Tucson International Airport
History of the Airport
Airport operations have been occurring in Tucson since 1919 when the city opened the first municipal airport in the country. The airport that eventually became the Tucson International Airport was originally located closer to the downtown part of the city. Commercial air service began in 1928, while airmail service was started two years later, in 1930. During the time of World War II, the airfield was used extensively by the United States Air Force. Notably, the Air Force used the site as a training facility for pilots. This practice ceased in 1944. In 1948, the airport was finally moved to its current location in the so-called South Tucson region. At this time, the Tucson Airport Authority was also created in order operate the airport. The facility was given its current name in 1963 after a new terminal was built and an international inspection station was implemented. The most significant improvements to the facility happened in 1985 when a major remodeling project increased the size of the terminal. Prior to the remodeling project, the terminal occupied 150,000 square feet. After the project was completed, the terminal had grown to a size of 300,000 square feet.
Tucson International Airport uses three different runways for its operations. The airport’s longest runway is more than two miles long at 10,996 feet. This particular runway is oriented at a direction of 11L/29R. The second longest runway is 8,408 feet long, and it is oriented at a direction of 11R/29L, which is the opposite direction of the airport’s main runway. The third runway is 7,000 feet long, and it is oriented in a direction of 3/21. All three of the facility’s runways use asphalt as a paving surface. Runways 11L/29R and 3/21 are each 150 feet wide, while runway 11R/29L is 75 feet wide. Runway 11L/29R is the only runway at the airport to be equipped with Instrument Landing System, or ILS, technology. Runway 11L/29R is the preferred runway at Tucson International Airport because it features ILS capabilities, but it is also favored because of its length, as well as the prominence of headwinds.
Tucson International Airport is served by a single terminal that handles all passenger traffic. The terminal is split into two concourses. Concourse A features nine gates, which are marked A1 through A9. Concourse B has 11 gates, which are marked B1 through B11. All international traffic is handled by the main terminal, although Customs and Immigration offices are located nearby in a separate building. Most international flights to and from the airport are handled through general aviation services instead of commercial carriers, however.
Passengers using Tucson International Airport will notice that the facility is also home to military aircraft and operations. Most notably, the Tucson National Guard has a base on the property. This base occupies 92 acres on the northwest corner of the airport property.
The most recent passenger statistics for Tucson International Airport come from 2010. During this calendar year, the airport processed a total of 164,743 aircraft operations. The airport also handled 1,870,838 enplanements and 1,869,837 deplanements during 2010. This represented a 2.84 percent increase over the previous year.
Parking at the Tucson Airport
Tucson International Airport offers a number of parking options. A secure garage facility contains 605 spaces that can be used for hourly or daily parking. A separate hourly lot contains an additional 4476 spaces, while a daily lot features 918 spaces. Economy parking is also available nearby. There are 5,342 uncovered economy spaces available, and an additional 303 covered spaces. The airport also features a cell phone waiting area for motorists arriving at the facility to pick up passengers.