Plattsburgh International Airport
|Serves||Plattsburgh, New York|
|Location||Town of Plattsburgh, NY|
|Elevation AMSL||234 ft / 71 m|
Plattsburgh International Airport (IATA: PBG, ICAO: KPBG, FAA LID: PBG) is a county public use airport located three nautical miles (6 km) south of the central business district of Plattsburgh, a city in Clinton County, New York, United States.
The airport is located at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base and has been owned by Clinton County since 2002. The old base is still being redeveloped by Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation, established in 1995 after the airbase closed. The airport's massive facilities have been upgraded to civilian aviation standards and the county fully transitioned here from Clinton County Airport as of June 2007.
Passenger service began on June 18, 2007 and Clinton County Airport has been shut down since then. All airline service in Plattsburgh goes through the airport and is in the process of beginning to expand its terminal building to accommodate more passengers and provide more gates for aircraft. Scheduled passenger service to Boston at this airport is subsidized by the United States Department of Transportation via the Essential Air Service program.
It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011-2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year). As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 45,998 passenger boardings (enplanements) in 2008, 73,159 enplanements in 2009, 94,808 in 2010, and 139,698 in 2011.
After the base was decommissioned, Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation was created to manage the 5,000-acre (20 km2) property. The Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation split up the base into 165 parcels for redevelopment.
The idea of opening a new commercial airport at the site of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base dated back to at least 2000. At the time, the United States Air Force still owned the runway, which made converting it into a civilian airport more difficult. Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation and Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce both favored the opening of a new commercial airport and closing the old Clinton County Airport. The county voted in favor of the move on July 13, 2000. County legislators held a public hearing about the idea on December 12, 2001; most of the residents who spoke at the meeting were in favor of the idea.
In September 2003, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded Plattsburgh International Airport $624,200 of funding to build a passenger terminal. In November 2003, the federal transportation funding bill included $2 million for the passenger terminal. A grant from the Federal Aviation Administration funded security improvements in August 2004.
In 2004, Precision Jet nearly selected to operate the new airport, but the county decided not to approve the contract because of a lack of detail in the business plan, concerns about whether the Federal Aviation Administration would approve the proposed terminal, questions about whether it was legal to give the company exclusive development rights, and concerns that delegating all control over decisions could negatively impact the county's long-term economic future. On March 1, 2005, the county ended its contract with Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation to operate the airport.
Congress voted to approve a $721,000 grant for Essential Air Service for Plattsburgh International Airport in November 2004. The airport received another $1.6 million of federal funding for runway construction in March 2005 and $2.6 million of federal funding for construction of the terminal in April 2005. The county was approved for $500,000 of federal funding to construct an access road to the airport in August 2005.
Plattsburgh International Airport's facilities include a 11,759-foot (3,584 m) runway and a 12,000,000-square-foot (1,100,000 m2) concrete ramp for cargo and aircraft. Plattsburgh also has no night curfews or flight restrictions and enjoys calm weather year-round (97% VFR). It is also a Foreign Trade Zone and Empire Zone, making it a virtually tax free zone for many enterprises.
The airport promotes itself as l'aéroport américain de Montréal ("Montreal's American Airport"). It serves as Montreal's secondary passenger airport; at 60 miles (97 km) from that city, Plattsburgh is closer to Montreal's South Shore than Trudeau Airport. As of 2015 more than 80% of passengers are Canadians who find it cheaper or easier to drive across the border into the U.S. so they can take a cheaper domestic flight to American destinations. All signs are bilingual in English and French, and workers are offered French classes. The airport has significant multi-modal capabilities, including its own interchange on the Interstate Highway System (Exit 36 of I-87), a direct rail spur from the main Canadian Pacific Railway line between Montreal and New York City, and direct rail and highway access to the Port of Montreal.
Plattsburgh International Airport covers an area of 1,912 acres (774 ha) at an elevation of 234 feet (71 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 17/35 with an asphalt/concrete surface measuring 11,759 by 200 feet (3,584 x 61 m).
The airport has a 35,300 square foot passenger terminal building that opened in 2007. Before 2007 the airport's main structures were the old Strategic Air Command alert facility (aka "Mole Hole") on the north end and the control tower and base operations building in the southeast end. The passenger facility has limited services beyond the airlines, along with a snack booth and food stand. Various former Air Force hangars are located along the tarmac, with largest being 28,000 square feet. The air traffic control tower is located separately, but is currently not functional (i.e., the airport is currently an uncontrolled airport, limited to UNICOM only).
