Philadelphia International Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Philadelphia International Airport

type = Public
owner = City of Philadelphia
operator =
city-served = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
location =
elevation-f = 36
elevation-m = 11
coordinates = coord|39|52|19|N|075|14|28|W|type:airport_region:US|display=title,inline
website = []
r1-number = 8/26
r1-length-f = 5,000
r1-length-m = 1,524
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 9L/27R
r2-length-f = 9,500
r2-length-m = 2,896
r2-surface = Asphalt
r3-number = 9R/27L
r3-length-f = 10,506
r3-length-m = 3,202
r3-surface = Asphalt
r4-number = 17/35
r4-length-f = 5,460
r4-length-m = 1,664
r4-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2007
stat1-header = Aircraft operations
stat1-data = 499,653
stat2-header =
stat2-data =
footnotes = Source: Airports Council International [ Airports Council International - Philadelphia Movements for 2007] ]

Philadelphia International Airport Airport codes|PHL|KPHL|PHL is an airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is the largest airport in the Delaware Valley region. As of 2008 it is the 10th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft activity. [ [ Airports Council International] Final statistics for 2005 traffic movements] The airport is the primary international hub of US Airways and has service to destinations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, and Mexico, and in the future to China, as US Airways is expected to begin service to Beijing on Spring 2010. [ [ US Airways Group requests one-year delay in starting China flights - Phoenix Business Journal: ] ] Most of the airport property is located in Philadelphia proper. The international terminal and the western end of the airfield are located in Tinicum Township, Delaware County.


Starting in 1925, the Pennsylvania Air National Guard used the PHL site (historically known as Hog Island) as a training field for its pilots. The site was dedicated as the "Philadelphia Municipal Airport" by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. However, there was no proper terminal building until 1940, so airlines used an airfield in nearby Camden, New Jersey. Once the terminal was completed, four airlines (American, Eastern, TWA, and United) started flights to the airport. Philadelphia Municipal became Philadelphia International in 1945, when American Overseas Airlines began flights to Europe.

US Airways became the dominant carrier at PHL through the 1980s and 1990s and shifted the majority of its hub operations from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia in 2003. In 2004, Southwest Airlines announced it would begin flights from PHL, challenging US Airways in some of the major's important north-south and transcontinental markets.

Today, Philadelphia International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and among the fastest growing in the United States. Its status as a US Airways hub and the growth of Southwest Airlines and other low-cost carriers has helped passenger traffic to reach record levels. In 2004, a total of 28,507,420 passengers flew through Philadelphia, up 15.5% over 2003. [] In 2005, 31,502,855 passengers flew through PHL, marking a 10% increase since 2004. [] In 2006, 31,768,272 passengers flew through PHL, a 0.9% increase. []

Such growth has not come without difficulties. There are questions as to how much more passenger growth can occur. PHL's present terminal and runway configuration are reaching full utilization alongside the fact that PHL remains the world's largest airport without an inground fueling system (thus requiring fuel to be trucked to each airplane), have led to congestion and flight delays. Additionally, the airport's parking facilities have been severely taxed. Complete exhaustion of all parking at the airport has become a regular occurrence. [] However, airport officials have ambitious plans for terminal and runway expansion to resolve these issues.

PHL's fastest growing airline, Southwest, is currently working with the city and the airport to construct an expansion and improvement to its facilities. The new construction includes a joint ticket counter lobby for the D and E terminals, one large security check point for the two terminals, additional concessions, and an eventual hammerhead expansion to the E concourse. While construction on some of these projects has already begun, completion is slated for 2008-2009. More immediate growth plans for Southwest include an additional baggage service office in the D terminal, and, in fall 2007, taking over 4 gates (E1,E3,E5,E7) used by Delta Air Lines and 1 gate (E6) used by Northwest Airlines in the E terminal, when Delta moved to A East.

Economic Impact

Philadelphia International Airport is important to Philadelphia, its metropolitan region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth's Aviation Bureau reported in its Pennsylvania Air Service Monitor that the total economic impact made by the state's airports in 2004 was $22 billion. PHL alone accounted for $14 billion or 63% of total. The calculations include both direct spending and the multiplier effect of that spending throughout the state's economy. []

Runway expansion

As of 2005, there are two studies which deal with expanding runway capacity at PHL airport. The first is the Runway 17-35 Extension Project EIS [] which has completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement and ground has been recently been broken. The plan is to extend runway 17-35 to length of 6,500 feet, extending it at both ends and incorporating the proper runway safety areas. The second study, the PHL Capacity Enhancement Program [] has a much larger scope and is considering more drastic ways to increase runway capacity at PHL. Manchester Airport's expansion plans for a second parallel runway involved working closely with PHL air traffic controllers to implement a training program due to similarities in runway configuration in which aircraft must taxi over an active runway.

Ground transportation

Taxis charge a flat rate of $28.50 from the airport to central Philadelphia.

