Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport
Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport, TYS, is located in Alcoa, Tennessee, on over 2,000 acres of land. It is the premier East Tennessee air facility because of its convenience and accessibility. The airport is capable of accommodating any size aircraft on its two parallel feet runways. One of the runways is 9,000 feet long and the other is 9,005 feet long. TYS is a popular airport due to its proximity to Knoxville and to the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An estimated 1.8 million passengers used TYS in 2011.
History of Knoxville Airport
TYS was named for Charles McGhee Tyson, commonly known as McGhee. He was the son of Lawrence Davis and Bettie Tyson. In July 1917, McGhee enlisted in the Naval Reserve Flying Corps. Approximately one year later, he was assigned to serve with an aerial unit in England. Less than two months after his arrival in England, McGhee was killed when the aircraft that he was on, as the part of a crew dispatched on a mine-dropping mission, went down over the North Sea. Bettie Tyson later donated land for an airstrip and a park with the stipulation that the airstrip be named after her son, McGhee Tyson.
The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority has owned and operated TYS since 1978. The authority is an independent nonprofit agency. Revenue is generated through rental income and user fees rather than taxpayer dollars.
TYS has approximately 2,700 employees and has an economic impact on the East Tennessee region of an estimated one billion dollars annually. In 2000, TYS spent approximately 70 million dollars on the airport’s expansion and renovation including a 115-foot indoor mountain stream. Since that time, TYS has constantly made improvements to maintain the beautiful facility and to keep the airport current with new technology.
TYS has two levels. The bottom level contains airline offices, two baggage claim areas, first aid stations, and car rental counters. The top, departure level can be accessed through curbside drop off and through the parking garage. It contains ticket counters, gates, security, and restaurants and shops.
TYS is a small, clean airport and features a nature themed terminal including a garden with water features. The large glass windows allow plenty of light to flow into the terminal. The view from the windows is beautiful, and rocking chairs are provided in the waiting areas for the passenger’s comfort. The restrooms are easy to find and are extremely clean.
There are two garages across from the TYS passenger terminal; one is for short-term parking and one for long-term parking. There is also an economy lot that offers free shuttle service. Accessible parking spaces are available in all three lots. Wheelchair assistance is available upon request.
Guests who would like to wait for a passenger at their vehicle can use the Phone & Wait Lot. When the passenger is ready to be picked up, they can call the guest on their cell phone or on one of the TYS courtesy phones to notify the guest that they are ready to be picked-up.