T. F. Green International Airport
Theodore Francis Green
Memorial State Airport
|Owner||State of Rhode Island|
|Operator||Rhode Island Airport Corporation|
|Location||2000 Post Road|
Warwick, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Elevation AMSL||55 ft / 17 m|
T. F. Green International Airport (officially Theodore Francis Green Memorial State Airport) (IATA: PVD, ICAO: KPVD, FAA LID: PVD) is a public international airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, United States, six miles (9.7 km) south of the state's capital and largest city of Providence. Opened in 1931, the airport was named for former Rhode Island governor and longtime senator Theodore Francis Green. Rebuilt in 1996, the renovated main terminal was named for former Rhode Island governor Bruce Sundlun. It was the first state-owned airport in the United States.
T. F. Green Airport is a regional airport serving the FAA's New England Region in the FAA System Plan. The airport is the largest and most active airport among the six operated by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC).
T. F. Green Airport was dedicated on September 27, 1931, as Hillsgrove State Airport, drawing what was at that time the largest crowd that had attended a public function in the country. In 1933, the Rhode Island State Airport Terminal was built on Airport Road, then called Occupasstuxet Road. In 1938, the airport was renamed in honor of Green, who had just been elected to the Senate two years earlier. At the time it had three 3,000-foot concrete runways. The Army Air Force took control from 1942 to 1945, using it for flight training. The February 1947 diagram shows runways 5, 10 and 16 all 4,000 feet long; in April 1951 runway 5 was 5,000 feet and 5R was under construction. A few years later 5R was 5,466 feet, which it remained until extended to 6,466 feet around 1967.
The April 1957 OAG shows 26 weekday departures: 11 Eastern, 10 American, four United and one National. Nonstops did not reach beyond Boston and Newark until 1959 when Eastern started a DC-7B nonstop to Washington, which was the longest until United started Cleveland in 1968 and Chicago in 1970 and Eastern started Miami in 1969 and Atlanta in 1970. The first jets were Mohawk BAC-111s in 1966.
President Richard Nixon made a campaign stop at the airport on the night of Friday, November 3, 1972. A crowd of 10,000 watched as Nixon, standing on the steps of Air Force One, urged voters to support Republican candidates Herbert F. DeSimone for Governor and John Chafee for U.S. Senator. (Both lost, though Chafee later won the office in 1976.) Air Force One again touched down at T. F. Green on August 30, 1975, this time carrying President Gerald Ford, en route to a fundraiser in Newport. He was greeted by a crowd of about 1,500 supporters, as well as local politicians including Governor Philip W. Noel, Senator John O. Pastore, and Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci.
To enhance itself as the lone airport for a metro area of over 1.6 million people, a new terminal was built on Post Road in 1964, replacing the old 1933 terminal along Airport Road. In 1996 this terminal was replaced, expanding to 18 gates, and adding a lower arrival level and an upper departure level. In 1997 four gates were added. Airlines added flights to T. F. Green Airport, including Air Canada, Southwest, SATA International (which operated flights to the Azores using an A310-300), and Spirit Airlines.
After the September 11 attacks, T. F. Green Airport, like most airports in the United States, faced a temporarily decrease in passengers and fewer flights from American Airlines (which once flew to Chicago O'Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport), Spirit, and SATA. Until the 2015 finalization of the merger between American Airlines and US Airways, creating one single licensed carrier under the American Airlines name, the Providence metropolitan area was the largest MSA in the United States not served by American Airlines or any of its subsidiaries. The decrease in service was especially severe to Chicago O'Hare as between both United and American decreased the number of one way daily seats from nearly a combined 1,400 to today's 225 daily one way seats. Nine flights of 727, 735, 757 and MD-80 service to today's regional jet use. Since the HNTB-designed Bruce Sundlun Terminal opened in 1996, T. F. Green became more congested due to increased traffic and post-9/11 security changes. Renovations followed, including expansion of baggage rooms to accommodate a new In-Line Explosive Detection System (EDS) Baggage Handling System, expanded security screening checkpoints, more concessions and ticket counters, and expansion of RIAC offices on the second and third floors.
Traffic increased to a high of 5.7 million passengers in 2005, while at the same time Boston Logan was handling 25 million passengers. After 2005 airlines started consolidating service at larger airports withdrawing service and reducing frequencies at mid sized hubs and small sized hubs. Airports such as T. F. Green, Jacksonville, Bradley, etc. were affected. The recession and Boston Logan's proximity to the Providence metro area also took its toll on T. F. Green as numbers decreased to 3.5 million in 2015. In 2017 numbers have grown just shy of 4 million passenger. With the addition of Amazon Air, which includes its own Prime Jets plus DHL and Atlas Air Jets, cargo numbers have increased to nearly 44 million pounds. This will increase with a full year of service from Amazon Air. Amazon moved their cargo service from T. F. Green to Bradley International Airport as of August 1, 2018.