SEPTA operates regional rail service and bus service between the airport and the surrounding area. See|Philadelphia International Airport Terminals (SEPTA station)

Rental cars are available through a number of companies, all of which must be reached by shuttle bus.

As a benefit to students, local schools including The University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, and Swarthmore College have provided transportation to the Airport by means of shuttles during such times as Spring Break and Thanksgiving.

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Philadelphia International Airport has seven terminal buildings, which are divided into seven lettered concourses. Terminals A East and A West, B, C, and D are all interconnected, and it is possible to travel through all of these without reentering security. Terminal E can be reached from Concourse D through a pre-security bridge; however, Terminal F, completed in 2003, is completely separate. There are, however, shuttle buses inside security between Terminal F and Terminal C using gate C16, an old US Airways Express gate and between Terminal F and Terminal A, at gate A1. There is a large shopping/dining area between Concourses B and C.

Ongoing construction at the airport will add new passenger facilities between Terminals D and E, connecting E to the rest of the Terminal complex.

The Philadelphia metropolitan area is the largest in the United States without nonstop flights to East Asia. This is most likely due to its proximity to major airports in New York City and Washington D.C. In July 2007, US Airways announced that it would seek federal approval for a non-stop route between Philadelphia and Beijing, China.

On September 26th, 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it has awarded US Airways a new route between its Philadelphia hub and the Chinese capital city of Beijing. The daily service to China is scheduled to begin on March 25, 2009 with a wide-body Airbus A340 aircraft configured to seat 269 (42 Envoy and 227 economy). US Airways announced that it would seek to the US Department of Transportation to delay the Philadelphia-Beijing flight until Spring 2010 [ [ US Airways seeks delay of Phila.-Beijing flights] ] .

US Airways CEO Doug Parker said they hope they're able to seek three more international destinations including Tel Aviv by the summer of 2009 from Philadelphia. [ [] ]

Future Airport Improvement Plans

It is expected in 2007 that there will be a relocation of airlines, with the upcoming renovation of Terminals D and E. Delta Air Lines has moved from Terminal E to Terminal A East, Frontier Airlines is expected to move to either A East or Terminal D. []

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Terminal A West

One of the two newest terminal buildings at the airport, Concourse A West has a very modern and innovative design. Opened in 2003 as the new international terminal, it is now home to all international flights (except Canada), and also some US Airways domestic flights. It offers a variety of international dining options.

"International Arrivals (except from locations with Customs preclearance) are processed at the Terminal A West arrival building."
* Air France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle) [Ends 31 March, 2009]
* Air Jamaica (Montego Bay)
* British Airways (London-Heathrow)
* Frontier Airlines (Denver)
* Lufthansa (Frankfurt)
* US Airways (Widebody flights arrive and depart from Terminal A West, especially during non-peak international times (e.g. early morning). Some Terminal A West/East flights may depart from Concourse B and C) (Amsterdam, Antigua, Aruba, Athens [seasonal] , Barbados, Barcelona [seasonal] , Beijing [begins Spring 2010] , Bermuda, Brussels, Cancún, Charlotte, Dublin, Frankfurt, Freeport, Glasgow-International [seasonal] , Grand Cayman, Lisbon [seasonal] , London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Madrid, Manchester (UK), Milan-Malpensa, Montego Bay, Munich, Nassau, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Providenciales, Punta Cana, Rome-Fiumicino, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Jose (CR), San Juan, Santo Domingo, Shannon [seasonal] , Stockholm-Arlanda [seasonal] , Tel Aviv [begins July 2] , Venice [seasonal] , Zürich)

Terminal A East

This terminal, originally the airport's international terminal, is now used mainly by domestic carriers, but also sometimes by US Airways for international flights. It is directly connected to A West, B, C and D, and therefore, passengers can move freely between the five terminals. A East is well upgraded and well maintained, and recently received a new baggage claim upgrade.

* American Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, San Juan)
** American Eagle (Chicago-O'Hare) [begins November 2]
** AmericanConnection operated by Chautauqua Airlines (St. Louis)
** AmericanConnection operated by Trans States Airlines (St. Louis)
* Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Paris-Charles de Gaulle [begins April 1] , Salt Lake City)
** Delta Connection operated by Comair (Boston, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, New York-JFK)
* Midwest Airlines (Milwaukee)
** Midwest Connect operated by Republic Airlines (Milwaukee) [ [ New Midwest Connect/Republic routes] ]
** Midwest Connect operated by SkyWest Airlines (Milwaukee)
* US Airways (See Concourse A West)
* USA3000 Airlines (Cancún, Fort Myers, Huatulco [begins 2009] , Liberia (CR) [begins 2009] , Punta Cana)

Terminals B and C

Terminals B and C are the two main US Airways terminals. They are connected to each other through a very large shopping mall and food court, the Philadelphia Marketplace. The gate waiting areas have recently within the past year started getting remodeled, though there is a lack of waiting space at many of the gates, but aesthetically, the terminal is in good condition. The facilities are fairly modern and dining options on the concourses are also available.

