Southwest Florida International Airport
|Operator||Lee County Port Authority|
|Location||Unincorporated Lee County, adjacent to Fort Myers|
|Hub for||Western Global Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||30 ft / 9 m|
FAA airport diagram
Southwest Florida International Airport (IATA: RSW, ICAO: KRSW, FAA LID: RSW) is a major county-owned airport in the South Fort Myers area of unincorporated Lee County, Florida, United States. The airport serves the Southwest Florida region, including the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples-Marco Island, and Punta Gorda metropolitan areas, and is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry. It currently is the second-busiest single-runway airport in the United States, after San Diego International Airport. In 2019, the airport served 10,225,180 passengers, the most in its history.
The airport sits on 13,555 acres (5,486 ha, 21.2 sq.mi.) of land just southeast of Fort Myers, making it the third-largest airport in the United States in terms of land size (after Denver and Dallas/Fort Worth). 6,000 acres of the land has been conserved as swamp lands and set aside for environmental mitigation.
Prior to the opening of the airport, the region was served by Page Field in Fort Myers. By the 1970s, however, it had become clear that Page Field would be too small to handle increasing future demand for commercial flights into the region. Expanding Page Field was determined to be impractical because its airfield was constrained by U.S. 41 to the west and expanding the airfield to the east would require bridging the Ten Mile Canal and relocating a railroad track.
A number of sites were considered for a new regional airport, including southern Charlotte County, Estero, and northeast Cape Coral near Burnt Store Marina. The government of Lee County ultimately selected a site near the end of Daniels Road which was a dirt road at the time. An advantage to this location was its proximity to Interstate 75, which was under construction and would have an interchange with Daniels Road, providing easy access (Interstate 75 was opened to traffic through Fort Myers in 1979).
Construction of the airport began in 1980; it opened on schedule on May 14, 1983, with a single 8400-ft runway. At the time of its opening, the airport was named Southwest Florida Regional Airport (the airport code RSW is short for "Regional South-West"). Delta Air Lines operated the first flight. The original terminal was located on the north side of the runway at the end of Chamberlin Parkway.
The airport was renamed Southwest Florida International Airport in 1993, though it had hosted international flights since 1984 and U.S. Customs since 1987. The name change coincided with the completion of a 55,000 square foot Federal Inspection facility annexed to the original terminal's Concourse A. The runway was also lengthened to 12,000 ft (3,658 m) at the same time to better accommodate international service (making it the fourth-longest runway in Florida).
In 1988 the airport exceeded its annual capacity of 3 million passengers; by 2004, the airport was serving nearly 7 million passengers annually. The original terminal had 17 gates on two concourses. While three of the gates were added in a minor expansion of the B concourse in the late 1990s, the original terminal's design was not conducive to a major expansion.
LTU International delivered Fort Myers its first nonstop flights to Europe in April 1994, introducing service to Germany. The inaugural flight arrived from Munich via Düsseldorf, while the return to Munich stopped in both Miami and Düsseldorf. The new route came in response to rising tourism from Germany, which Lee County had spent the past several years cultivating. The county considered Germany a natural market to target, given the sizable German-American community that lived in Southwest Florida and maintained ties with its country of origin. Condor joined LTU in 2000 with a flight to Frankfurt.
With the terminal operating at more than double its intended capacity, construction of a new Midfield Terminal Complex began in February 2002. The $438 million terminal opened on September 9, 2005. The terminal, designed by Spillis Candela/DMJM Aviation, has three concourses and 28 gates and can eventually expand to five concourses with 65 gates.
Demolition of the former terminal north of the airfield was completed in spring 2006. However, the original terminal's parking lot and other related infrastructure still stand at the end of Chamberlin Parkway. The former terminal's ramp, now known as North Ramp, is now primarily used as a base for Western Global Airlines, an Estero-based cargo airline.
In early 2015, Terminal Access Road, the airport's main entrance road, was extended past Treeline Avenue to connect directly to Interstate 75, allowing airport-related traffic to avoid local streets. The airport can now be accessed directly from the freeway at Exit 128. Terminal Access Road was then expanded to six lanes in late 2016.
Air Berlin continued to serve Fort Myers until it ceased operations in 2017. Transatlantic flights resumed within a year when Eurowings opened routes to Düsseldorf, Munich, and Cologne; however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the company to suspend flights. In mid-2021, the Lufthansa Group revealed that a new airline brand, Eurowings Discover, would link Fort Myers to Frankfurt beginning in March 2022.
