Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport
Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport sits just a little north of Lubbock, Texas. It is a small hub airport, covering approximately 3,000 acres of land. It is publicly owned by the city of Lubbock and used for commercial flights, military operations, and general aviation. Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport has three runways: 12R-35L, 17L-35R, and 8-26. Runway 17R-35L is 11,500 feet long and 150 feet wide with a cement concrete surface. Its weight limit is 100,000 lbs single wheel, 170,000 lbs dual wheel, and 350,000 lbs dual tandem wheel. Runway 17L-35L is 2,891 feet long and 75 feet wide with an asphalt surface. Its weight capacity is 12,500 lbs single wheel. Runway 8-26 is 8,001 feet long and 150 feet wide with a cement concrete surface. It accommodates up to 100,000 lbs single wheel, 170,000 lbs dual wheel, and 350,000 lbs dual tandem wheel. Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport is the eighth busiest airport in Texas. About 215 flights depart and arrive at the airport every day. About 134 aircraft are based at the airport, including 97 single engine airplanes, 27 multi-engine airplanes, 5 jet airplanes, and 5 helicopters.
Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport features a two-level passenger terminal. The main level of the terminal includes ticket counters for all airlines, baggage claims, security checkpoints, and access to all nine gates. The upper level of the terminal is home to administrative offices and special rooms. Wait times at the airport are very short, typically taking only ten minutes from entering the airport to get to the gate. Three parking facilities are available at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, a short-term area, a long-term area, and a covered parking garage.
History of Lubbock Preston Smith Airport
In 1929, Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport opened as Lubbock Municipal Airfield. Clent Breedlove, an aviation pioneer who was a former army aviator and test pilot, first managed it. Aviation grew at a consistent pace at the airport, until the beginning of World War II, and then it took off. In 1942, the airport was taken over by the U.S. government’s War Department and the name was changed to South Plains Army Airfield. The United States Army Air Forces then used the airport as a training airfield. It was also renamed to South Plains Army Airfield and underwent a fast period of construction to turn the civil airport into a military training facility. The construction included improved runways and airplane hangars. A variety of temporary base buildings were also erected. After the construction was completed, the base became South Plains Flying School to train glider pilots. After the war ended, the airport was turned over to the local government for civil use in 1945. In 1950, a new terminal was built to serve passengers and increase flights. In 1966, the first jet service began at the airport. A new passenger terminal was dedicated in 1976 and it underwent an expansion in 1986. In 2004, the airport was renamed to honor Preston E. Smith, a former Texas governor.