008. In August 2013, President Obama and Scranton native Vice President Joe Biden visited the region for a campaign event. President Donald Trump also visited the airport in 2017 to go Scranton to do a speech.
A new control tower and TRACON facility opened on August 29, 2012 and was paid for with $13.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The old tower's view of the second runway had been blocked due to the construction of the new terminal. All 25 controllers stayed on to work in the new facility.
In 2015, there was a one-off international charter flight for an all-inclusive vacation from AVP to Freeport in the Bahamas. If the load factors were high enough, additional flights to Freeport, and possibly other international destinations, could be scheduled in the future.
On June 24, 2016, CommutAir announced the purchase of approximately 40 Embraer ERJ-145 from ExpressJet that would eventually replace the Bombardier Q200/Bombardier Q300; which are currently used for flights to Newark Liberty International Airport for United Airlines.
On May 18, 2017, demolition began on the former airport terminal next to the new one that was built in 2006.
- All American Airways (renamed to Allegheny Airlines, then to USAir, and finally to US Airways before merging with American Airlines)
- Colonial Airlines (1947-1956, merged with Eastern Air Lines)
- Eastern Airlines (1956-1991, bankruptcy)
- TWA (1948-1966)
- Allegiant Air (June 21, 2012-January 4, 2018)
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport was the host of an air show between 1983 and 2000. The show temporary ended due to the construction of the new terminal; however, it was suppose to come back once the construction ended. Later that year, reports said the planned renovations to the airport would leave no room for the air show. After 17 years, The Bi-County Airport Board unanimously approved hosting the Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport from August 12-13 of 2017. The show, back after a 17-year absence, will feature several acts:
• The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team
• The U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Team
• An F-22 Raptor demo team
• A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet demo team
Additional civilian attractions will be announced in the coming weeks, as will a number of food vendors.
The airport covers 910 acres (368 ha) and has two asphalt runways:
- 4/22 7,501 × 150 ft (2,286 × 46 m)
- 10/28 4,300 × 150 ft (1,311 × 46 m).
General aviation is serviced by the fixed-base operator (FBO) Aviation Technologies.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport has one passenger terminal with 8 gates. Gates 1 and 2 are located on the lower level, while Gates 3 through 8 are located on the second floor.
- American Eagle: 2, 3 and 5
- Allegiant Air: 7 (ends January 4, 2018)
- Delta Air Lines: 4 and 6
- United Express: 1 and 8
Gate 7 is also the gate used by charter flights, diversions, or any airline that needs to use another gate.
Airlines and destinations
operated by Suburban Air Freight
operated by Ameriflight
operated by Wiggins Airways
|Seasonal: Lehigh Valley International Airport|
|8||Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL||12,450||Allegiant|
|Passengers||Change from previous year|
|Passengers (Arrivals)||Passengers (Departure)||Freight/Mail
Accidents and incidents
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is within miles of all three large New York Airports and because of this the airport is a popular location for diversions.
- On January 7, 2011, Delta Airlines flight #4061 had to return to the gate when the pilot realized, after takeoff, that the nose gear would not retract.
- On November 1, 2013, U.S. Airways Express flight #4394 that took off from the Philadelphia International Airport and was heading to Albany International Airport made an emergency landing due to smoke being discovered in the cockpit. 12 passengers and 3 crew members were on board and no injuries were reported.
- On February 25, 2014, a US Airways flight from New England to Philadelphia was diverted Tuesday morning, when cockpit lights indicated a mechanical issue. 42 passengers and three crew members were onboard, and no injury were reported during the emergency landing.
- On April 1, 2016, a Virgin America Airbus A320 landed at AVP due to high winds and bad weather in the New York area. The plane took off from Los Angeles International Airport and was scheduled to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
- On September 6, 2016, a United Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing after the pilot reported a fuel imbalance.
- On February 26, 2017, an American Eagle flight #4858 from Scranton to Philadelphia International Airport had to return to AVP after a landing gear failure. There were no injuries reported.
- On July 11, 2017, a private plane traveling from Morristown, NJ to Philadelphia, PA had to make an emergency landing at AVP due to a landing gear failure. According to news outlets, "They tested the landing gear, flew in front of the tower, and the tower advised them it was not locking in place so the pilot made the decision to land on our runway, which he did successfully," Airport President Carl Beardsley said. The airport was closed for about an hour and a half while crews cleared the scene. No injuries were reported. A Delta flight had to be rerouted due to the airport closure.
- FAA Airport Master Record for AVP ( PDF), effective July 5, 2007
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport website
- HNTB – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
- Merger May Help Airport Boost Service timesleader. com
- "News Release from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport". Regional Sky. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Petrillo, Matt. "Direct Flight to Bahamas Planned from W-B/Scranton Airport". WNEP 16. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- "Old Airport Terminal To Come Down". WNEP.com. 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- "Passengers All Carriers - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes Barre Scranton International". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Passengers All Carriers - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes Barre Scranton International". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (official site)
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport at Pennsylvania DOT Bureau of Aviation
- (PDF), effective September 14, 2017
- FAA Terminal Procedures for AVP, effective September 14, 2017
- Resources for this airport: