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".
- 1 History
- 2 Air Show
- 3 Facilities
- 4 U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- 5 Terminal
- 6 Airlines and destinations
- 7 Statistics
- 8 Ground transportation
- 9 Accidents and incidents
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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In the 1930s cities in Northeast Pennsylvania began to see the need for an airport. Despite the depression and hard times affecting the coal mining industry, a windfall multimillion-dollar opportunity to build an 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 civil aviation. The government funded construction of many airfields to develop a network that could be used by the military.
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.
Colonial Airlines and American Airlines were the first airlines at AVP (this three-letter code derives from its location near Avoca, Pennsylvania). 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 April 1957 OAG shows 32 departures a day: 14 Allegheny, 12 Eastern, four TWA and two American. The first jets were Eastern 727s, in the May 1969 OAG; in March 1969 the longest runway was 5200-ft runway 4, which grew to 6450 feet by 1972.
The airport became "international" in 1975 when cargo flights to Canada began.
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. 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 visited the airport in 2017.
A new control tower and TRACON facility opened on August 29, 2012 and was paid for with $13.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The old tower's view of the second runway had been blocked by the new terminal. All 25 controllers stayed to work in the new facility.
On May 18, 2017 demolition began on the former airport terminal.
The old terminal was demolished in early 2018. The site will be a cell phone parking lot and parking for airport staff.
- All American Airways (renamed to Allegheny Airlines, then to USAir, then to US Airways before merging with American Airlines)
- Colonial Airlines (1947–1956, merged with Eastern Air Lines)
- Eastern Airlines (1956–1989)
- TWA (1948–1966)
- Vacation Express (March 11, 2003 – September 7, 2004)
- Hooters Airlines (October 26, 2005 – March 26, 2006)
- Allegiant Air (June 21, 2012-January 4, 2018)
United Airlines Newark Flights
United Airlines announced several schedule changes; on October 3, 2018 the airport stopped connecting passengers through the Newark airport as they shifted 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 was the last regional airport in Pennsylvania to have flights to EWR; Pittsburgh International Airport is currently the only airport in Pennsylvania that offers flights to Newark.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport was the host of an 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, featured several acts:
• U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team
• U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Team
• F-22 Raptor Demo team
• U.S. Navy F/A-18 TacDemo Team
It was announced that the airshow would return in 2020, where the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform at the airshow August 22 and 23, 2020.
The airport covers 910 acres (368 ha) and has two asphalt runways:
- 4/22 7,501 × 150 ft (2,286 × 46 m)
- 10/28 4,300 × 150 ft (1,311 × 46 m).
General aviation uses the fixed-base operator (FBO) Aviation Technologies.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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.
The airport has no scheduled international service, but it has a location to process international flights, on the lower level near Gates 1 & 2, where the airport can isolate international passengers from domestic. With advance notice, the airport can process scheduled international flights or flights that have diverted to AVP.
The airport has one passenger terminal with 8 gates. Gates 1 and 2 are on the lower level; Gates 3 through 8 are on the second floor.
Gate 7 is used for charter flights and diversions. Gates 1 & 2 were used by American Eagle & United Express for their turboprops. Since they switched to jets, these two gates are not used daily. Jets are parked here if all the other gates are being used or for diversions.
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Philadelphia|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|Southern Airways Express||Seasonal: Pittsburgh|
|United Express||Chicago–O'Hare, Washington–Dulles|
|DHL Aviation||Albany, Cincinnati|
|FedEx Express|| Harrisburg |
|2||Chicago–O'Hare, IL||65,490||American, United|
|6||Dulles, VA (Washington, DC)||28,570||United|
|7||Newark, NJ (discontinued October 2018)||780||United|
|8||Pittsburgh, PA||340||Southern Airways Express|
Car Rentals, TNCs and Taxi Service
The following rental car companies provided their services at Wilkes-Barre: Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National. With regards to Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs, Uber and Lyft have specific pick-up locations in front of the Terminal Building, on the arrivals side. Taxi service is provided by Burgit's City Taxi, Call-a-Car Taxi and McCarthy Flowered Cabs.
Accidents and incidents
AVP is a popular location for diversions.
- On April 20, 1985 AF ser. No. 62-4496, a USAF CT-39A experienced brake failure on landing at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport, killing all five passengers and crew aboard, including General Jerome F. O'Malley, Commander, Tactical Air Command, and his wife.
- Bear Creek Township was the site of a crash of an Executive Airlines Jetstream 31 which had been chartered, on May 21, 2000; it crashed while attempting to land at Wilkes-Barre. As described by the BBC, the crash occurred in a "wooded area" of the township, near the intersection of Bear Creek Boulevard (PA-Route 115) and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The accident killed the pilot and all 19 passengers. NTSB investigation ruled that the crash was probably due to low fuel. The incident spurred an FBI investigation and made news across the globe. Passenger safety in the aviation field became a major issue of the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
- On January 7, 2011 Delta Air Lines flight #4061 returned to the airport when the pilot realized, after takeoff, that the nose gear would not retract.
