Westchester County Airport is a county-owned public-use airport in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located three nautical miles (6 km) northeast of the central business district of White Plains, in the towns of Harrison, North Castle and Rye Brook.
It serves the areas of Westchester, a northern suburb of New York City, as well as Fairfield County, Connecticut, as the New York-Connecticut state border coincides with the airport's eastern limits. It also serves the New York metropolitan area, as it is about 33 miles (53 km) north of Midtown Manhattan.
The Westchester County Airport currently has twelve commercial airlines flying to fifteen destinations around the United States and the Bahamas.
This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011 2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport. As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 904,482 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 964,927 enplanements in 2009, and 999,831 in 2010.
Westchester County Airport was built during World War II in 1942 as a home to an Air National Guard unit to protect New York City and Rye Lake, part of the city's water supply system. In May 1983, with the quick growth of the suburban area in Westchester, the Guard unit was moved to Stewart International Airport further to the north near Newburgh.
The first scheduled airline flights were American Airlines in late 1949; they had one weekday morning flight La Guardia to HPN to Syracuse and beyond, returning in the evening. Mohawk replaced American in 1955, it and successor Allegheny Airlines serving HPN until 1979. (The first scheduled jet flight was a Mohawk BAC 1-11 in 1965.) Before the passing of the Airline Deregulation Act the airport was served by several regional airlines, including Allegheny, Command Airways and Empire Airlines. Air Florida arrived in 1980 and United Airlines in 1983-84. On January 5, 2006, the airport was the point of departure for the last flight of Independence Air; a flight to Washington, D.C. at 7:26 pm.
The airport is presently served by seven commercial airlines. Former airlines include Independence Air and Continental Airlines.
AirTran began service at the airport in 2006. The airline operates Atlanta, Orlando and West Palm Beach. This service will end on August 12, 2012.
JetBlue began service at the airport in 2007. Today, JetBlue is the tied as the airport's largest air carrier with US Airways. It operates 12 daily round trips to six destinations: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach and Nassau, Bahamas using all Embraer 190 aircraft.
In June 2009 Cape Air add service to Westchester, with service to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Cape Air introduced service to Lebanon Municipal Airport in New Hampshire in early 2010. All Cape Air flights depart and arrive from the Signature Flight Support facility located south of the Main Terminal due to a lack of ticket counter space in the main terminal building.
In June 2010, Air Canada announced that it would be dropping service at the airport until service to the Bahamas started in 2011.
On November 18, 2010, American Airlines switched service to the airport from American Eagle to AmericanConnection, operated by Chautauqua Airlines, using its smaller ERJ-140 aircraft.
After several renovations, as well as discussions about the airport's viability, the airport is presently served by seven airlines to a range of fifteen destinations in the United States. Although there has always been some controversy about the airport and proposed expansions, more concerns have occurred recently as a result of passengers seeking relief from the long delays at the other New York airports. The most recent concerns have to do with flight paths and traffic congestion; the latter has been addressed by the County of Westchester with Bee-Line bus service to the airport and the encouragement of travelers to get rides to the airport.
The Westchester County Airport is fully committed to achieving excellence in environmental protection by integrating environmental values into all airport activities. This is accomplished through the AEMS, an ISO 14001 certified Airport Environmental Management System through which the airport s environmental performance is monitored; airport-wide environmental management practices are continually improved; and employees receive environmental training. The Westchester County Airport was, in 2004, the third airport in the U.S. to achieve this level of environmental performance.
Also, due to its location near a number of residential neighborhoods, Westchester County Airport instituted a Voluntary Restraint from Flying Program, sometimes referred to as a voluntary curfew, which has helped to ease some of the local concern of noise resulting from airport activity. In an effort to alleviate concerns over expansion and noise, planning studies are done on a regular basis.
In May 2011, NYSDOT released the "New York Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study," quantifying the level of economic activity that was attributable to the aviation sector for the year 2009 in the State of New York. The study noted that HPN was one of only three airports in the state that gained emplanements, performing better than the U.S. benchmark. The study also noted that the total economic impact of the airport was approximately $736 million.
The IATA code for Westchester County Airport is HPN. There is a small debate in the origins of this code. Many believe that it is derived from the name of the city, White Plains (IATA codes normally do not begin with W because those are reserved for radio signals). Others, however, believe that the IATA code represents the first letter of the three neighboring communities, Harrison, Purchase, and North Castle. The full ICAO code for Westchester County Airport is KHPN.
Facilities and aircraft
Westchester County Airport covers an area of 702 acres (284 ha) at an elevation of 439 feet (134 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 16/34 is 6,548 by 150 feet (1,996 x 46 m) and 11/29 is 4,451 by 150 feet (1,357 x 46 m). Runway 29's threshold is displaced 1,297 feet (395 m) due to trees obstructing the approach path. The trees (in Connecticut) are 37 ft (11 m) tall and 370 ft (113 m) from the end of the runway.
Westchester County Airport has several fixed-base operators (FBOs), including Avitat, Signature Flight Support, Landmark, NetJets, Panorama, and Million Air. Although varied in services offered, the FBOs at Westchester County Airport provide Jet A and 100LL fueling services, repairs and maintenance, aircraft tiedowns, de-icing, United States Customs, and other aircraft services. Some of the FBOs are particularly luxurious, providing limousine transportation services and deluxe surroundings.
There are two nationally-recognized flight schools at the Westchester County Airport. Performance Flight operates out of the Million Air at Hangar M, while Panorama Flight School operates out of the Panorama Flight Services at Hangar T. Additionally, the Westchester Flying Club, a private organization of pilots, is based at the airport as well as the Westchester Aviation Association, a not-for-profit organization which promotes aviation education and understanding on the part of government authorities and the public.
Westchester County Airport is also the current home of the New York Wing of the United States Civil Air Patrol, as well as the Southeastern Group of the New York Wing. Both are housed in the same building as the Airport Precinct of the Westchester County Police. These facilities were partially remodeled to accommodate the recent arrival of the New York Wing.
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2010, the airport had 191,017 total aircraft operations, an average of 523 per day: 23% commercial aviation, 48% heavy general aviation, and 29% light general aviation. In 2010 there were 310 based- aircraft out of this airport.
The waiting room at the terminal at the airport
Westchester County Airport has one relatively small three-level terminal with six gate spaces, of which only four may be used because only four aircraft may be scheduled to use the Terminal Ramp at any time. Gates C and F are the only gates that have jetways. The terminal also has one luggage carousel, one baggage reclaim office and two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening lanes. JetBlue avoids delays by using stairs when jetways are not available.
On the second level of the terminal there is a coffee shop, a bar and a restaurant with taxiway and runway views. On the third floor there is an outside observation deck allowing passengers to view aircraft on the runways and taxiways. An ATM is located on the second floor of the terminal and there is a small convenience shop on the first floor. The coffee shop, bar and restaurant are all located outside of the TSA checkpoint. There is, however, a small snack stand located within the TSA secured departure lounge.
Airlines and non-stop destinations
The following airlines offer scheduled passenger service at this airport:
Top 10 domestic destinations (February 2011 - January 2012)
||West Palm Beach, Florida
||Fort Lauderdale, Florida
||Fort Myers, Florida
Arlington, Virginia / Washington, D.C.
||Charlotte, North Carolina