Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport

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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Wilkes-Barre—Scranton International Airport (logo).png
KAVP pano.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorLuzerne and Lackawanna Counties
ServesWilkes-Barre-ScrantonWyoming Valley
LocationPittston Township, Pennsylvania
Elevation AMSL962 ft / 293 m
Coordinates41°20′18″N 075°43′24″W / 41.33833°N 75.72333°W / 41.33833; -75.72333
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is located in Pennsylvania
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is located in the US
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 7,501 2,286 Asphalt
10/28 4,300 1,311 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations59,233
Based aircraft45
Total Passengers531,851

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.[3]


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.[4] A charter plane carrying Hillary Clinton used the airport during her presidential campaign in 2008.[5] In August 2013, President Obama and Scranton native Vice President Joe Biden visited the region for a campaign event.[6] President Donald Trump also visited the airport in 2017.

In May 2006 the airport completed an $80 million new terminal and garage. The terminal, designed by HNTB, has jetways, a larger waiting area, more gates and a shopping and dining area.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

In 2015, there was a one-off international charter flight for an all-inclusive vacation from AVP to Freeport in the Bahamas.[10] If the load factors were high enough, additional flights to Freeport, and possibly other international destinations, could be scheduled in the future.[11]

On June 24, 2016, CommutAir announced the purchase of approximately 40 Embraer ERJ-145[12] from ExpressJet that would eventually replace the Bombardier Q200/Bombardier Q300; which are currently used for flights to Newark Liberty International Airport[13] for United Airlines.

On November 19, 2016, American Airlines announced that they would add three additional flights from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to Charlotte.[14]

On December 15, 2016 Dunkin' Donuts opened a location next to Lucky's Craft Food and Drink, near the security checkpoint on the airport’s second level.[15]

On May 18, 2017, demolition began on the former airport terminal next to the new one that was built in 2006.[16]

By the end of 2017, American Airlines and United Airlines both hope to end their use of the Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft as these turboprops are replaced by jets.

On April 24, 2018, the Wilkes-Barre Airport moved the security checkpoint, a million dollar project that places the Lucky's Craft Food and Drink restaurant and Dunkin' Donuts past security[17]. The airport is currently working on a project to place a kiosk on the lower level near the baggage carousel.

United Airlines announced several schedule changes; on October 3, 2018 the airport will stop connecting passengers through the Newark airport as they shift the flights to Washington–Dulles beginning on October 4, 2018. The airline has also announced an additional flight to Chicago–O'Hare in the morning.[18]

The old terminal was demolished in early 2018. The former site is currently being transformed into a cell phone parking lot and additional parking for airport staff.[19]

The airport is referenced in the 1990 film Home Alone and in The Office.[citation needed]

Former carriers[edit]

United Airlines's Newark Flights[edit]

United Airlines announced several schedule changes; on October 3, 2018 the airport will stop connecting passengers through the Newark airport as they shift the flights to Washington–Dulles beginning on October 4, 2018. For years, the flights from AVP to EWR was scheduled to depart around 1PM and towards the end of 2016 it was changed to a 6PM departure. Numbers dropped dramatically as connections were very limited and the flight was delayed constantly due to air traffic control. AVP is the last regional airport in Pennsylvania to have flights to EWR; Pittsburgh International Airport is the only airport in Pennsylvania that offers flights to Newark.

Air Show[edit]

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport was the host of a major air show between 1983 and 2000. The show was temporarily suspended due to construction of a new terminal; however, it was expected to return after construction was completed.[24]. Later that year, reports said the planned renovations to the airport would leave no room for the air show. In early 2017, 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.[25]. The show, back after a 17-year absence, will feature several acts:

• U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team

• U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Team

• F-22 Raptor Demo team

• U.S. Navy F/A-18 TacDemo Team

It was announced that the airshow would return in 2019, where "The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, known as the Blue Angels, tentatively are scheduled to perform at the air show May 25 and 26 in 2019" [26].


