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Morrison Field

Palm Beach International Airport
Location of the Palm Beach International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Palm Beach County
Operator Palm Beach County Department of Airports
Serves West Palm Beach, Florida
Elevation AMSL 19 ft / 6 m
Coordinates 26°40′59″N 80°05′44″W / 26.68306°N 80.09556°W / 26.68306; -80.09556

Direction Length Surface
ft m
10L/28R 10,008 3,050 Asphalt
10R/28L 3,213 979 Asphalt
14/32 6,932 2,113 Asphalt
Statistics (2009, 2010)
Aircraft operations (2009) 153,056
Based aircraft (2009) 126
Passengers (2012) 5,609,168
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]

Palm Beach International Airport (IATA: PBIICAO: KPBIFAA LID: PBI) is a public airport located 3 nautical miles (5.6 kilometers) west of Palm Beach, Florida, in West Palm Beach, Florida, and serves Palm Beach County. The airport is operated and maintained by Palm Beach County Department of Airports. Road access to the airport is available directly from I-95, Southern Boulevard, and Congress Avenue. The airport is bordered to the west by Military Trail.


For the military use of the Airport, see Palm Beach Air Force Base

Palm Beach International Airport (KPBI) began operations in 1936 as Morrison Field. Morrison Field was named in honor of Miss Grace K. Morrison, a key participant in the planning and organization of the airfield. The first flight departing the field was a New York bound Eastern Air Lines DC-2 in 1936. The airport was dedicated on December 19, 1936.

In 1937 the airport was expanded beyond an airstrip and an administration building when the Palm Beach Aero Corporation obtained a lease, built hangars and the first terminal on the south side of the airport. The new terminal was known as the Eastern Air Lines Terminal. The field was used by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, commencing in 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor Morrison Field was used for training and later as a staging base for the Allied invasion of France, with numerous aircraft departing Morrison en route to the United Kingdom in order to take part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

In 1947 the newly established U.S. Air Force moved to Brookley Field, later Brookley AFB, in Mobile, Alabama and commercial services by Eastern Airlines and National Airlines resumed from Morrison Field. The name was changed to Palm Beach International Airport on August 11, 1948. In September 1950 runway 5 was 6030 ft long, 9 was 7010 ft and 13 was 6930 ft.

The airport was again used by the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and renamed Palm Beach Air Force Base,[2] under the control of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). USAF operations occupied the north half of the airfield while civilian operations and the commercial terminal occupied the south half. MATS used the base as a training facility with the host unit being the 1707th Air Transport Wing (Heavy), and its 1740th Heavy Transport Training Unit. The 1707 ATW was known as the "University of MATS", becoming the primary USAF training unit for all Air Force personnel supporting and flying heavy transport aircraft. These included C-124 Globemaster II, C-118 Liftmaster, C-97 Stratofreighter, and C-54 Skymaster maintenance training along with aircrew and transition pilot training. Nearly 23,000 airmen trained at Palm Beach AFB during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Air Weather Service also used Palm Beach AFB as a headquarters for hurricane research, flying the first WB-50D Superfortress "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft from the base in 1956.

After several years of Palm Beach County fighting the Air Force presence in West Palm Beach, the Air Force started to close down operations at the base. The 1707 ATW was inactivated on 30 June 1959 and reassigned to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. With the wing's departure, Palm Beach County took over airfield operations. The Air Force retained a small presence at the base with the 9th Weather Group becoming the main operational unit at Palm Beach AFB, performing hurricane and weather research for the Air Weather Service. In addition, the Air Photographic and Charting Service (APCS) moved its 1370th Photo-Mapping Wing to the base, performing geodetic survey flights. During the early 1960s, Palm Beach AFB was also used by Air Force One, with President John F. Kennedy landing at the base when staying at the Kennedy home in Palm Beach. The Air Force finally closed Palm Beach AFB in 1962 and all property was conveyed to Palm Beach International Airport the same year.[2]

Delta Air Lines began scheduled flights in 1959 and Capital Airlines in 1960. Turbine-powered flights were started by Eastern Airlines in 1959 with the turboprop Lockheed L-188 Electra and Eastern DC-8 nonstops to Idlewild started in December 1960.

In October 1966 an eight-gate Main Terminal was opened on the northeast side of the airport; in 1974 Delta Air Lines moved into its own six-gate terminal with the airport's first jetways. The FAA built a new Air Traffic Control Tower on the south side of the airport during this period.

On October 23, 1988 the 25-gate David McCampbell Terminal, named for World War II naval flying ace, Medal of Honor recipient and Palm Beach County resident CAPT David McCampbell, USN (Ret) was dedicated. The 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2), Greiner-designed terminal was designed with expansion in mind and can be doubled in size when required.[3]

In 2003 the terminal was voted among the finest in the nation by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. In that same year, a new landscaped and state of the art I-95 interchange was built to decrease traffic on Southern Boulevard (US 98) extending Turnage Boulevard (the road around the perimeter of the concourse).

