Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Comparatively, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is small. It is operated by the counties of Lackawanna and Luzerne in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The combined population is 535,088. But this aviation facility located in Pittston Township has a new look, numerous amenities, and rave reviews.
In 2006, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport got a makeover. The new airport, a $41.5 million structure, has a modern architectural feel made of steel, stone, and expansive glass. It replaces the terminal next to it that had a 47-year-old history including the landing of Air Force One, and three Presidents — Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
The Joseph M. McDade Terminal Building gets its name from a former lawyer and U.S. House Representative who played a key role in securing federal funding for the project. The new building measures 131,000 square feet and is 70 percent larger. Additionally, new roads, a surface parking lot, and a four-level parking garage were completed in 2003. The total cost for the entire renovation including the building and surrounding developments was $80 million.
This hub no longer flies cargo to and from Canada but it still has a Customs office. The airport handles 360,000 or more departing passengers each year. Passenger enplanements for the month of December 2011 increased 5.1 percent to 17,890 from 17,017 in the month of December 2010. The airport’s income for 2011 was $522,573.
Safety is of utmost importance both inside and outside of the airport. In December 2011, seven flights were cancelled due to mechanical problems and 18 flights were cancelled due to air traffic/weather. A state-of-the-art security video recording system was added recently. Passengers rave about the brevity of the security checkpoint. The process takes minutes not hours. The terminal layout is easy to navigate. Currently, they have 5 – 6 gates.
Transportation & Parking
Passengers may rent cars from the first level of the Terminal Building. Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National are located near the Baggage Claim area. In November 2011, National Car Rental provided 2,700 square feet or 15 additional car parking spaces to park ready/return vehicles. However, the total of new spaces available are 125 – 130. Passengers may choose the convenience of a 24-hour limousine service from Best Value.
Parking and car rental are areas of service that consistently receive high customer satisfaction. Based on availability, convenient payment options like the Pay on Foot Stations, pricing and physical proximity, passengers give it a 4.4 rating.
The amenities of the airport are family friendly. They include lounges and seating areas, children’s play area, public telephones, and ATM machines. The location of the baggage claim and luggage handling also received excellent marks. The airport is accessible to persons with disabilities. Overall, passengers report that it is relatively quiet, clean, and comfortable.
Business travelers will enjoy the Pocono Club and Business Center. The private accommodations offer free wifi and meeting facilities. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The staff of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport has shown a commitment to its community. Artwork featuring local artists and partnerships with area businesses are common practices. They educate students about the airport’s history by providing tours of the facility for children in grades K-12.
The airport and initiatives directly affecting it are underway. New projects for 2011 and 2012 include the Hangar Road extension and the New South General Aviation Apron. The Hangar Road project costs $150,000 was allocated to repair and extend the pavement. The Aviation Apron costs about $5.2 million and entailed the construction of a 300-foot taxi-lane.