Terminal buildings as seen from the air

The airport covers 910 acres (368 ha) and has two asphalt runways:[1]

  • 4/22 7,501 × 150 ft (2,286 × 46 m)
  • 10/28 4,300 × 150 ft (1,311 × 46 m).[1]

General aviation is serviced by the fixed-base operator (FBO) Aviation Technologies.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection[edit]

The Bureau of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a property located on airport grounds. The property is located on the FBO side of the airport near the hangars. This U.S. Customs Service office serves as a facilities and crossings for Harrisburg's port of entry.

Customs Location at AVP


Even though the airport currently does not have any scheduled international service, the airport has a location to process international flights. The facility is located on the lower level near Gates 1 & 2, where the airport can isolate the international passengers from the domestic passengers. With advanced notice, the airport can process international flights that are either scheduled or flights that have diverted to AVP.[27]


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.

Gate assignments:

Gate 7 is the gate used for charter flights and diversions. Gates 1 & 2 were used by American Eagle & United Express for their turboprops. Since they transitioned to jets, these two gates are not used daily. Jets are parked here if all the other gates are being used or for diversions.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

A Continental Connection plane at the new terminal


American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Philadelphia
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Delta Connection Detroit
Southern Airways Express Pittsburgh[28]
Southwest Airlines (operated for Boscov's Travel) Charter: Orlando[29]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Washington–Dulles[30]


DHL Aviation Albany, Cincinnati
FedEx Express Harrisburg[31]
Seasonal: Allentown[32]


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from AVP
(Mar 2017 – Feb 2018) [33]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Charlotte, NC 69,300 American
2 Philadelphia, PA 48,890 American
3 Detroit, MI 36,830 Delta
4 Atlanta, GA 34,120 Delta
5 Chicago–O'Hare, IL 23,660 United
6 Newark, NJ 21,210 United
7 Orlando/Sanford, FL 10,770 Allegiant
8 Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL 10,340 Allegiant
9 Asheville, NC 150 Other
9 Little Rock, AR 110 Other

Annual traffic[edit]

Traffic by calendar year[34]
Passengers Change from previous year
2015 439,128 Increase 2.62%
2016 462,999 Increase 5.44%
2017 531,854 Increase 14.87%
12 months ending February of each year.[35]
Passengers (Arrivals) Passengers (Departure) Freight/Mail
2017 227,000 231,000 381k
2018 252,000 256,000 336k

Ground transportation[edit]


The airport has direct access to I-81. The Pennsylvania Turnpike can be also be accessed from I-476.


The Luzerne County Transportation Authority offers route number 17 from the airport to Wilkes-Barre and surrounding cities.

Taxi and Car Rentals[edit]

The airport's main taxi service is: Call-a-Car Taxi. The airport is also served by Burgit’s City Taxi & McCarthy Flowered Cabs. Uber and Lyft have specific pick-up locations in front of the airport on the arrivals side of the airport. The following rental car companies provided their services at Wilkes-Barre: Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

