Portland International Airport: Wikis


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Portland International Airport
Portland International Airport from the air.
PDX - FAA airport diagram.png
PDX airport diagram.
Airport type Public
Owner Port of Portland
Serves Portland metropolitan area
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 30 ft / 9 m
Coordinates 45°35′19″N 122°35′51″W / 45.58861°N 122.5975°W / 45.58861; -122.5975
Website www.flypdx.com
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3/21 7,001 2,134 Asphalt
10L/28R 8,000 2,438 Asphalt
10R/28L 11,000 3,353 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
Passengers 14,654,222
Aircraft operations 252,572
Based aircraft 92 (2007)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]

Portland International Airport (IATA: PDXICAO: KPDXFAA LID: PDX) is the largest airport in the U.S. state of Oregon, accounting for 90% of passenger travel and more than 95% of air cargo of the state.[2] It is located on the south side of the Columbia River in Multnomah County, six miles by air and twelve miles by highway northeast of downtown Portland. Portland International Airport is often referred to by its IATA airport code, PDX.

PDX has direct connections to major airport hubs throughout the United States, plus non-stop international flights to Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the Netherlands. It is also a hub for flights to smaller cities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Nevada. The airport is a major hub for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and serves as a maintenance facility for Horizon Air. Small regional carrier SeaPort Airlines is headquartered and operates its Pacific Northwest hub at PDX. General aviation services are provided at PDX by Flightcraft. The Oregon Air National Guard has a base located on the south side of the property. Local transportation includes light rail on the MAX Red Line and Interstate 205.


Terminal building

Aerial view of the airport from the southwest

The main terminal consists of one building roughly "H"-shaped that is divided into five concourses. Concourses A, B, and C are on the south side of the terminal and concourses D and E are on the north; the two sides are connected beyond security checkpoints by an elevated walkway opened in August 2005.[3] PDX offers services including free Wi-Fi wireless Internet access, a children's play area and postal services.

PDX has a shopping mall behind its ticketing counters, with all shops and restaurants open every day. Because the state is one of the few in the nation with no sales tax, all stores offer tax-free shopping. The Port of Portland also requires all airport shops and restaurants to practice "Fair Retail Pricing" (which means businesses are not allowed to charge more than at their off-airport locations).[4] Stores include national stores and Oregon-based ones such as Made in Oregon, Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Powell's Books, Oregon Pendleton Shop, and The Real Mother Goose among others.[4] Food services also are a mix of national chains and local options.[4]

Statistics and ratings

View from Rocky Butte

In 2008, PDX handled 14,299,234 passengers and had non-stop commercial air service to 16 of the 17 most populated US Metropolitan Statistical Areas.[5] There was an average of 1.2 million passengers on 17,600 commercial flight operations per month.[5] The airport also handled 19,500 short tons of air freight per month.[5]

In 2006, 2007, and 2008 PDX was identified as the top airport for business travelers in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.[6] The Condé Nast ranking was based upon criteria including location and access, ease of connections, food, shops, amenities, comfort and design, and perceived safety and security; PDX received the top overall score, and the magazine noted the airport’s environmentally friendly initiatives, including the airport's use of solar panels for power, its connection to the MAX Light Rail, and its recycling of its restaurants' used oil and grease.

In 2008, a J.D. Power study contradicted the magazine's assessment, ranking the airport 19th in overall airport satisfaction out of 21 U.S. airports with from 10 to 30 million passengers per year. It scored PDX "average" in the categories of check-in/baggage check, security check and baggage claims, and at the bottom of several categories, including overall airport satisfaction, airport accessibility, terminal facilities and food and retail services.[7]

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Portland Airport has five major concourses (A, B, C, D, E) as well as a dedicated business aviation terminal. In addition, a dedicated facility handles cargo operations.

The international section of Concourse D was renamed to honor Oregon's Governor Victor G. Atiyeh also known as Trader Vic, and is called the Governor Victor G. Atiyeh International Concourse.[8]

Note: All international arrivals (except flights from cities with customs preclearance) are handled at Concourse D, regardless of their departure terminal.