In 2017 the airport had 74,561 aircraft operations, average 204 per day: 50% scheduled commercial, 14% air taxi, 35% general aviation and <1% military. 33 aircraft were then based at this airport: 55% single-engine, 9% multi-engine, 30% jet and 6% helicopter. In 2017 T. F. Green handled about 3,937,000 passengers. The mainline airline with the largest presence at T. F. Green is Southwest, which carried 45.07% of all passengers in 2017, followed by American with 13.65%. T. F. Green also handled over 43,500,000 pounds (19,700,000 kg) of cargo and mail in 2017.
T. F. Green was again visited by Air Force One, a Boeing 747, on October 25, 2010, a Concorde operated by British Airways on June 13, 1988, and an Airbus A340 flown by Iberia Airlines on June 1, 2011, which transported the Men's Spanish national soccer team for their match against the U.S. National Team on June 4, 2011, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. T. F. Green was visited by Air Force One again on October 31, 2014, carrying President Barack Obama.
From 1998 until 2013, T. F. Green had regular service to Toronto Pearson International Airport first via Air Jazz and then by Air Georgian after 9/11, both did business as express carriers for Air Canada. In the early '90s Leisure Air provided twice weekly seasonal service to Bermuda. Charters such as North American Air and Buffalo Air handled scheduled charter service to the Azores from the mid-'80s to the early '90s. SATA International, now known as Azores Airlines, has recently resumed seasonal service to the Azores, having previously offered service until 2010. In 2015, service was announced to Frankfurt, Germany by Condor and Praia, in the Cape Verde islands, by TACV. The Condor service to Frankfurt marked the first non-stop route to mainland Europe from Providence; however, the flight was later suspended for unspecified reasons. February 6, 2017, USA Today announced that Norwegian Air had selected Providence's T. F. Green Airport as its base for flights to Europe. Norwegian Air Shuttle operated from Providence using new Boeing 737 MAX planes for its service to cities in Western Europe, however as of now the service is cut due to the groundings of the aircraft related to its MCAS system, which is pending a fix. The official announcements were made February 23, 2017, with flights starting to Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh and Shannon. These routes were gradually dropped due to poor load factors, and the Boeing 737 MAX grounding. Norwegian's last flight from Providence operated on September 15th 2019
On October 1, 2017, T. F. Green's runway 5/23 was officially opened for use at its new expanded length of 8,700 feet. Planning on the project began in the 1990s, and work on the expansion began in 2013. The project included building additional safety measures in the event of airplane overruns, removal of nearby utility poles and trees to clear approach lanes, and moving an entire city park from one side of the airport to the other. Officials are hopeful that the longer runway will attract more longer-range nonstop flights, such as the international routes that Norwegian Air began flying in 2017, as well as enhance safety for short-distance flights, giving pilots more runway to use in the case of poor weather conditions. The runway expansion was desired because, as the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) wrote in 2001, the master plan completed in 1997 failed to envision the "tremendous growth" that T. F. Green experienced. The report identified the lack of runway length as a hindrance to "range and diversity of service", in particular emphasizing ability to reach non-hub cities, the west coast, and international locations. Challenges for T. F. Green in expanding the runway were the residential and commercial developments around it. Many residents opposed the expansion.
In February 2018, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation formally petitioned the state legislature to change the name of T. F. Green Airport to Rhode Island International Airport. The RIAC believes the name change both reflects the airport's recent international flight presence and better describes the location it serves.
The airport's terminal, named for former Rhode Island governor Bruce Sundlun (Sundlun died on July 21, 2011) has two concourses, North and South. The South Concourse has eight gates and the North Concourse has 14. Gates seven and eight are designed for international arrivals and are directly connected to customs, which is on the lower level of the concourse. The terminal contains a number of stores and restaurants, and a central food court.
Theodore Francis Green State Airport covers 1,111 acres (450 ha) at an elevation of 55 feet (17 m). It has two asphalt runways: 5/23 is 8,700 by 150 feet (2,652 × 46 m) and 16/34 is 6,081 by 150 feet (1,853 × 46 m). ILS is available for runways 5, 23, and 34, with runway 5 being certified for CAT III Instrument Landing. The other runways with ILS are certified for CAT I. Taxiway Victor was Runway 5L/23R until 2003.