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 April 20, 1985, AF ser. No. 62-4496, a USAF CT-39A experienced brake failure on landing at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport, killing all five passengers and crew aboard, including General Jerome F. O'Malley, Commander, Tactical Air Command, and his wife.[36][37]
  • Bear Creek Township was the site of a plane crash of an Executive Airlines Jetstream 31 airplane which had been chartered, on May 21, 2000; it crashed while attempting to land at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. As described by the BBC, the crash occurred in a "wooded area" of the township, near the intersection of Bear Creek Boulevard (PA-Route 115) and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The accident killed the pilot as well as all 19 passengers. NTSB investigation ruled that the crash was probably due to low fuel. The incident spurred an FBI investigation and made news across the globe. Passenger safety in the aviation field became a major issue of the 2000 U.S. presidential election.[38]
  • On January 7, 2011, Delta Air Lines flight #4061 had to return to the gate when the pilot realized, after takeoff, that the nose gear would not retract.[39]
  • 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.[40]
  • 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 on board, and no injury were reported during the emergency landing.[41]
  • 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.[42]
  • On September 6, 2016, a United Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing after the pilot reported a fuel imbalance.[43]
  • On February 26, 2017, an American Eagle flight #4858 from Wilkes-Barre to Philadelphia International Airport had to return to AVP after a landing gear failure. There were no injuries reported.[44]
  • 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.[45]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for AVP (Form 5010 PDF), effective July 5, 2007
  2. ^ "Statistics". transtats.bts.gov.
  3. ^ "AVP - Wilkes Barre Scranton International Airport". AVP.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 3, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  6. ^ writer), by kyle wind (staff. "President and vice president both visiting Scranton creates extra security challenge".
  7. ^ "HNTB – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport".
  8. ^ "Supplemental Success Stories" (PDF). casey.senate.gov.
  9. ^ Merger May Help Airport Boost Service timesleader. com
  10. ^ "News Release from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport". Regional Sky. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  11. ^ Petrillo, Matt. "Direct Flight to Bahamas Planned from W-B/Scranton Airport". WNEP 16. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Commutair to add jobs and jets in Albany".
  13. ^ CommutAir. "CommutAir Enters the Jet Age with FAA Certification of the ERJ 145XR". www.prnewswire.com.
  14. ^ Charlotte
  15. ^ Wellock, Bill. "Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport adds Dunkin Donuts".
  16. ^ "Old Airport Terminal To Come Down". WNEP.com. 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  17. ^ http://www.pahomepage.com/news/checkpoint-change-for-airport/1138824833
  18. ^ united.com
  19. ^ http://wnep.com/2017/09/21/wilkes-barrescranton-airport-to-add-new-parking-lot/
  20. ^ Michael McNarney
  21. ^ "Hooters Air Announces Cancellation of Service in Selected Cities." Hooters Air.
  22. ^ Company, Allegiant Travel. "Allegiant Announces Nonstop, Low-Cost Flights Between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Orlando".
  23. ^ "Airport director: Allegiant exit offers new opportunities - Times Leader". timesleader.com.
  24. ^ "Air show set for Aug. 12-13 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport - Times Leader". timesleader.com.
  25. ^ Deabill, Eric (March 23, 2017). "Air show returning to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport".
  26. ^ http://citizensvoice.com/news/air-show-set-to-return-to-wilkes-barre-scranton-airport-in-2019-1.2307012
  27. ^ https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/harrisburg-pennsylvania-1109
  28. ^ O'Boyle, Bill (August 15, 2018). "WBS airport to expand Pittsburgh service with weekend flights by new carrier". Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania).
  29. ^ "Boscov's Travel". www.boscovstravel.com.
  30. ^ "United adjusts Newark domestic network from Oct 2018". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Wiggins #7450 ✈ 15-Feb-2018 ✈ KAVP - KMDT ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware.
  32. ^ "(no title)". www.wiggins-air.com.
  33. ^ "OST_R - BTS - Transtats". www.transtats.bts.gov.
  34. ^ "Passengers All Carriers - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes Barre Scranton International". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  35. ^ "Passengers All Carriers - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes Barre Scranton International". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  36. ^ Casey, Aloysius G.; Casey, Patrick A. (2007). Velocity : speed with direction : the professional career of Gen Jerome F. O'Malley. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press. pp. 247–253. ISBN 978-1585661695.
  37. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident North American CT-39A-1-NO Sabreliner 62-4496 Wilkes-Barre International Airport, PA (AVP)". aviation-safety.net.
  38. ^ "CNN Transcript - WorldView: NTSB Begins Investigation Into Charter Plane Crash in Pennsylvania Which Killed All 19 Onboard - May 21, 2000". www.cnn.com.
  39. ^ Writer), BY JOSH MROZINSKI (Staff. "Bad nose gear forces plane's return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport".
  40. ^ "Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport". November 1, 2013.
  41. ^ "Diverted Jet Makes Emergency Landing at Airport". February 25, 2014.
  42. ^ wnep.com/2016/04/01/bad-weather-diverts-virgin-america-flight/
  43. ^ "Emergency Landing at AVP". September 6, 2016.
  44. ^ WRITER, BY JON O'CONNELL, STAFF. "Flight from AVP returned due to landing gear malfunction".
  45. ^ "Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport". July 11, 2017.

External links[edit]