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Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport | Wikipedia audio article

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport | Wikipedia audio article

Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport
(IATA: BHM, ICAO: KBHM, FAA LID: BHM), formerly Birmingham Municipal Airport and later Birmingham
International Airport, is a joint civil-military airport serving the city of Birmingham, Alabama
and its metropolitan area, including Tuscaloosa, in the United States. It is located in Jefferson County, five miles
northeast of downtown Birmingham, near the interchange of Interstates 20 and 59. BHM averages 301 aircraft operations a day,
including 136 flights to 43 airports in 40 cities. BHM served 2,695,399 passengers in 2015, and
is the largest and busiest airport in the state of Alabama by passenger volume.The airfield
can handle all aircraft types. The main runway is 12,007 feet (3,660 m) long. The secondary runway is 7,099 feet (2,164
m) long. A Category II ILS allows operations in visibility
as low as a quarter-mile. The airport was renamed in July 2008 after
Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, founding president of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human
Rights and a leader of the Birmingham campaign during the Civil Rights Movement. The Southern Museum of Flight currently operates
on Airport Authority property, to the east side of the north–south runway. There are plans for it to relocate to a new
site near the Barber Motorsports Park.==History==Commercial air service to Birmingham began
in 1928 by St. Tammy and Gulf Coast Airways, at Roberts Field on the west side of Birmingham
on a route from Atlanta, Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana. Delta Air Service began service to Birmingham
in late 1929 with six seat Travel Air airplanes along a route from Love Field in Dallas, Texas
to Birmingham. When American Airways (now American Airlines)
began their Atlanta, Georgia to Fort Worth, Texas route, Birmingham was not included because
their Ford Tri-Motors could not land at Roberts Field. So Birmingham began construction of what is
now Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport.The airport opened on May 31, 1931
with a two-story, white, Georgian style terminal and a single east–west runway. The terminal was just east of the later 1962
and 1971 terminal complexes. No remains of the 1931 terminal or landscaping
are visible. With the addition of American Airlines in
1931 and Eastern Airlines in 1934, air traffic increased enough to warrant a second runway.World
War II saw the airport leased to the United States Army Air Forces for $1 a year to support
national defense. Birmingham Army Airfield was a section assigned
to the Third Air Force as a fighter base, operated by the 310th Army Air Force Base
Unit. The Army Air Force considerably improved the
airport with land acquisitions, paving of additional taxiways, and construction of a
control tower and an aircraft modification center south of the terminal (this is now
operated by Pemco).After the airport returned to city control in August 1948 Southern Airways
began service. By March 1951 four runways were in use, Runways
5/23 (now designated 6/24) and 18/36, and runways at about 45/225 degrees north of Runway
5/23 and 85/265 degrees mostly south of Runway 5/23. Runway lengths were about 4,000 feet (1,200
m) to 5,500 feet (1,700 m). The runway at 45/225 degrees is now largely
removed, though a paved portion remains crossing taxiway F near the Alabama Air National Guard
facilities, used for airport equipment and helicopter landing/parking. The runway at 85/265 is also mostly removed,
with remaining segments making up taxiway A5 and a portion of taxiway F east of Runway
18/36.1954 and 1969 airport diagrams By 1959 Runway 5/23 was 10,000 feet (3,000
m) and service was started to Birmingham by Capital Airlines with British-made Vickers
Viscounts. The first scheduled jets were Delta Convair
880s in October 1961, flying ATL-BHM-MSY-LAX and back. (Birmingham then had nonstops to Newark and
Washington, but no other nonstops beyond Charlotte, Memphis and New Orleans, and no nonstops to
Florida.) By the late 1960s Douglas DC-8, Douglas DC-9,
Convair 880 and Boeing 727s were all scheduled to BHM. During the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, pilots
and crews from the Alabama Air National Guard’s 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Birmingham
were selected to train Cuban exile fliers in Nicaragua to fly the Douglas B-26 Invader
in the close air support role. Although the 117th was flying the RF-84F Thunderflash,
it had only recently retired its RB-26C Invaders, the last squadron in the Air Force to do so;
thus the 117th was seen as the logical choice for the CIA’s secret mission. Seven of the volunteer aviators participated
combat operations during the final day of the invasion, on August 19, 1961. Birmingham natives Leo Baker, Wade Gray, Riley
Shamburger, and Thomas “Pete” Ray were killed when their (two) aircraft were shot down. While American involvement had been suspected
since before the invasion even began, Pete Ray’s frozen body was kept as concrete proof
