El Paso International Airport
El Paso International Airport (ELP) is a public airport just 6 miles east of downtown El Paso, next to the U.S. Army’s Fort Bliss. Its 7,000 acres include the airport facilities, several industrial parks, the International Trade Processing Center and the Global Reach Science and Technology Park.
History of El Paso Airport
El Paso’s airport has exhibited a pioneering spirit from its very beginning and continues to this day. The first airport from an inspirational visit from Charles A. Lindbergh in 1927. Within a year, the El Paso Aero club opened the El Paso Municipal Airport, with 10,000 locals on hand to celebrate. A day after its opening, the airport welcomed Amelia Earhart, who stopped en route to Los Angeles.
Its innovative spirit continued in 1968, when El Paso International was the first airport to install a 130-foot tall control tower. With a new terminal constructed in 1995, ELP operated the first air traffic control tower to use the advanced STARS radar system in 2000. In 2011, the airport opened a new cargo perishables center and completed a major airport terminal expansion project.
Providing passenger, cargo and general aviation services, ELP serves West Texas, northern areas of Mexico and New Mexico’s southern regions. More than 3 million passengers traveled through ELP in 2011. Of the country’s 847 airports, ELP ranks 73rd in passenger volume.
Between the airport’s passenger and cargo traffic, ELP handles more than 23,000 departures each year, 99,901 aircraft operations and more than 90,000 tons of cargo.
The airport operates with two air carrier runways and one general aviation runway. Its passenger terminal is two levels. Two passenger concourses with 15 gates are on the upper level. The airport’s baggage claim, car rental center and ticketing desks are on the ground level. Services are mixed between the two levels, although the food court is on the upper level of Concourse B.
Seven major airlines and a number of regional air carriers provide passenger service at ELP. They offer 64 non-stop flights per day. Travelers may enjoy the airport’s free wireless internet and its Business Center that provides foreign currency exchange, laptop service, phone cards and a variety of other business-related offerings. The airport’s concourses are interspersed with 11 news and gift shops, 10 dining options, three self-service kiosks and a shoeshine. Nine national car rental agencies have rental desks on-site.
ELP provides 5,738 parking spots among its short-term and long-term parking lots. Free parking is available to disabled veterans with Texas license plates. Other disabled parking is available in the short-term lot near the terminal and in the long-term lot near the airport shuttle bus stop. Electric vehicle charging stations operate at the airport’s Green Island in the short-term parking lot. Green Island offers Blink charging stations free of charge for Blink customers.
NASA operated its training center for shuttle astronauts on the grounds of the El Paso Airport through its NASA Forward Operating Location. NASA used the facility to provide astronauts practice with landing the space shuttle.
The airport administers the Foreign Trade Zone No. 68 on-site at its International Trade Processing Center. The zone is ranked No. 1 for exports in the country and is the nation’s only grantee to provide training and compliance services. In an average year, the foreign trade zone processes 4,000 items from 120 countries.
ELP is a leader in developing airport land for non-aeronautical uses as well. Its Butterfield Industrial Park, Southern Industrial Park and Global Reach Science and Technology Park account for more than 200 commercial businesses that feed into the airport’s air operations.