Huntsville International Airport is located approximately nine miles from the center of Huntsville, Alabama, in Madison County. It was known as the Huntsville Jetport when it was first opened in October of 1967. At the time of its opening, it was the third site used as a jetport in or near the community of Huntsville. The airport was constructed to give air travelers based in the Tennessee Valley more convenient options for commercial air travel. Additionally, the airport was originally meant to entice passengers by offering a link to destinations like St. Louis, Seattle, Houston, and Melbourne, Florida. These destinations were important to the burgeoning United States Space Program.
These days, the Huntsville International Airport is focused on providing excellent service for passengers based in an 18 county region in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. During the calendar year of 2011, the airport handled 1.2 million passengers who used the facility to fly to a number of non-stop destinations. Its terminal features 12 gates to serve travelers, plus the facility includes a number of stunning, artistic murals that depict air and space travel throughout the years. The airport has undergone a number of improvements since it was opened. One of the most significant improvements was the installation of an ASR-9 radar system for airport surveillance. This dual-channel system was the first to be installed at any airport in the United States. Installing the ASR-9 cemented the airport's status as a cutting edge operator among smaller airport facilities.
Huntsville International Airport uses two runways, both of which are quite long for such a small airport. The east runway is 10,006 feet long, while the west runway is 12,600 feet long. This means that the west runway is more than two miles long, making it the second longest runway of any airport in the American Southeast region. Both runways are oriented at a direction of 18L/36R, which means that they run in a north-south orientation. Both runways are also paved with asphalt.
The parking deck at Huntsville International Airport is located conveniently close to the terminal building, and it contains three different parking options for users of the facility. Hourly parking is available on the first level of the parking deck, while less expensive general parking is available on levels two through six. Economy parking is also available in lots adjacent to the main parking structure. Handicap parking spots are offered on levels one, two, and three of the parking deck as well as in convenient sections of the economy lots.
Since the Huntsville International Airport is so well known for being technologically advanced, travelers can expect to find the latest innovations in the parking areas as well as inside the airport terminal itself. These innovations include so-called SmartSigns that give motorists accurate and updated information regarding the number of parking spaces available on each level. This saves people a significant amount of time that might otherwise be spent circling the deck in search of available spots. The parking deck also features automated checkout lanes for those paying by credit card, a number of security cameras and intercoms available at all ticket dispensers.
The sole terminal at Huntsville International Airport features two different levels. The ground level of the terminal features the airport's baggage claim area, airline ticket desks, and access to a number of optional travel conveniences including an ATM and a pay phone. The upper level is known as the Concourse Level. This level features information placards, airport security, and all 12 of the airline gates. The Concourse Level also provides passengers with numerous optional amenities.