of U.S. support. Continued growth in passenger traffic by 1962
resulted in the construction of a second passenger terminal and a new air traffic control tower,
built west of the original 1931 terminal. This was dedicated on February 11, 1962 as
the Birmingham Air Terminal. Charles H. McCauley Associates was the supervising
architect and Radar & Associates was the designing architect. It consisted of a single story building of
repeated bays with steeply pitched roofs, which flanked a wider, higher center bay at
the south end of the building for ticketing. A long, flat roofed northern section comprised
the ground-level aircraft gates. The south portion remains today for various
airport support functions. In 1973 the current semi-circular terminal
was completed west of the 1962 terminal and air traffic control tower. It had 15 aircraft gates and a 1,600 space
parking deck. Allegheny Airlines (later US Airways) began
service from Birmingham to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the late 1970s. Deregulation of the airline industry saw airlines
such as Comair, Florida Express, People Express, Air New Orleans, L’Express Airlines, and most
importantly Southwest Airlines enter the Birmingham market. With the introduction of flights to Canada
and Mexico, the official name of the airport was changed to Birmingham International Airport
on October 20, 1993. Also in 1993, the airport marked the completion
of a $50.4m terminal renovation.In the early 1990s Runway 18/36 was extended to 7,100 feet,
allowing use by airline jets. By the early 2000s Birmingham had constructed
a new 211 feet (64 m) tall control tower and completed improvements to the air cargo areas,
including a new facility at the far west end. The 1960s blue air traffic control tower was
demolished in 2001. In 2006 Birmingham International Airport celebrated
its 75th year. In July 2007 an 2,000-foot (610 m) eastward
extension to Runway 6/24 was completed. Now 12,007 feet (3,660 m) in length, Runway
6/24 allows a fully loaded Boeing 747 to land or take off.On June 23, 2008 Birmingham city
mayor Larry Langford announced his proposal to rename the airport as the Fred L. Shuttlesworth
International Airport, in honor of civil rights activist Fred Shuttlesworth. On July 16, 2008, Mayor Langford and the Birmingham
Airport Authority voted to change the name of the airport from the Birmingham International
Airport to the Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport after the former civil
rights activist. The name change cost about $300,000. The FAA approved the name change and signage
of the airport took place on April 3, 2009. In 2011, The Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International
Airport broke ground on a bold new Terminal Modernization Project. Three years later, the completed project provided
a beautiful new terminal that nearly doubled the airport’s footprint, but with minimal
impact on their community and environment.==Facilities and aircraft==
Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport covers 2,000 acres (809 ha) at an elevation
of 650 feet (198 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 6/24 is 12,007
by 150 feet (3,660 x 46 m) and 18/36 is 7,099 by 150 feet (2,164 x 46 m).Atlantic Aviation
operates two general aviation fixed-base operator facilities, and there are numerous corporate
hangars north of Runway 6/24 and east of Runway 18/36. AirMed International, a fixed-wing air ambulance
company, operates its main hub from here. There is a large, full service aircraft modification
and maintenance facility on the south side of the airport. It was originally built during World War II,
but was subsequently expanded. While little work is now performed at the
complex, the facility sits on approximately 180 acres of land and has 1.7 million square
feet under its roof. It has 10 aircraft pull-through bays with
space under the roof for 54 737 sized narrow-body aircraft. In 2014 the airport had 94,534 aircraft operations,
an average of 259 movements per day. Itinerant aircraft movements broke down as
follows: 41% general aviation, 26% scheduled commercial, 26% air taxi, and 6% military. A total of 242 aircraft were then based at
this airport.===Commercial aircraft===In September 2014 typical commercial passenger
traffic included Airbus A319/A320s, Boeing 737s, Embraer 170s, MD-80s, Boeing 717s, CRJ
900s, CRJ700s, CRJ 200s, and Embraer 145s models on about 128 take offs or landings
daily. The dominant mainline aircraft was the Boeing
737 due to Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines service. Delta also uses the Airbus A319/A320 and MD-88
on its mainline flights. American Eagle (Republic Airlines) and Delta
Connection (Compass Airlines) uses the Embraer 170. The CRJ700/900 family was the most common
regional aircraft, being used by American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express. The Canadair Regional Jets and ERJ 145 shared
the second spot for regional jets, being utilized by the airlines above as well as American
Eagle. Southern Airways Express operates on demand
charter flights to select cities on the Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft (the only scheduled passenger
service to BHM on turbo-prop aircraft). Mountain Air Cargo also operates daily flights
