Erie International Airport
Tom Ridge Field
|Owner||Erie Regional Airport Authority|
|Location||Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Elevation AMSL||732 ft / 223 m|
Erie International Airport Tom Ridge Field (IATA: ERI, ICAO: KERI, FAA LID: ERI) is a public airport five miles (8 km) southwest of Erie, in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Airline service at Erie faces stiff competition from the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Toronto airports, all within three hours of Erie by car. In 2004, Erie was the third-fastest-growing airport in the United States, and the fastest-growing airport in Pennsylvania. It is 128 miles (206 km) from Pittsburgh, 111 miles (179 km) from the Canada-US border, 95 miles (153 km) from Cleveland, Ohio and 105 miles (169 km) from Buffalo, New York.
In 1924, Roger Griswold purchased 22.12 acres (9.0 ha) of land 6 miles (10 km) west of Erie at the intersection of West Lake and Asbury Roads for use as an airfield. Soon after, a flight training school was based at the field. In 1927, as part of a nationwide tour by Charles Lindbergh after his transatlantic flight, Erie was selected as one of the cities where Lindbergh would make a brief stopover. Griswold Field proved inadequate for the larger Spirit of St. Louis and an alternative site could not be located, so a flyover by Lindbergh had to suffice.
This showed the need for a proper airport and prompted the Erie City Council to consider establishing a municipal airport. City Council was, initially, favoring a site -mile (0.8 km) east of Wesleyville for a municipal airport, but Lieutenant Jimmy Doolittle commented on the distance between it and the city; Doolittle noted that "you might as well take 40 minutes more and go on to Cleveland." After recommendations made by Lindbergh to a Congressional committee that no airport less than 1 square mile (2.6 km2) be approved, the planning commission for Erie's airport began to reevaluate the site.
Griswold Field officially closed in 1929 when Griswold moved to Long Island, but aircraft and the flight school continued to use it. That year two airfields were established: one on land next to the former Griswold Field, and another in Kearsarge that is now the site of the Millcreek Mall.
American Airlines began the airport's airline service in June 1938; American remained until 1953 when Allegheny replaced it. Mohawk arrived in 1956 and Lake Central in 1956-57; Capital Airlines flights ended in 1960-61.
Prior to September 11, 2001 the airport was at its height with US Airways mainline jets to Pittsburgh and international service to Toronto. After 9/11 US Airways replaced 737s and DC-9s with regional jets. As air service rebounded in the mid-2000s, US Airways Express flew to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Charlotte; Northwest Airlink to Detroit; Continental Connection to Cleveland; and Delta Connection to Cincinnati and Atlanta. US Airways discontinued Charlotte flights in 2006. Delta Air Lines discontinued Atlanta flights on September 6, 2007. In early 2008 US Airways discontinued Pittsburgh flights.
On August 22, 2018, Derek Martin was named Executive Director of the airport.
On February 24, 2020, non-stop service to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on United Express was announced. The service was made possible by a $292,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Small Community Air Service Development Program.
As of August 2019, American Eagle service is two flights daily to Charlotte and one flight daily to Chicago-O'Hare on the ERJ-145; Delta Connection had three flights daily to Detroit with CRJ-200 regional jets (currently suspended); and United Express has two flights daily to Chicago-O'Hare also with ERJ-145 or E-170 aircraft.
The 1,920-foot (590 m) extension of runway 6/24 was opened on November 8, 2012. The total cost of the project was $80.5 million, or approximately $5 million under budget. Owing to a mild winter in 2011–2012 that did not hinder construction work, the extension was also completed two years ahead of schedule.
Erie International/Tom Ridge Field covers 450 acres (182 ha) and has two runways:
The airport has a passenger terminal building that opened in 1958 and has had several expansions and upgrades since its construction. The 1970s saw expansions to baggage claim facilities and later an office expansion for FAA office facilities on the second floor. A ticketing area on the western end of the terminal building was added in 1990. Upgrades to the lobby area and boarding gates and passenger boarding bridges followed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The first floor of the passenger terminal building, which houses the baggage claim, check in desks, rental car counters, cafe, TSA checkpoint, and boarding gate areas occupies approximately 43,200 square feet.
In August 2019, the public waiting area and in-terminal restaurant were renovated. The entrance to the restaurant was reconfigured to provide airside access from the secure side of the terminal.
The terminal has 7 gates, 3 with jetbridges for regional aircraft. Current regularly occupied gates are: Gate 1- United Express, Gate 7- American Eagle. Gate 5 was used by Delta Connection but service has been suspended.
|United Express||Chicago-O'Hare, Washington-Dulles (begins December 17, 2020)|||
|3||Trans States Airlines** (Ceased operations in April 2020)||22,430||15.36%|
^ - Operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express. | * - Operates as American Eagle. | ** - Operates as United Express.
|1||Detroit, Michigan||27,260||Delta Connection (Flight Cut July 8, 2020)|
|3||Charlotte, North Carolina||23,520||American Eagle|
|3||Chicago, Illinois||22,410||United Express|