Guam International Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport is more commonly known to local residents as Guam International Airport which is also reflected in its airport code of GUM. The airport provides international service to residents of the island and was named for the first person to serve as a non-voting member of the United States Congress from the territory of Guam. The airport is located near Hagatna, which is the capital city of the island territory.
History of the Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat worked as a teacher before entering politics on a local level. He served in congress for a dozen years after his election in 1965. He died in 1985 and is buried on the island.
The airport named in his honor was first constructed by the Japanese during their occupation of the island during World War II. In the last year of the war, Americans captured the island and utilized the airstrip under the name of Agana Airfield. For the next 50 years, the airfield served as a base of operations for a number of military units until its military function ended in 1993.
Civilian operations were added to the airstrip in 1969. Non-military passenger traffic to Guam continued to grow through this period necessitating the addition of a passenger terminal in the early 1980s. This building has been upgraded a number of times and is used administratively and as a terminal for short-haul airlines at the airport. The new terminal’s design reflected the rather unique situation at Guam. There are no other commercial airports on the island so there is no domestic passenger traffic. All arriving passengers passed through a customs area and security but the airport was not equipped with a security area dedicated to departing passengers. This required extensive modifications in the early 2000s. Combined, the two terminals offer about 20 gates and 5 baggage claims and handle about 2 million passengers each year.
While Guam is an American territory it falls into some gray areas when it comes to customs. Travelers arriving in Guam are subject to U.S. Customs inspections along with inspection by Guam officials. Travelers departing Guam are subject to customs inspections when they arrive at an American destination the same as if they were arriving from a foreign country.
Guam International Airport operates a separate cargo terminal near the two passenger terminals. This facility handles about 50 tons of airfreight each year. The airports two parallel runways handle about 40,000 take offs or landings each year. The runways are nearly identical in length at about 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet in length. Only one of the runways is equipped with instrument landing equipment. The airport operates around the clock with no noise restrictions.
Future plans at Guam International Airport include a noise reduction plan. Airport management is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to add sound proofing features to residential homes under the flight paths of arriving and departing aircraft. The project commonly installs new doors and windows but can include an air conditioning system as part of the project if it will help the residents live more comfortably with the windows and doors closed for sound reduction.