The Gerald R. Ford Airport (GFIA) is located in Grand Rapids Michigan. The airport was originally named the Kent County International Airport, but renamed in December of 1999 in honor of our 38th president, Gerald R. Ford. President Ford himself was from the Grand Rapids area, and also has other landmarks named in his honor, such as a portion of I-96 that goes through Grand Rapids. The airport itself is managed by the Kent County Department of Aeronautics. The airport can be accessed through many major roadways in the area, such as I-96, US 131 and M-37, making it a convenient access to travelers. The airport is also handicap friendly, allowing service animals such as guide dogs and assistant, or helper animals. The terminals are easy to navigate and handicapped parking is available in all the airport parking lots. There is also TDD phone assistance and wheelchairs available, should you need them.
The airport has won many awards for its marketing, finance, operations and engineering departments.
The airport is served by seven airlines. Approximately 6,250 passengers pass through the airport each day. The airlines that serve this airport deliver 20 non-stop flights to and from 23 major markets in the US. There are an average of 240 take offs and landings per day at the airport, which makes it the 82nd busiest airport in the country. The airport itself covers more than five square miles of land and is surrounded by 12 miles of fencing. That length of fencing almost stretches to the city of Grand Rapids! The terminal itself is 240,850 square feet with 170,000 of that space allotted for the public. There are 13 gates in the airport, and two concourses. There are two cargo airliners at the airport, and more than 220,000 lbs of cargo go through the airport every day, making close to 110 tons of cargo.
The airport has three runways for its planes – and there is 1,550,000 square feet of concrete making up those runways and covering the airport. There is about 2,000 acres of grassy areas surrounding the airport, the size of more than 1,500 football fields to be mown and upkept. Over 83,000,000 cubic feet of snow is removed from the airport each year, for flight and passenger safety. That would fill 20,000 Olympic sized swimming pools!
Parking at the Gerald R Ford Airport is within a parking garage at the airport that provides 9,850 spaces for vehicles. Nearly 600,000 cars used the parking garage last year, averaging 1,560 cars exiting the garage per day.
Close to 2,000 people work at the Gerald R. Ford airport, and most of them work for tenants of the airport. This airport has its own police, fire rescue and maintenance departments, which operate like a small city. It generates nearly half a million dollars in revenue. This airport is self-sufficient and does not rely on grants or taxes to help it operate. Capital requirements are met through various sources such as grants from the Federal Aviation Improvement Program and the aeronautical department of Michigan State University.