to Memphis using the ATR-72 twin-turboprop aircraft on behalf of FedEx Express. FedEx operates their Boeing 757-200 as well
as the Airbus A300-600; while UPS uses their Boeing 767-300F (seasonal), these are the
only wide body aircraft to routinely use the airport. Numerous other aircraft are used for frequent
charter flights. Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport
is also a primary diversion airport for both Memphis International Airport and Atlanta
Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport due to its 12,007 ft runway, which frequently
brings brief but unique visitors.===Military aircraft===
Birmingham Air National Guard Base is also located at the airport. It covers of approximately 147 acres and essential
facilities to support the mission of the 117th Air Refueling Wing (117 ARW), an Alabama Air
National Guard unit operationally-gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC), and its KC-135
Stratotanker aircraft.The 117 ARW occupies 101 facilities including offices, mission
support structures, maintenance hangars, a petroleum/oil/lubricants (POL) storage and
refueling station, a joint Army and Air Force evacuation hospital, as well as 24/7 Security
Forces, Fire Response, Base Defense Operations Center, and Base Command Post. The 117 ARW has nine KC-135R Stratotankers
allotted among two squadrons the 106Th Air Refueling Squadron (ANG), and the 99Th Air
Refueling Squadron (USAF). The current complement of personnel is over
300 full-time personnel, including military and civilian employees. This expands to over 1,300 personnel for Unit
Training Assembly (UTA) weekends and during activation. The Alabama Army National Guard (AL ARNG)
and U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) also have facilities and units co-located on the base. Alabama Army Aviation Support Facility #2
provides aircraft hangar and maintenance facilities for companies of the 1st Battalion, 169th
Aviation Regiment which operate CH-47D Chinook and UH-72A Lakota aircraft. The Armed Forces Reserve Center Buildings
1&2 provide facilities for the 109th Evacuation Hospital, 20th Special Forces Group (1st Battalion),
and a Detachment of the 450th Military Police Company (USAR). The (AL ARNG) Field Maintenance Shop #11(FMS-11)
facility is also located on base.==Terminal and concourses==BHM currently has one new terminal building
with three new concourses, which opened on March 13, 2013 (Concourses A, B) and on August
14, 2014 (Concourse C). The landside terminal (the area before the
security threshold) has two levels. The upper level has ticketing and check-in
facilities, a business center, and a large function room. The lower level has baggage claim facilities,
airline baggage offices, airport operations offices, and meeting rooms available for use. The airport also has its own police force
with offices on the lower level of the terminal. There are vending machines and ATMs located
throughout both levels, pre-security. Terminal A referred to the former 1962 terminal,
which was still in use as office space until it was closed in 2011. The former Concourse B was closed in June
2011 and demolished alongside Terminal A for the first phase of the terminal modernization
project to make way for two new concourses, A and B, which opened on March 13, 2013. Concourse C was closed in March 13, 2013 upon
completion of Concourses A and B. Concourse C was not demolished, but was completely gutted
and structurally modified, removing the rotunda at the end of the old concourse and changing
the structure to make a rectangle shape with the same width from end to end. It then underwent an intensive remodel covering
all aspects of the concourse, culminating in the opening of the concourse to flights
on August 14, 2014. There is a rental car facility located in
an annex on the ground floor of the parking deck. Eight rental car companies are housed within
this facility. The airport offers a parking deck with over
5000 spaces available for hourly and daily parking. A remote lot is available for long term parking,
with over 700 spaces. A shuttle runs between the terminal and the
remote lot continuously throughout the day. There is also a free cell phone waiting lot
with a digital flight display for people waiting on arriving passengers. Beginning in December 2015, Birmingham-Jefferson
County Transit Authority introduced two new express Airport Shuttle routes from downtown
Birmingham hotels directly to the terminal. The shuttle routes operate hourly on Mondays
through Saturdays and the fare is $5.00.===Concourses===
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Concourses A and B took place on February 26, 2013. The new terminal officially opened for business
on March 13, 2013. The new Concourse C was completed along with
the second half of the main terminal building and baggage claim upon the completion of the
second and final phase of the terminal modernization project. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Concourse
C and phase 2 completion was held on August 11, 2014, and Concourse C officially opened
for arriving and departing flights on August 14, 2014.Concourse A, which opened on March
13, 2013, consists of 8 gates: A1-A8. It is used by Delta and Frontier. It also contains US Customs and Immigration