Competition from rapidly expanding Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport cut growth at the airport through the 1990s. The 2001 recession and the September 11th terrorist attacks further inhibited growth, but development in South Florida since 2002 has finally led to a surge of passenger traffic at the airport. In addition, discount carriers such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines began service to PBI. In 2006 the county embarked on an interim expansion program by breaking ground on a 7 story parking garage and the addition of 3 gates in Concourse C. Long range expansions include gates at Concourse B and the eventual construction of a new 14 gate Concourse D to be extended east from the present terminal.

Southern Boulevard.

Annual passenger counts

Enplaning and deplaning combined.[4]

2012 - 5,609,168[5]
2011 - 5,769,583[6]
2010 - 5,887,723[7]
2009 - 5,994,606[8]
2008 - 6,476,303[9]
2007 - 6,936,449[10]
2006 - 6,824,789[11]
2005 - 7,014,237[12]
2004 - 6,537,263[13]
2003 - 6,010,820[14]


Palm Beach International Airport covers 2,120 acres (858 ha) and has three runways:[1]

  • Runway 10L-28R: 10,008 x 150 ft. (3,050 x 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 10R-28L: 3,213 x 75 ft. (979 x 23 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 14-32: 6,931 x 150 ft. (2,113 x 46 m), Surface: Asphalt

On December 17, 2009, the runway designations were changed, the former runway designations were:[15]

  • Runway 9L-27R: 10,008 x 150 ft. (3,050 x 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 9R-27L: 3,213 x 75 ft. (979 x 23 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 13-31: 6,931 x 150 ft. (2,113 x 46 m), Surface: Asphalt

Airport traffic control tower

A new 240-foot (73 m) Airport Traffic Control tower is currently active on the north side of the airport (west of concourse A, off Belvedere Rd.) along with a single-story, 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) ATBM Base Building.[16] The current tower lies on the southern side of the airport.


  • Helicopter operations typically use 10R/28L or its parallel taxiways, or make a direct approach to either Customs or the Galaxy Aviation ramp.
  • Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office (PBSO) maintains its air division from a hangar at the southwest corner of the airport.

Other hangars

  • General Aviation FBO's and hangars are located along the southern edge of the airport, with entrance access available by the Jet Aviation FBO. Other FBOs at PBI include Galaxy Aviation and Signature Flight Support.

Fire protection and emergency medical services

The Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Aviation Battalion is located between runways at PBI. The battalion is made up of 3 shifts of Aviation Firefighters, Florida Paramedics, a shift Lieutenant and District Chief. The Aviation Battalion Chief oversees all aspects in the battalion. The battalion is responsible for Emergency Medical Services and fire protection for the entire airport.

There is 1 Rescue/Pumper unit (ambulance/mini-pumper), 4 Airport Crash Trucks, 1 mobile command unit, 1 support truck (with backboards, body bags, air bottles, etc.), 1 airplane stair truck, and 3 Battalion Officer vehicles in the Battalion.[17]

Airlines and destinations

Top destinations

Top ten busiest domestic routes out of PBI
(May 2012 - April 2013)[18]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, GA 558,920 AirTran, Delta
2 Newark, NJ 304,210 JetBlue, United
3 New York-LaGuardia, NY 264,880 Delta, JetBlue
4 New York-JFK, NY 220,160 JetBlue
5 Charlotte, NC 205,970 US Airways
6 Philadelphia, PA 173,610 AirTran, Southwest, US Airways
7 Boston, MA 152,430 Delta, JetBlue
8 Baltimore, MD 120,260 Southwest
9 White Plains, NY 126,000 AirTran, JetBlue
10 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 104,410 American

Public transportation

Palm Tran buses #40 and #44 serve the airport. Both provide connections to the West Palm Beach Tri-Rail/Amtrak/Greyhound station.


In conjunction with the slated construction of a new ATC tower at PBIA, the FAA intended to transfer all of PBIA's air traffic controllers whose assigned sector is between 5 and 40 miles (60 km) from the airport to a remote facility at Miami International Airport. Ground traffic controllers, and approach controllers whose sector is within 5 miles (8 km) of the runway would have remained at PBIA. The FAA cited the move as a cost-cutting measure, but critics say that it creates a risk to South Florida air traffic if the Miami facility is damaged in a hurricane, or terrorist attack. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association opposed the move. The remote facility at Miami International Airport currently houses air traffic controllers for both Miami and Fort Lauderdale international airports.

Donald Trump sued to block the expansion of one of the runways at PBIA.[19]

Incidents involving PBI

See also


  • The History Of Palm Beach International Airport
  • Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Aviation Battalion

External links

  • Palm Beach International Airport, official site
    • Terminal Map with airlines
  • Palm Beach International Airport 1966-1988
  • Resources for this airport:
    • AirNav airport information for KPBI
    • ASN accident history for PBI
    • FlightAware live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KPBI
    • FAA current PBI delay information

Coordinates: 26°41′00″N 80°05′44″W / 26.6832°N 80.0956°W / 26.6832; -80.0956

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