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Lehigh Valley International Airport
ABE logo.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority
Serves Lehigh Valley
Location Allentown, Pennsylvania
Elevation AMSL 393 ft / 120 m
Coordinates 40°39′07″N 075°26′26″W / 40.65194°N 75.44056°W / 40.65194; -75.44056
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 7,600 2,316 Asphalt
13/31 5,797 1,767 Asphalt
Statistics (2006)
Aircraft operations 122,012
Based aircraft 117
Sources: airport website[1] and FAA[2]

Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABEICAO: KABEFAA LID: ABE), formerly Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton International Airport, is a public airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

The airport is located three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown, in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, the third most populated metropolitan region in the state (after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).

It is owned and operated by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority. The airport is served primarily by regional airlines, operating feederliner aircraft. 847,256 people used the airport in 2007.[3]

In recent years, Lehigh Valley International Airport has encountered stiff competition from nearby airports such as Philadelphia International Airport (75 miles away) and Newark Liberty International Airport (80 miles away). These airports often offer a greater selection of flights and sometimes lower fares. This was exacerbated by the completion of the Pennsylvania extension of Interstate 78 in 1990, which allowed for a faster drive to Newark; and the opening of Interstate 476 in 1991 that made it easier to connect to Interstate 95 near Philadelphia.



Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), 2005.

Allentown Airport opened in 1929 and is one of the very few in the nation that still serves its community from its original location. Scheduled airline service began on September 16, 1935 by United Airlines with Boeing 247 service. At the time, the airport hangar served as the passenger terminal. The first terminal building at the airport was built in 1938 as a Works Projects Administration (WPA) project.

During World War II the U. S. Navy V-5 flight training program was conducted at the airport in conjunction with ground training held at Muhlenberg College. In addition, Headquarters of Group 312 of the Civil Air Patrol was at Allentown-Bethlehem Airport. One of its activities was to provide a courier service for cargo defense plants. Allentown CAP pilots also patrolled the Atlantic coastline, and was active in recruiting young men for the air cadet program of the Army Air Force.

By January 1944, work on a new runway was completed and a Class A United States Weather Bureau station had been installed. About 1,000 Naval Aviation Cadets had been trained during 1943, and a large increase in the amount of civilian and military air traffic had occurred. In late July, the War Production Board approved the construction of a second story addition to the administration building. The building housed the Lehigh Aircraft Company, the weather bureau station, the Civil Aeronautic communications station, and the office and waiting room of United Air Lines. In August, the V-5 flight training program ended when the Navy decided to move all flight training to naval air bases under Navy pilots.

In the immediate postwar years, in April 1946, the Lehigh Airport Authority was created to own and manage the airport. This made the airport a public enterprise. 1948 saw the beginning of construction for a new passenger terminal, being finished in 1950. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (ABE) airport, as it was now called, also expanded passenger service by offering flights with United, Trans World Airlines (TWA), and Colonial airlines. DC-4 and DC-6 service was offered with the addition of 5,000 ft of runway.

Throughout the 1950s, both passenger service as well as air cargo service expanded at ABE. Eastern and Allegheny Airlines began service. In 1960, both Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy made campaign stops at ABE. Construction began in late 1972 for the new terminal, which was opened on December 14, 1975.

Today Lehigh Valley International Airport continues to serve the Lehigh Valley.

Facilities and aircraft

Lehigh Valley International Airport covers an area of 2,629 acres (1,064 ha) at an elevation of 393 feet (120 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 6/24 measuring 7,600 by 150 feet (2,316 x 46 m) and 13/31 measuring 5,797 by 150 feet (1,767 x 46 m).[2]

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2006, the airport had 122,012 aircraft operations, an average of 334 per day: 69% general aviation, 15% air taxi (18,365), 14% scheduled commercial and 2% military. At that time there were 117 aircraft based at this airport: 59% single-engine, 11% multi-engine, 24% jet and 6% helicopter.[2]

The airport also is one of several dozen designated landing facilities for the Space Shuttle.

Dining and Shopping

Lehigh Valley International Airport contains two restaurants: a Subway and a restaurant called the L.A. Cafe. It has one Hudson News gift shop.

Airlines and Destinations

Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Jazz operated by Air Georgian Toronto-Pearson
Airtran Airways Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
Allegiant Air Myrtle Beach, Orlando-Sanford1, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare [begins June 10]
Continental Airlines Newark [bus service]
Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Cleveland
Continental Connection operated by CommutAir Cleveland
Delta Connection operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Atlanta
Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle Airlines Detroit
Direct Air operated by Falcon Air Express Fort Myers/Punta Gorda
United Express operated by Colgan Air Washington-Dulles
United Express operated by Expressjet Airlines Chicago-O'Hare
United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Chicago-O'Hare
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Chicago-O'Hare
US Airways Charlotte
US Airways Express operated by Piedmont Airlines Philadelphia
US Airways Express operated by PSA Airlines Charlotte

Note:1 On February 10th all flights will be directed to Orlando International Airport

Cargo Operations


On Sunday, November 16, 2008, US Airways Flight 4551, a US Airways Express deHavilland Dash-8 turboprop operated by Piedmont Airlines, took off from Lehigh Valley International Airport at 8:20am heading to Philadelphia International Airport, had to make an emergency landing. The flight crew indicated that the front nose gear had not come down, and the plane had to make a flyover the runway for confirmation. Of 35 passengers and 3 crew, there were no injuries.[4]

On Saturday, June 27, 2009, Allegiant Air Flight 746, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft made an emergency landing after flames were observed coming from the aircraft's left engine. The flight was bound for Orlando Sanford International Airport. During takeoff, one of the aircraft's tires had shredded and a piece of that tire was sucked into the engine, causing it to fail and momentarily catch on fire. The airliner landed safely minutes later with no injuries reported.[5]


  1. ^ Lehigh Valley International Airport, official website
  2. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for ABE (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2008-06-05
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Plane makes emergency landing at Lehigh Valley International Airport".,0,6577708.story.  
  • Allentown 1762-1987 A 225-Year History, Volume Two, 1921-1987. Mahlon H. Hellerich, editor, Lehigh County Historical Society, 1987.

External links



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