Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
|Owner/Operator||Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties|
|Location||Pittston Township, Pennsylvania|
|Elevation AMSL||962 ft / 293 m|
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (IATA: AVP, ICAO: KAVP, FAA LID: AVP) is mostly in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania, and spans the border between Luzerne County and Lackawanna County. It is owned and operated by the two counties; it is about 7 miles from Scranton and 8 miles from Wilkes-Barre. It is the fifth largest airport in Pennsylvania by passenger count and calls itself "your gateway to Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Pocono Mountains".
In the 1930s cities in Northeast Pennsylvania began to see the need for a large airport. Despite the depression and hard times affecting the coal mining industry, a windfall multimillion-dollar opportunity to 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.
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. The debut commercial passenger service for the region was witnessed by hundred in attendance.
Colonial Airlines and American Airlines were the first airlines at AVP. In April 1948 Transcontinental & Western Air (later TWA) arrived, and All American Airways (later Allegheny Airlines) in June 1949. Colonial flew Montreal/Syracuse- Philadelphia/Washington with stops; American flew to Chicago/Buffalo-New York; TWA flew Kansas City/Pittsburgh-Albany/Boston; and All American had general interstate service and later a looping network to Newark, Atlantic City, Washington, and around again through Pennsylvania. Each airline started with DC-3s.
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. A charter plane carrying Hillary Clinton used the airport during her presidential campaign in 2008. In August 2013, President Obama and Scranton native Vice President Joe Biden visited the region for a campaign event. President Donald Trump also visited the airport in 2017.
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.
On June 24, 2016 CommutAir announced the purchase of about 40 Embraer ERJ-145 from ExpressJet that would eventually replace the Bombardier Q200/Bombardier Q300; which are currently used for flights to Newark Liberty International Airport for United Airlines.
On May 18, 2017 demolition began on the former airport terminal next to the new one that was built in 2006.
The old terminal was demolished in early 2018. The site will be a cell phone parking lot and parking for airport staff.
United Airlines announced several schedule changes; on October 3, 2018 the airport will stop connecting passengers through the Newark airport as they shift the flights to Washington-Dulles beginning on October 4, 2018. For years, the flights from AVP to EWR was scheduled to depart around 1PM and towards the end of 2016 it was changed to a 6PM departure. Numbers dropped dramatically as connections were very limited and the flight was delayed constantly due to air traffic control. AVP is the last regional airport in Pennsylvania to have flights to EWR; Pittsburgh International Airport is the only other airport in Pennsylvania that offers flights to Newark.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport was the host of a major air show between 1983 and 2000. The show was temporarily suspended due to construction of a new terminal; however, it was expected to return after construction was completed. Later that year, reports said the planned renovations to the airport would leave no room for the air show. In early 2017, The Bi-County Airport Board unanimously approved hosting the Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport from August 12-13, 2017. The show, back after a 17-year absence, will feature several acts:
o U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team
o U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Team
o F-22 Raptor Demo team
o U.S. Navy F/A-18 TacDemo Team
It was announced that the airshow would return in 2020, where "The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, known as the Blue Angels, tentatively are scheduled to perform at the air show May 25 and 26 in 2020." 
General aviation is serviced by the fixed-base operator (FBO) Aviation Technologies.
The Bureau of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a property located on airport grounds. The property is located on the FBO side of the airport near the hangars. This U.S. Customs Service office serves as a facilities and crossings for Harrisburg's port of entry.
Even though the airport currently does not have any scheduled international service, the airport has a location to process international flights. The facility is located on the lower level near Gates 1 & 2, where the airport can isolate the international passengers from the domestic passengers. With advanced notice, the airport can process international flights that are either scheduled or flights that have diverted to AVP.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport has one passenger terminal with 8 gates. Gates 1 and 2 are located on the lower level, while Gates 3 through 8 are located on the second floor.
Gate 7 is the gate used for charter flights and diversions. Gates 1 & 2 were used by American Eagle & United Express for their turboprops. Since they transitioned to jets, these two gates are not used daily. Jets are parked here if all the other gates are being used or for diversions.
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Philadelphia|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|Southern Airways Express||Seasonal: Pittsburgh|
|Southwest Airlines (operated for Boscov's Travel)||Charter: Orlando|
|United Express||Chicago-O'Hare, Washington-Dulles|
|2||Chicago-O'Hare, IL||53,920||American, United|
|6||Dulles, VA (Washington, DC)||14,190||United|
|8||Pittsburgh, PA||500||Southern Airways Express|
The airport's main taxi service is: Call-a-Car Taxi. The airport is also served by Burgit's City Taxi & McCarthy Flowered Cabs. Uber and Lyft have specific pick-up locations in front of the airport on the arrivals side of the airport. The following rental car companies provided their services at Wilkes-Barre: Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is within miles of all three large New York Airports and because of this the airport is a popular location for diversions.