Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport

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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Wilkes-Barre—Scranton International Airport (logo).png
KAVP pano.jpg


AVP is located in Pennsylvania
Location of airport in Pennsylvania
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties
Serves Wilkes-BarreScranton
Location Avoca, Pennsylvania (Runway partly in Moosic, Pennsylvania)
Elevation AMSL 962 ft / 293 m
Coordinates 41°20′18″N 075°43′24″W / 41.33833°N 75.72333°W / 41.33833; -75.72333
Website www.FlyAVP.com
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 7,501 2,286 Asphalt
10/28 4,300 1,311 Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Aircraft operations 49,863
Based aircraft 45
Total Passengers 419,000

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (IATA: AVPICAO: KAVPFAA LID: AVP) is primarily in Avoca, 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.[2]


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

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

In 2015, there was a one-off international charter flight for an all-inclusive vacation from AVP to Freeport in the Bahamas.[9] If the load factors were high enough, additional flights to Freeport, and possibly other international destinations, could be scheduled in the future.[10]

On June 24, 2016, CommutAir announced the purchase of approximately 40 Embraer ERJ-145[11] from ExpressJet that would eventually replace the Bombardier Q200/Bombardier Q300; which are currently used for flights to Newark Liberty International Airport[12] for United Airlines.

On November 19, 2016, American Airlines announced that they would add three additional flights from the Wilkes-Barre International Airport to Charlotte.[13]

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

Former carriers[edit]


Terminal buildings as seen from the air

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).[1]

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

Airlines and destinations[edit]

A Continental Connection plane at the new terminal


Airlines Destinations
Allegiant Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
American Eagle Charlotte, Philadelphia
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Delta Connection Detroit
United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Newark


Airlines Destinations
DHL Aviation
operated by Suburban Air Freight
DHL Express
operated by Ameriflight
Albany, Cincinnati


Top Destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from AVP
(Aug 2015 – Jul 2016) [14]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Charlotte, NC 48,780 American/US Airways
2 Philadelphia, PA 42,690 American/US Airways
3 Detroit, MI 34,730 Delta
4 Atlanta, GA 32,440 Delta
5 Chicago–O'Hare, IL 23,330 United
6 Newark, NJ 20,970 United
7 Orlando/Sanford, FL 13,980 Allegiant
8 Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL 10,610 Allegiant

Annual traffic[edit]

Traffic by calendar year[15]
Passengers Change from previous year Cargo
2013 212,800 Decrease 2.30%
2014 211,262 Decrease 0.72% 492,000
12 months ending June of each year.[16]
Passengers (Arrivals) Passengers (Departure) Freight/Mail
2015 207,000 212,000 411k
2016 223,000 226,000 337k


External links[edit]