* US Airways (Albany, Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Hartford/Springfield, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Manchester (NH), Miami, New Orleans, Norfolk, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Syracuse, Tampa, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver [seasonal] , Washington-Reagan, West Palm Beach)
** US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines (Albany, Bangor, Birmingham (AL), Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Greensboro, Hartford/Springfield, Houston-Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Manchester (NH), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montreal, Myrtle Beach [seasonal] , Nashville, New York-LaGuardia, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Rochester (NY), Syracuse, Washington-Reagan)

Terminal D

Terminal D, along with Terminal E, is slated for renovation. Currently, its dining options are limited. Baggage claim areas and ticket counter areas are heavily in need of upgrades. Terminal D is home to Southwest Airlines' growing presence at Philadelphia, and because Southwest's ticketing takes place in Terminal E, Southwest passengers must cross from Terminal E to Terminal D. Currently under construction is a new combined ticketing area for the two terminals, located directly between the two, that will alleviate this problem. Also under construction are a connector building between Terminal D and Terminal E that will feature a variety of shops and restaurants, similar to the one between Terminals B and C, and a connector building between Baggage Claims D and E. This terminal is connected to the shopping area of Terminals B/C through a post-security walkway.

* Air Canada
** Air Canada Jazz (Toronto-Pearson)
* AirTran Airways (Atlanta, Orlando)
* Continental Airlines (Cleveland, Houston-Intercontinental)
** Continental Connection operated by CommutAir (Newark)
** Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines (Cleveland)
* Southwest Airlines (See Concourse E)
* United Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco)
** United Express operated by Mesa Airlines (Washington-Dulles)
** United Express operated by Trans States Airlines (Washington-Dulles)

Terminal E

This terminal is also slated for renovations. Like in Terminal D, food selections are generally limited. Ticketing areas are strained for space because of Southwest's rapid growth. Also strained by Southwest's growth is the baggage claim area. It serves Southwest passengers arriving in both Terminals D and E, in a very limited space. Overall, the baggage claim area is in dismal condition, requiring very heavy operations in a very cramped area. Also, the baggage area has troubles with heating in winter, due to the close proximity of the doors to the carousels. To help reduce the congestion problems in the baggage area, Southwest now shares AirTran's baggage carousel in the Terminal D baggage claim for passengers arriving there. It also has its own baggage services office located nearby in D. Delta Air Lines, which previously operated out of Terminal E, moved to Terminal A East on November 15, 2007.

* Northwest Airlines (Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul)
** Northwest Airlink operated by Pinnacle Airlines (Detroit, Memphis)
* Southwest Airlines (Austin, Chicago-Midway, Columbus (OH), Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston-Hobby, Jacksonville (FL), Las Vegas, Manchester (NH), Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, Tampa, West Palm Beach)

Terminal F (Concourses 1, 2, and 3)

Terminal F is a commuter terminal, for US Airways Express flights. It includes special jet bridges that allow passengers to board commuter planes without walking on the tarmac.

* US Airways
** US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin (Albany, Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Bangor, Binghamton, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Charleston (SC), Cleveland, Columbia (SC), Columbus (OH), Dayton, Detroit, Elmira/Corning, Erie, Greenville/Spartanburg, Greensboro, Hartford/Springfield, Indianapolis, Ithaca, Kansas City, Long Island/Islip, Louisville, Manchester (NH), Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, New Bern, Newburgh, Newport News, New York-LaGuardia, Norfolk, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Rochester (NY), Savannah [seasonal] , State College, St. Louis, Syracuse, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Reagan, White Plains, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Wilmington)
**US Airways Express operated by Chautauqua Airlines (Baltimore/Washington, Buffalo, Columbus (OH), Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Louisville, New York-LaGuardia, Rochester (NY), Syracuse, Washington-Reagan)
** US Airways Express operated by Piedmont Airlines (Albany, Allentown/Bethlehem, Baltimore/Washington, Binghamton, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Charlottesville, Elmira/Corning, Erie, Harrisburg, Hartford/Springfield, Ithaca, Long Island/Islip, Newburgh, Newport News, New Bern, New Haven, New York-LaGuardia, Richmond, Roanoke, Salisbury, State College, Syracuse, White Plains, Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, White Plains)
** US Airways Express operated by PSA Airlines (Akron/Canton, Allentown/Bethlehem, Atlanta, Columbia (SC), Dayton, Elmira/Corning, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Nashville, New York-LaGuardia, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, White Plains)

See also

*Hog Island
*Philadelphia Lazaretto
* Pennsylvania World War II Army Airfields

External links

* [ Philadelphia International Airport] (official web site)
* [ Wings Over Philadelphia - Abundant Information Regarding PHL]
* [ Pennsylvania Bureau of Aviation: Philadelphia International Airport]
* [ Philadelphia International Airport history, 1920s-2000s]
* [ Runway 17-35 Extension Project EIS]
* [ PHL Capacity Enhancement Program]
* [ Food and Shops at PHL]
* [ PHL WiFi Internet Service]
* [ PHL-Citizens Aviation Watch]


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