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Toronto-Pearson [begins June 17] E
Air Canada Jazz Calgary, Vancouver E
Alaska Airlines Anchorage, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Denver, Kahului, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Ontario [seasonal], Orange County, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta [seasonal], San Diego, San Jose (CA), Los Cabos B, C
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth C
Continental Airlines Anchorage [seasonal; begins June 10], Houston-Intercontinental, Newark D
Delta Air Lines Amsterdam, Atlanta, Detroit [seasonal], Honolulu, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, Salt Lake City, Tokyo-Narita D
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines Salt Lake City D
Frontier Airlines Denver C
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu, Kahului D
Horizon Air Boise, Burbank, Eugene, Fresno, Long Beach, Medford, Oakland, Ontario, Redmond/Bend, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane, Vancouver A
JetBlue Airways Long Beach, New York–JFK E
SeaPort Airlines Seattle-Boeing Field, Pendleton, Astoria, Newport Business
Southwest Airlines Albuquerque, Boise, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Jose (CA), Spokane C
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles E
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Denver, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Los Angeles, Medford, North Bend/Coos Bay, Redmond/Bend, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma E
US Airways Charlotte [seasonal], Philadelphia [seasonal], Phoenix C

Cargo operations

Airlines Destinations
Air China Cargo Beijing-Capital, Los Angeles, Shanghai-Pudong
Air Transport International Toledo, Seattle-Boeing Field
DHL Express
ABX Air Wilmington, Spokane, Riverside
FedEx Express Memphis, Oakland, Indianapolis
FedEx Feeder operated by Empire Airlines
UPS Airlines Chicago/Rockford, Louisville, Ontario, Spokane

City airport history

Portland's main airport has been in two other incarnations. The first was on Swan Island, now used by the Port of Portland for industrial parks,[9] and the second was the 1940s–1950s configuration on the present site known as the "super airport".[10] The third and present configuration was first known as "The International",[citation needed] but is now known as PDX in all common and most official usage.

Swan Island Airport

In 1925 aviation proponents proposed an airport for Portland on Swan Island, northwest of downtown Portland on the Willamette River. The Port of Portland purchased 256 acres (104 ha) and construction began in 1926. Although the airport wasn't completed until 1930, Charles Lindbergh flew in and dedicated the new airfield in 1927.

By 1935 it was becoming apparent to the Port of Portland that the Swan Island Airport was becoming obsolete. The small airfield couldn't easily be expanded, nor could it accommodate the larger aircraft and passenger loads expected to become common to Portland. Plans immediately were conceived to relocate the outdated airfield to a larger site.

Swan Island Airport was officially named Portland Airport until the opening of the new airport.

Portland-Columbia "Super Airport"

The present PDX site was purchased by the Portland City Council in 1936. At the time it was 700 acres (280 ha) bordered by the Columbia River in the north and the Columbia Slough in the south. The city council issued US$300,000 and asked the Port of Portland to sponsor a US$1.3 million Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant to develop the site into a "super airport". The project provided badly needed Great Depression-era jobs and was completed in 1940.[11] The airport was designated Portland-Columbia Airport to distinguish it from then-operating Swan Island Airport.

During World War II the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Force.

The "super airport" featured a terminal on the north side of the property, off Marine Drive, and five runways (NE-SW, NW-SE, and an E-W runway forming an asterisk). This configuration was adequate until a new terminal and a longer, 8,800-foot (2,700 m) east-west runway were constructed in 1952.

In 1948 the entire airport grounds were flooded during the Vanport Flood due to its proximity to the Columbia River and very low elevation, forcing scheduled airline services to reroute to nearby Troutdale Airport. The grounds remained covered entirely in water for several months.

International status and expansion

Atrium at the end of Concourse D
Departure area of the airport

A new terminal opened in 1958, which for the most part serves as the present facility. The new terminal is located to the east of the original runways, and north of the then-new 8,800 ft. runway. Construction of a second east-west runway to the north made this a midfield terminal. At this point, all but the NE-SW (3/21) runway in the original "X" were abandoned and turned into taxiways. 3/21 was extended for use as a cross-wind runway. "International" was added to the airport's official designation after the 1950s-era improvements.

Plans made in 1968 to add a third runway by means of filling in parts of the Columbia River were met with vocal public opposition and scrapped. In 1974 the south runway was extended to 11,000 feet (3,400 m) to service the newest jumbo jets.

By the 1980s, the terminal building began an extensive renovation in order to update PDX to meet future needs. Concourse E was first to be reconstructed, and featured PDX's first moving sidewalks. The Oregon Marketplace, a small shopping mall, was added in the former waiting areas behind the ticket counters.

The early 1990s saw a food court and extension added to Concourse C, and the opening of the new Concourse D. This marked the first concessions inside secured areas, allowing passengers to purchase items without having to be re-screened.

An expanded parking garage, new control tower, and canopy over the curbside were finished in the late 1990s. Although hailed by architectural critics, the canopy blocked views of Mount Hood from the curbside. During construction, the garage addition collapsed, killing a worker.

The present H-shape of the PDX terminal was completed on September 10, 2001 when the new A, B and C concourses, as well as the light rail line, were finished. Probably the most stunning portion of PDX's interior, the new concourses reflect a Northwest theme, focusing heavily on the nearby Columbia river. A huge celebration was to be held the following weekend, but the events of September 11, 2001 interceded. The new concourses, designed to be public spaces, were closed to non-passengers.

In the fall of 2005, the concourse connector was finished. This is a long hallway on the secure side of the airport that connects the A, B, and C concourses to the D and E concourses on the other side of the airport. If there is a long line at the checkpoint at one end of the airport, passengers may use the other checkpoint and walk through the connector to their desired concourse.[12]

International service

International, Alaska, and Hawaii destinations served from Portland International Airport (as of March 2008)

Delta Air Lines used Portland as a gateway in the 1990s for extensive service to Asia with its MD-11 aircraft, until the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. International travel decreased even further due to complaints about treatment at the immigration facility in Portland, leading it to be nicknamed "DePortland".[13][14] The combination of these factors caused Delta to discontinue what was then the last direct flight from PDX to Tokyo's Narita International Airport (NRT) and Nagoya in March 2001.[15] This change brought local media scrutiny, which, when combined with the resulting Congressional pressure, caused those in charge of the immigration facility to address the problems.[citation needed] Delta resumed a Narita nonstop service in 2009 as part of its acquisition of Northwest; curiously, the Northwest-operated flight is flown on a cross-utilized Delta 767-300ER (replacing a larger A330 previously on the route), and is in turn codeshared with Delta.

Meanwhile, local travel businesses had begun recruiting other carriers. Lufthansa started direct flights to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 31, 2003.[16]However, in September 2009, Lufthansa indefinitely suspended the Portland-Frankfurt route citing lack of profitability.[17] Northwest Airlines introduced non stop flights to Tokyo (Narita Airport) on June 10, 2004.[18]Mexicana Airlines also introduced service to Guadalajara, Mexico and Mexico City. After 5 years of service between PDX and Mexico, the service was cancelled by Mexicana Airlines on May 2, 2008, due to high fuel prices and change in demand. This change left Alaska Airlines as the only airline with nonstop services to Mexico.[19] Northwest Airlines announced on October 9, 2007 the expansion of international service with new A330 nonstop service to Amsterdam that began on March 29, 2008. Though at one time reported to continue to Mumbai by Delta beginning June, 2009, the Amsterdam service was instead reduced that year to a Northwest-operated Delta-flown 767-300.[20][21]

The airport's international service was also featured on The Amazing Race 13 as the arrival airport after all three teams that were in the race arrived on Lufthansa from Frankfurt. Lufthansa ended its service to Frankfurt on September 12, 2009.[22]

Future plans

Although some plans have been studied to either replace or relieve PDX traffic, planners continue to prefer expansion.[citation needed] Salem, Oregon's McNary Field (SLE) and the Port of Portland's Hillsboro Airport (HIO) in Washington County have been suggested as future relievers. Between 1993 and 2007, Salem's airport was without scheduled airline flights. With resumption of commercial flights on June 7, 2007, the airport has planned terminal improvements using a preconstructed modular building.[23] However, these flights have since been canceled.[24]

At PDX, base material has begun to soften around eighteen supporting joints beneath the west third of the south runway due to aircraft landings. The port considered shutting the runway down at night for repairs and opening the runway during the day as would normally be done. However, this would require the rehabilitation be spread over a four year period. Due to the weakened joints, the runway must be repaired before the end of 2011, which could not be done using the four year strategy. Since more aircraft require the full length runway than could be accommodated by the next longest runway, the port has proposed expanding the north runway. If approved, the north runway is tentatively scheduled to be extended between May and November 2010. This will allow for the south runway to be closed the following year for resurfacing. By closing and working on the entire runway at once, the port estimates the rehabilitation of the south runway will cost 40 percent less than working at night only.[25]


See also


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for PDX (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-12-20
  2. ^ Loy, William G. (2001). Atlas of Oregon. Eugene, Oregon: University of Oregon Press. pp. 111. ISBN 0-87114-102-7. 
  3. ^ Pdxaminer
  4. ^ a b c PDX Shop Dine Fly, from the Port of Portland website
  5. ^ a b c http://www.portofportland.com/SelfPost/A_200911412491Dec2008webstats.pdf
  6. ^ "Portland International Airport No. 1". Portland Business Journal. September 2008. http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2008/09/22/daily7.html. "PDX received the top overall score, and the magazine noted the airport’s green initiatives" 
  7. ^ "Study: Travelers not happy with PDX". Portland Business Journal. May 2008. http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2008/05/19/daily17.html. 
  8. ^ Governor Victor G. Atiyeh International Concourse
  9. ^ Hien Bui and Michelle Kain (2001-02-14). "Airport History". Center for Columbia River History. http://www.ccrh.org/comm/slough/airport1.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  10. ^ Hien Bui and Michelle Kain (2001-02-14). "Noise Yesterday, Noise Today, Noise Tomorrow?". Center for Columbia River History. http://www.ccrh.org/comm/slough/airport6.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  11. ^ Robbins, William G. (2002). "Subtopic : Oregon in Depression and War, 1925–1945: The Most Visible of Relief Agencies". The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/narratives/subtopic.cfm?subtopic_ID=106. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  12. ^ Holiday Travel Tips to Survive PDX
  13. ^ "Besmirched 'Deportland' Wrestles With the I.N.S.". New York Times. 31 August 2000. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9E01E5DD1430F932A0575BC0A9669C8B63. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  14. ^ "Oregon Live - INS/PDX Problems". The Oregonian. December 2000. http://www.oregonlive.com/special/current/ins.ssf. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  15. ^ "Delta cuts Portland service". Portland Business Journal. 7 September 2000. http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2000/09/04/daily16.html. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  16. ^ "Lufthansa to add Portland service". Portland Business Journal. 23 October 2002. http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2002/10/21/daily35.html. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  17. ^ http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2009/07/lufthansa_to_end_portlandfrank.html
  18. ^ "Press Release: Northwest To Fly Portland – Tokyo Nonstop". Northwest Airlines. 7 January 2004. http://www.nwa.com/corpinfo/newsc/2004/pr010720041264.html. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  19. ^ Dan McMillan (14 March 2003). "Mexicana adds service from PDX to Mexico". Portland Business Journal. http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2003/03/17/story7.html. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  20. ^ "Press Release: Northwest Announces Expansion Of Its Global Route System With The Addition Of Nonstop Portland-Amsterdam Service". Northwest Airlines. 9 October 2007. http://www.nwa.com/corpinfo/newsc/2007/pr100920071894.html. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  21. ^ Northwest Airlines plans nonstop flights to Amsterdam. The Oregonian. 2007-10-08.
  22. ^ http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_070609_business_lufthansa_ends_portland.158a94cd.html?npc
  23. ^ "Delta to begin two daily flights from Salem to Salt Lake City". Statesman Journal. February 26, 2007. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770226020. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  24. ^ Guerrero-Huston, Thelma (October 10, 2008). "Delta goes up, up and away". Statesman Journal. http://community.statesmanjournal.com/tools/pdf/pdfarticle.php?artid=810100361. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  25. ^ "Port of Portland North Runway Extension site". Port of Portland. http://www.portofportland.com/Prj_PDX_NREX_Home.aspx. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 

External links


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