The MBTA Commuter Rail service to and from downtown Providence and Boston commenced on December 6, 2010, and was expanded on November 14, 2011. Service was expanded south to Wickford Junction in April 2012. There are ten weekday trains to Wickford Junction and ten to Providence, most of which continue on to Boston with local stops along the way. Travel time to South Station in Boston is about 85 minutes, while the travel times to both Providence and to Wickford Junction are about 15 minutes. Amtrak does not stop at the station; however, a long-term proposal to reroute and modernize Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service would include a stop at the station.
T. F. Green Airport has direct access to I-95 via the T. F. Green Airport Connector Road, a 1.1-mile (1.8 km) freeway. The airport is served by major car rental companies as well as by local taxi and limousine services.
|Air Canada Express||Seasonal: Toronto–Pearson|||
|Allegiant Air|| Cincinnati, Punta Gorda (FL)|
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Philadelphia|||
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Philadelphia, Washington–National|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Detroit|||
|Delta Connection||Seasonal: Detroit|||
|Frontier Airlines|| Orlando |
Seasonal: Charlotte, Denver, Fort Myers, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa
|JetBlue||Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach|||
|Southwest Airlines|| Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Washington–National|
Seasonal: Fort Myers, West Palm Beach
|Sun Country Airlines||Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul|||
|Southern Airways Express||Seasonal: Nantucket|||
|United Express||Chicago–O'Hare, Newark, Washington–Dulles|||
|1||Orlando, Florida||275,000||Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest|
|3||Charlotte, North Carolina||223,000||American, Frontier|
|4||Washington–National, D.C.||177,000||American, Southwest|
|6||Atlanta, Georgia||132,000||Delta, Frontier|
|8||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||109,000||JetBlue, Southwest|
|10||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||88,000||American, United|
On December 6, 1999, at approximately 8:35pm Eastern Standard Time, a runway incursion occurred involving United Airlines flight 1448 (a Boeing 757) and FedEx Express flight 1662 (a Boeing 727) on Runway 5R/23L. Shortly after landing on Runway 5R, United 1448 was instructed by the air traffic control tower to taxi to the gate, part of the instructions including crossing Runway 16. Due to the low-visibility conditions that night, the pilots became disoriented and turned down the wrong taxiway, which led them back towards the active runway they had just arrived on. The tower controller, unaware of United's mistake, cleared FedEx 1662 for takeoff on Runway 5R. United 1448 then confirmed with the controller that they should cross the runway in front of them (neither party aware that they were in fact not near Runway 16) and the aircraft continued moving towards Runway 5R/23L.
United 1448, sounding confused, then radioed that they were near taxiway Kilo, and as they re-entered Runway 5R/23L, reported that "somebody just took off" overhead, referring to FedEx 1662 that had indeed just become airborne in very close proximity to the United aircraft. However, the controller appeared not to take this seriously, stating, "you shouldn't be anywhere near Kilo", and advised the United 1448 crew to hold position. United 1448 informed the tower that they were now on an active runway, which they mistakenly believed to be 23R/5L (inactive at the time). A moment later the pilot corrected himself, stating that they were on 5R/23L. United 1448's crew was told again to stand by, so the aircraft remained idle at the intersection of the active runway, while the controller cleared MetroJet 2998 for takeoff on the same runway. The United 1448 pilot immediately interjected to insist that the plane was on the active runway, which the controller belligerently denied, saying it was not an active runway. Meanwhile, the MetroJet pilot, having heard the exchange, realized there was confusion over the whereabouts of United 1448 and refused the takeoff clearance, stating, "We're staying clear of all runways until we figure this out."
Despite all this confusion, the controller again cleared MetroJet 2998 for take off on Runway 5R. They again refused to accept the clearance for take-off until the United 1448 was confirmed to have arrived at the gate. Once United 1448 was confirmed to be at the gate, MetroJet 2998 finally departed on Runway 5R.
The US Airways crew operating Flight 2998 were praised by a US Air spokesperson for their actions of avoiding a near-disaster. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board followed and while no fault was assigned to the controller, she was required to undergo retraining before returning to service. The pilots were debriefed by United, received additional training and were returned to service.
Part of the confusion was due to United 1448's inability to correctly identify the runway they were on. During the radio exchanges, United 1448 refers to 23L/5R as 23R/5L and vice versa. Runway 23R/5L has been closed since this incident and is now taxiway V.
On December 16, 2007, Air Wisconsin (US Airways Express) flight 3758, a CRJ-200 arriving from Philadelphia, departed the left side of runway 5 after a hard landing by an unstabilized approach. Although the aircraft sustained substantial damage, none of the 31 passengers and crew aboard were injured.
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