- On November 1, 2013 U.S. Airways Express flight #4394 from Philadelphia International Airport to Albany International Airport made an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit. 12 passengers and 3 crew members were on board and no injuries were reported.
- On February 25, 2014 a US Airways flight from New England to Philadelphia was diverted Tuesday morning, when cockpit lights indicated a mechanical issue. 42 passengers and three crew members were on board, and no injury were reported during the emergency landing.
- On April 1, 2016 a Virgin America Airbus A320 landed at AVP due to high winds and bad weather in the New York area. The plane took off from LAX and was scheduled to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
- On September 6, 2016 a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing after the pilot reported a fuel imbalance.
- On February 26, 2017 an American Eagle flight #4858 from AVP to Philadelphia International Airport returned to AVP after a landing gear failure. There were no injuries reported.
- On July 11, 2017, a private plane traveling from Morristown, NJ to Philadelphia, PA made an emergency landing at AVP due to a landing gear failure. According to news outlets, "They tested the landing gear, flew in front of the tower, and the tower advised them it was not locking in place so the pilot made the decision to land on our runway, which he did successfully," Airport President Carl Beardsley said. The airport was closed for about an hour and a half while crews cleared the scene. No injuries were reported. A Delta flight had to be rerouted due to the airport closure.
- On February 7, 2019 a Porter Airlines flight made an emergency landing in AVP due to engine failure. All 34 passengers aboard and four crew members were safe. The aircraft stayed in AVP for repairs, while the company sent another aircraft to recuse the flight. The Q400 took off from Newark and was heading to Toronto. 
- FAA Airport Master Record for AVP ( PDF), effective July 5, 2007
- "Statistics". transtats.bts.gov.
- "AVP - Wilkes Barre Scranton International Airport". AVP.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 3, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- writer), by kyle wind (staff. "President and vice president both visiting Scranton creates extra security challenge".
- "HNTB – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport". Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- "Supplemental Success Stories" (PDF). casey.senate.gov.
- Merger May Help Airport Boost Service Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine timesleader. com
- "Old Airport Terminal To Come Down". WNEP.com. May 18, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- "Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport to Add New Parking Lot". September 21, 2017.
- Michael McNarney
- "Hooters Air Announces Cancellation of Service in Selected Cities." Hooters Air.
- Company, Allegiant Travel (April 17, 2012). "Allegiant Announces Nonstop, Low-Cost Flights Between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Orlando".
- "Airport director: Allegiant exit offers new opportunities - Times Leader". timesleader.com. August 29, 2017.
- "United adjusts Newark domestic network from Oct 2018". Retrieved May 13, 2018.
- "Air show set for Aug. 12–13 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport - Times Leader". timesleader.com.
- Deabill, Eric (March 23, 2017). "Air show returning to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport".
- "Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - 1109 - U.S. Customs and Border Protection". www.cbp.gov.
- "Wiggins #7450 ✈ 15-Feb-2018 ✈ KAVP - KMDT ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware.
- "(no title)". www.wiggins-air.com.
- "OST_R - BTS - Transtats". www.transtats.bts.gov.
- "Passengers All Carriers - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes Barre Scranton International". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- Casey, Aloysius G.; Casey, Patrick A. (2007). Velocity : speed with direction : the professional career of Gen Jerome F. O'Malley. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press. pp. 247–253. ISBN 978-1585661695.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident North American CT-39A-1-NO Sabreliner 62-4496 Wilkes-Barre International Airport, PA (AVP)". aviation-safety.net.
- "CNN Transcript - WorldView: NTSB Begins Investigation Into Charter Plane Crash in Pennsylvania Which Killed All 19 Onboard - May 21, 2000". www.cnn.com.
- Writer), BY JOSH MROZINSKI (Staff. "Bad nose gear forces plane's return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport".
- "Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport". November 1, 2013.
- "Diverted Jet Makes Emergency Landing at Airport". February 25, 2014.
- Brittany Lovette (April 1, 2016). "Bad Weather Diverts Virgin America Flight". WNEP.com. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
- "Emergency Landing at AVP". September 6, 2016.
- WRITER, BY JON O'CONNELL, STAFF. "Flight from AVP returned due to landing gear malfunction".
- "Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport". July 11, 2017.
- Rachel Hoops (February 7, 2019). "Plane heading to Toronto makes emergency landing at AVP". Pahomepage.com. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (official site)
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport at Pennsylvania DOT Bureau of Aviation
- (PDF), effective January 2, 2020
- FAA Terminal Procedures for AVP, effective January 2, 2020
- Resources for this airport: