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Portland International Jetport is a public airport located two miles (3 km) west of the central business district of Portlandmarker, in Cumberland Countymarker, Mainemarker, United States. It is owned by the City of Portland. A significant portion of the Jetport, including the main runway, is located in the neighboring city of South Portlandmarker.

This regional airport serves much of Mainemarker and is the busiest airport in the state. In 2007, the airport handled a record 1,648,568 passengers, up 17.0% from the previous year. Recently, the Jetport has benefited from service by low-cost carriers such as JetBlue and AirTran Airways. PWM is now in the process of expanding and updating its terminal to allow more airline service.

History

The airfield was founded in the late 1920s by Dr. Clifford “Kip” Strange, who needed space for his JN-4 "Jenny" Biplane. Known as Stroudwater Field, the airport received its first commercial service on December 17, 1934. Two years later, the city of Portlandmarker bought the airfield and changed its name to Portland-Westbrook-Municipal. "Westbrook" referred to the location of the last directional light before the airport in the nearby town of Westbrookmarker.

The current airport started to take shape in the 1950s to 60s. Runway 11/29 was built in 1957 and lengthened to in 1966. The current terminal was opened in 1968, when jet service began.

In 2004, the City of Portlandmarker again lengthened the runway, to , to accommodate larger aircraft.

The terminal has been expanded at least twice, and there are plans for a further expansion of the concourse in 2009.

Other changes include improvements to the terminal and baggage claim, reconfiguration of the airport access road and terminal roads, and rehabilitation and expansion of the parking garage. The City of Portlandmarker is also planning to expand the general aviation ramp, enlarge the cargo ramp and facilities, reconfigure the alignment of taxiways, and eventually reconfigure runway 18/36.

The airport was the starting point of Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari's travels on September 11, 2001. The pair flew to Bostonmarker, where they boarded American Airlines Flight 11 and later hijacked it and crashed it into One World Trade Centermarker. Their rental car was later taken from the Jetport.

In the wake of 9/11, many U.S. airlines began offering fewer flights. This furthered the airlines' shift from mainline jet aircraft to smaller regional jets or turboprops at PWM. In late 2002, American Eagle stopped flying to the Jetport. On September 1, 2005, Delta Air Lines ended mainline service to PWM. Despite the airline's strong history at Portland, serving the Jetport in the past with aircraft as large as the Boeing 757 and Boeing 727, all flights from that date on were set to be operated by Delta Connection on Canadair Regional Jet.

A FedEx 727 at PWM, 2009.
Some service began to return as the airline industry returned to health in 2005 and 2006. The first step up came with the introduction of the low cost carrier Independence Air in 2005. On May 1 of 2005, Independence added a daily flight to Washington Dullesmarker on an Airbus A319, making them the first carrier to fly an Airbus out of Portland. Portland was one of few markets that Independence Air consistently served with its larger A319 jets, and at the time of their bankruptcy Portland was rumored to be one of their few profitable destinations. FedEx Express also began using an Airbus A310 widebody jet on its cargo flights to Memphismarker later that year, although today the company still primarily uses a 727 for those flights. On July 1, 2005, Portland received its first transatlantic arrival. The flight was Primaris Airlines flight 3 from Shannonmarker, Ireland. The flight was on a Boeing 757-200 with the registration .

jetBlue A320 "Unforgettably Blue" at PWM, 2009.
After Independence Air went bankrupt, Portland was left without a low-cost carrier, causing fares to go up, and passenger numbers to once again decline. Capitalizing on the under served market, JetBlue Airways began service to Portland on May 23, 2006, with four daily flights to New York/JFKmarker aboard Airbus A320 jets. This made them the second largest air carrier at the Jetport (in terms of available seats) nearly overnight. This addition of service has inspired what is known as the Southwest Effect, where the addition of a large number of low cost seats in a market forces down the price of competing tickets.

On June 7, 2007, AirTran Airways began seasonal service to Baltimore/Washington Airportmarker, as well as to Orlandomarker, Floridamarker. This established AirTran as the second low cost carrier in Portland, competing with JetBlue. This is the first time that Portland has received direct service to a Florida destination, a market that has been the focus of much speculation in past years. Flights are operated on Boeing 717 and Boeing 737 jets, some of the largest aircraft scheduled to the Jetport currently. At the same time of AirTran's arrival, JetBlue announced that it would be adding a fifth flight of their own to New York, further increasing the number of available low cost seats. Later, on September 26, 2007 JetBlue also announced a daily direct flight to Orlando, using its Embraer 190 equipment, beginning in January of that year. The year 2007 was a record high for Portland, the added service posted a 17% increase in passengers from the year before.

In 2008, Delta Air Lines returned mainline service to Portland, with a daily flight to Atlanta on a McDonnell Douglas MD-88 jet. At the same time, a regional start up, New England Air Transport (NEAT) began intra-state air service, flying three times weekly to Aroostook Countymarker with a Piper Navajo Chieftain. This was the first intra-state service offered out of Portland in more than a decade. With these increases, 2008 also saw a number of losses of service, with air traffic in an overall decline as the airline industry scaled back with economic decline. At the onset of 2009, the Jetport saw the return of international service. Starlink Aviation announced the start of service between Portland and Halifax, Nova Scotiamarker and Yarmouth, Nova Scotiamarker, to begin on 4 February of that year.

Airlines and destinations

Historical service



Air cargo operators and destinations



Ground transportation

The airport is accessible from I-95 (the Maine Turnpike) and I-295. The jetport provides ample parking space in multiple ground lots as well as two parking garages, with rates ranging from $10-$12 per day. A complimentary cell phone lot is available just outside the baggage claim area. METRO Bus and taxi service can be accessed from the ground transportation booth outside the baggage claim. A shuttle bus service called The Portland Explorer provides access to area hotels, and to other local transportation, such as the Amtrak Downeaster train service, and The CAT high speed ferry.

Images

File:Airtran at pwm 07302009.jpg|AirTran Boeing 717.File:UsairwaysN816ma 07302009.jpg|US Airways Express Embraer 170.File:UsairwaysN419aw 07302009.jpg|US Airways Express Bombardier CRJ200.Image:PWM623 N514MD.jpg|US Airways Express Embraer 170 taxis to Runway 29, passing the tail of an AirTran Airways Boeing 717.

References

  1. http://www.theforecaster.net/node/18212/
  2. Portland Jetport Statistics
  3. History of the Portland Jetport
  4. Airliners.net Civil Aviation Forums: American Eagle To End Portland, Maine
  5. Discussion of this topic on Airliners.net
  6. Delta and Northeast Airlines Routemaps and Timetables
  7. Aroostook Airways Routemaps and Timetables
  8. Air New England Routemaps and Timetables
  9. Bar Harbor Airlines/Eastern Express Routemaps and Timetables
  10. Air Vermont Routemaps and Timetables
  11. People Express Routemaps
  12. Ransome Airlines Route Map Circa June 1, 1985
  13. PWM85intro
  14. RZ110184
  15. US070186
  16. Airliners.net discussion regarding the longest B-1900 flights.
  17. Business Express/Atlantic Air Routemaps and Timetables
  18. PWM89intro
  19. http://www.portlandjetport.org/Parking.asp


External links




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