A new $16 million Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting facility (Lee County Station 92) opened in July 2013. A 9,100 ft (2,800 m) parallel runway is in planning. The project includes a relocated air traffic control tower, apron expansion, crossfield taxiway system, mitigation activities and FPL electrical line relocation. The new air traffic control tower and parallel runway were expected to be completed by 2019, but this was pushed back to late 2020. The apron expansion and crossfield taxiway system were completed in late 2013. The entire project is estimated to cost $454 million.
In early 2018, the Lee County Port Authority (LCPA) announced plans to ease seasonal security wait times by expanding and relocating the current security checkpoints for each concourse. By relocating each checkpoint, there will be more restaurants, shops, and post-security spaces. According to the announcement by the LCPA, this expansion could cost between $150 million - $180 million.
Plans are in place for Skyplex - a commercial and industrial park in the location of the old terminal. Other airport-related businesses, such as a hotel, are in the planning stages. A retail gasoline outlet near the airport's entrance opened in June 2014.
In 2020 the airport had 74,901 aircraft operations, averaging 205 per day.
The airport has one terminal with three concourses: Concourse B serves Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Eurowings, Frontier, Southwest, and Sun Country; Concourse C serves Delta, United, and WestJet; and Concourse D serves American, JetBlue, and Spirit. Customs and Immigration services for international flights are located on the lower level of Concourse B. The concourses are each completely separate and are not connected Airside. Concourses A and E designations have been reserved for the planned future expansion of the terminal.
|Air Canada Rouge|| Toronto-Pearson|
|Alaska Airlines|| Los Angeles |
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington-National|||
|American Eagle||Philadelphia, Washington-National |
Seasonal: Austin (begins December 16, 2021)
|Avelo Airlines||New Haven (CT) (begins November 11, 2021)|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia|||
|Delta Connection||New York-LaGuardia|||
|Eurowings Discover||Frankfurt (begins March 28, 2022)|||
|Frontier Airlines|| Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Long Island/Islip, Orlando (begins November 1, 2021), Philadelphia, Trenton |
Seasonal: Albany, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago-O'Hare, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, Omaha, Portland (ME), Providence, Syracuse
|JetBlue|| Boston, Newark, New York-JFK, Washington-National, White Plains|
Seasonal: Hartford, New York-LaGuardia
|Southwest Airlines|| Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Columbus-Glenn, Dallas-Love, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington-National (resumes November 7, 2021)|
Seasonal: Albany, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Houston-Hobby, Kansas City, Louisville, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Providence, Rochester (NY)
|Spirit Airlines|| Atlantic City, Chicago-O'Hare, Detroit, Louisville (begins November 17, 2021), Indianapolis, Manchester (NH) (begins November 17, 2021), Milwaukee (begins November 17, 2021), Newark, St. Louis (begins November 17, 2021) |
Seasonal: Akron/Canton, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus-Glenn, Hartford, Kansas City, Latrobe/Pittsburgh, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
| Minneapolis/St. Paul |
Seasonal: Duluth (MN) (begins December 17, 2021), Green Bay (begins December 16, 2021), Madison, Milwaukee (begins December 15, 2021), Rochester (MN) (begins February 3, 2022), St. Louis
|United Airlines|| Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles|
Seasonal: Los Angeles (begins December 16, 2021), San Francisco (begins December 16, 2021)
|United Express|| Washington-Dulles|
|Domestic destinations map|
|UPS Airlines||Fort Lauderdale, Huntsville, Jacksonville, Louisville, San Antonio, Tampa|
Since beginning commercial airline service on May 14, 1983 through the end of 2020, over 211.5 million passengers (enplaned and deplaned) have transited through RSW. There has been over 2.74 million aircraft operations at the airport since its opening.
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||328,000||Delta, Southwest|
|2||Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois||321,000||American, Frontier, Spirit, United|
|3||Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota||298,000||Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country|
|4||Detroit, Michigan||274,000||Delta, Frontier, Spirit|
|5||Charlotte, North Carolina||253,000||American|
|6||Boston, Massachusetts||182,000||Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, United|
|7||Newark, New Jersey||182,000||Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, United|
|9||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||146,000||American|
|10||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||141,000||American, Frontier, Spirit|
|2||Delta Air Lines||1,206,000||17.20%|
|Year||Passengers||Percent change||Year||Passengers||Percent change||Year||Passengers||Percent change||Year||Passengers||Percent change|
LeeTran bus No. 50 serves the airport.
Recent infrastructure and road projects linked the airport's main terminal road to the southbound and northbound lanes of Interstate 75.
Media related to Southwest Florida International Airport at Wikimedia Commons