Aircraft rescue and fire fighting is provided by the airport with a fire station utilizing the former USAF fire station adjacent to the old control tower. The department uses former military airport tenders and has a newer Rosenbauer Panther 6x6 (delivered in 2009).
For the 12-month period ending June 30, 2018, the airport had 12,781 aircraft operations, an average of 35 per day: 55% general aviation, 23% air taxi, 21% scheduled commercial, and 2% military. At that time there were 30 aircraft based at this airport: 20 single-engine, 7 multi-engine, 2 jet, and 1 helicopter.
|Allegiant Air|| Fort Lauderdale, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater|
Seasonal: Punta Gorda
|Spirit Airlines|| Fort Lauderdale|
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach
|Domestic Destinations Map|
|1||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||63,300||Allegiant, Spirit|
|4||St. Petersburg, Florida||17,030||Allegiant|
|5||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina||9,070||Spirit|
|7||Punta Gorda, Florida||3,080||Allegiant|
On September 5, 2007, Las Vegas-based airline Allegiant Air announced that it would offer non-stop flights from Plattsburgh International Airport to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida aboard McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 variants. The service began on November 16, 2007. The airline cited Plattsburgh as an ideal location due to its proximity to Montreal and Burlington, Vermont. Allegiant operates a similar situation with Bellingham International Airport in Bellingham, Washington, which is close to Vancouver. In response to their tremendous success within the region, Allegiant began non-stop service to Las Vegas and Punta Gorda. Las Vegas service ended in March 2014. McDonnell Douglas MD-82s, MD-83s, MD-87s and MD-88s fly the bulk of Allegiant Air routes out of Plattsburgh.
On March 15, 2008, the airport began hosting regular service by Direct Air, offering three direct flights weekly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The charter airline already had a successful service to Myrtle Beach from Niagara Falls, which has drawn many passengers from Ontario just as Plattsburgh is now doing from Quebec. On April 29, 2011, the airline announced it would offer two non-stop flights per week, departing and returning on Wednesdays and Saturdays, to Lakeland Linder International Airport beginning November 10, 2011 using Boeing 737-400 aircraft. The reason Direct had chosen Lakeland as its latest destination was its proximity to both Orlando and Tampa. Direct Air planned to make flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico, starting on May 2, 2012. On March 13, 2012, Direct Air ceased operations. The charter carrier was subject to Chapter 7 liquidation on April 12, 2012.
The airport was served by Colgan Air until June 14, 2012, offering up to three flights daily to Boston on a variety of turboprop regional airliners. After Colgan Air went defunct, the relatively unknown Alaska-based airline PenAir was chosen as its replacement when the airline decided to serve destinations in the northeast U.S. PenAir serves Plattsburgh similarly with two to three daily flights to Boston Logan International Airport, exclusively using Saab 340 aircraft. PenAir was selected as Colgan's replacement and offers to two daily flights to Boston, subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.
The airport is also served by Spirit Airlines with non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale and seasonal non-stop flights to Myrtle Beach. Also, it was reported on January 13, 2012, via WPTZ that the airport was planning on expanding by building a new two-story terminal with six additional jetways, along with expanded parking, ticket counters, baggage claims and security checkpoints which is estimated to cost more than $40 million. On September 18, 2012, the airport received more than $6.5 million in federal grants to use toward infrastructure improvements that should start early 2013.
Champlain Enterprises successfully restored a vintage 1943 Douglas DC-3 aircraft, which made its first post-restoration flight on June 2, 2006. The aircraft was housed in the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base Auxiliary hangar on the south side of the airports tarmac. It made regular air show appearances throughout the northeast U.S. for the following years, flying out of both Plattsburgh and Morrisonville, before the aircraft was purchased by Basler Turbo Conversions on March 8, 2013; it is currently based at BTC headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at Wittman Regional Airport.
Currently, the airport is in the process of a $55 million expansion with a new two story departure terminal with new 3 new gates, bringing the total number of gates to four, an expanded ticket counter, larger baggage claim, among others which will help the airport keep up with its growth.
As of 2017, the new concourse has been opened with three gates with jetways and a fourth gate that can have one added with increased service.
Beside the airlines there are other tenants at the airport:
Other airports that target Canadian travelers as alternatives to their local airport(s):