facilities capable of processing arriving international aircraft. For international arrivals, a partition is
closed, forcing deplaning passengers through a glass corridor wherein they can see the
interior of the main concourse, but cannot exit the corridor. The corridor leads down a special set of escalators
into the US customs an immigration facility located below the main level. After being processed, passengers proceed
through one-way doors into the main arrival hall. Concourse B, which opened on March 13, 2013,
consists of 5 gates: B1-B5. It is used by American. Concourse C, which opened on August 14, 2014,
consists of 6 gates: C1-C6. It is used by Southwest and United. Former concourse B consisted of 6 gates, B1-B6. Prior to its closure and demolition, Concourse
B was used by Northwest/Northwest Airlink, American/American Eagle, Continental/Continental
Express, and US Airways Express. Northwest moved to Concourse C in May 2009
and was merged into Delta a year later. American Airlines moved to Concourse C on
June 10, 2011; while US Airways and Continental moved to Concourse C on June 24, 2011. Concourse B was then closed and demolished
in August 2011 to make way for the construction for future concourses A and B.Former Concourse
C consisted of 13 gates, C1-C14. It was the only concourse at the airport in
operation and in use during the first phase of the terminal modernization project. Therefore, all commercial and charter services
used this concourse. Concourse C was then closed when the new concourses
A and B opened on March 13, 2013.===Architecture===
The 1974 terminal was built in the International style of architecture popular for American
commercial and institutional buildings from the 1950s through the late 1970s. It consists of a single curved terminal with
concourses radiating outward. Large floor to ceiling plate glass windows
form curtain walls on the departure level of the terminal with horizontal bands of repetitive
white architectural panels above and below. A slight departure from typical International
style, the upper band of panels was decorated with raised circles of four sizes, two circles
per size per panel. The roof is flat over the terminal and concourses;
a series of steel columns painted white with stay cables for the terminal awning project
from the roof. An enclosed white-clad Observation Deck jutted
out from the airside terminal face at a sharp angle between the old concourses B and C.
On the airside of the terminal, a large horizontal white sign with teal lettering identified
the city as Birmingham. Externally, Concourse C and Concourse B before
their reconstruction were radically different than the terminal structure, consisting of
straight radial spokes clad with white panels. Concourse C included a circular end which
invokes the appearance of the terminal, whereas Concourse B terminated at a flat wall. The concourse walls had relatively few windows,
typically at waiting and dining areas. The presence of multiple shops, restrooms
and service areas reduced the need for windows in the concourses. Jetways were used for the majority of the
gates and aircraft, though Delta Connection and United Express used stairs leading to
the tarmac to board flights on regional jets (currently all flights at the new concourses
use jetways). Passenger gates and services are located on
the second floor with airside baggage handling and aircraft servicing on the ground level. The interior of the terminal was renovated
in the early 1990s and completed in 1993 at a cost of $50.4 million which included new
floor surfaces, lighting, wall coverings, renovated public spaces, and public art. The flooring was a mixture of carpet and large
tiles, with tile primarily in the heavily used terminal spaces, dining areas, and restrooms. Numerous planters were positioned in hallways. The new terminal and concourses completed
in the 2010s terminal modernization feature open spaces and clean lines. There is abundant natural light from floor
to ceiling windows and large skylights. Neutral colors accented with soft blue and
chrome are found throughout the terminal.===Terminal expansion and modernization===
In 2014, the airport completed a $201.6 million terminal renovation project. This project included a major renovation and
upgrade to the airport’s existing Concourse C, which was dismantled down to its structural
components and rebuilt. Concourse B was completely demolished and
new concourses A and B were built. All three concourses are now linked, allowing
passengers to walk from Concourse A, through to Concourse C without exiting the secure
area. The main terminal containing the ticketing
and baggage claim areas has been completely gutted and remodelled. Additionally, there have been enhancements
to the parking deck, allowing passengers to move between the terminal and the parking
deck under cover and without navigating any stairs. There is now a single large security screening
checkpoint with TSA PreCheck which provides access to all concourses. Many concessions and shopping, as well as
US Customs and Border Protection offices have been added. A completely new integrated baggage screening
system has been installed to handle the screening of checked luggage. The new terminal is said to be built with
new efficient building standards, making it one of the greenest airports in the country. The first phase of construction was completed
on February 26, 2013 with the entire modernization project completed in 2014, culminating in
a ribbon cutting ceremony held on August, 7th 2014. The project team included KPS Group and KHAFRA
(Architects & Engineers), A.G. Gaston Construction (Project Management), and Brasfield & Gorrie
and BLOC Global Services Group (Construction Management).===Artwork displays===
Several pieces of artwork are displayed within the Terminal and on the airport grounds. Approaching the airport along Messer Airport
Boulevard, travelers pass a series of white three dimensional triangular shapes placed
on raised posts along the shoulder and median of the roadway with a mid-span folded crease
to suggest the wings of birds in flight or aircraft. In the 1990s terminal there were multiple
pieces of art that became well known to frequent visitors to the airport. However, with the terminal modernisation project,
most of these pieces were replaced with new, more modern, and in some cases, technologically
advanced works.There are two unique major artwork displays in the terminal, both of
which are located in Concourse B. The first major display is a living plant wall entitled
“Earth Wind and Water: The Landscape of Alabama”. This living wall is the largest living wall
inside any airport terminal in the United States. The wall is 100 feet wide, 14 feet high, and
contains 1,400 square feet of vegetated area. The second major work of art is an electronic
display which is approximately 50 feet long and made up of 26 large format electronic
LCD displays. The displays contain pictures and video clips
which are linked to form an ever-changing moving wall depicting various “stories” focussing
on African American history and civil rights. There is also an art program at the airport
which puts on display revolving collections of works throughout the terminal. The program includes works from local artists
as well as artists from around the country. In addition there is a rotating Barber Motorsports
exhibit located on the lower level near the baggage claim. This exhibit features frequently changing
displays containing various automobiles and race memorabilia such as driving suits and
mounted steering wheels from famous race cars. There are many smaller works of art located
all throughout the terminal, both pre and post-security. The airport website has an updated list of
the various works of art on display.===Airport amenities===
There are a range of dining and shopping options in the terminal, both pre and post-security. The airport also features free Wi-Fi internet
access throughout the terminal.In 2014, Yahoo Travel ranked the airport as the 49th out
of 72 on a list of “Every Important U.S. Airport, Ranked by Its Food and Drink.”==
Airlines and destinations=====
Statistics====Accidents and incidents==
One fatal Part 121 (Air Carrier) accident has occurred at or in the immediate vicinity
of Birmingham International Airport since 1934; the crash of Pennsylvania Central Airlines
(a United Airlines predecessor) Flight 105 on January 6, 1946. The DC-3 landed on Runway 18 and continued
off the end of the runway into Village Creek, three crew members sustained fatal injuries
as a result of the accident. Two Part 135 (Air Taxi & Commuter) accidents
have occurred since 1962 which resulted in fatalities. The most significant accident was the crash
of L’Express Airlines Flight 508 on July 10, 1991 with the loss of 13 lives. Eight fatal General Aviation accidents have
occurred at or in the vicinity of Birmingham International Airport since 1962, including
a flight line ground accident On November 10, 1972, Southern Airways Flight
49 was hijacked shortly after departing Birmingham for Montgomery, Alabama on its multi-stop
journey to Miami, Florida. All passengers and crew were safety released
and the hijackers arrested over the two-day event, which is particularly notable as it
led to the requirement that U.S. airline passengers be physically screened before boarding, beginning
January 5, 1973. On March 22, 2013 following a $201 million
renovation construction in the airport terminal, a digital arrival/departure screen fixture
fell on a mother and her children, killing ten-year-old Luke Bresette, and injuring his
mother and 2 other siblings of Overland Park, KS. On August 14, 2013 UPS Airlines Flight 1354,
N155UP, an Airbus A300-600, crashed in an open field on approach to Runway 18, killing
both the pilot and co- pilot.==Controversy==
In September 2013, Atlanta-based ExpressJet Airlines, the largest regional US passenger
airline, told its pilots to avoid landing on Runway 18, following the crash of UPS Airlines
Flight 1354 in Birmingham. An internal review following the accident
concluded planes come “dangerously close” to nearby hills if even a few feet too low,
that there is a significant “terrain threat” and a non-standard glide path. An aviation safety expert said the runway
is “absolutely” safe.==See also==Alabama International Airport Authority
Alabama World War II Army Airfields List of airports in Alabama==Images

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