Tucson International Airport

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Tucson International Airport
Tucson International Airport logo.svg
Tucson Airport from the sky, July 2013.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Tucson
OperatorTucson Airport Authority
Serves Tucson, Arizona
Elevation  AMSL 2,643 ft / 806 m
Coordinates 32°06′58″N110°56′28″W / 32.11611°N 110.94111°W / 32.11611; -110.94111 Coordinates: 32°06′58″N110°56′28″W / 32.11611°N 110.94111°W / 32.11611; -110.94111
Website www.flytucson.com
TUS airport diagram.svg
FAA diagram (June 2009)
USA Arizona location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
TUS (the United States)
Direction LengthSurface
Statistics (2019)
Aircraft operations130,076
Total Passengers3,797,201
Source: Federal Aviation Administration [1]
Statistics: Tucson Airport Authority [2] [3]

Tucson International Airport( IATA : TUS, ICAO : KTUS, FAA LID : TUS) is a civil-military airport owned by the City of Tucson 8 miles (7.0 nmi; 13 km) south of downtown Tucson, in Pima County, Arizona, United States. [1] It is the second busiest airport in Arizona, after Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.


The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings per year. [4] Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 1,779,679 enplanements in 2011, a decrease from 1,844,228 in 2010. [5]

Tucson International is operated on a long-term lease by the Tucson Airport Authority, which also operates Ryan Airfield, a general aviation airport. Tucson International Airport is not a hub or focus city for any airline. Public transportation to the airport is Sun Tran bus routes No. 11 and No. 25.


In 1919 Tucson opened the first municipally owned airport in the United States. In 1928 commercial flights began with Standard Airlines (later American Airlines); regular airmail service began in 1930. The 1936 airport directory shows Tucson Municipal at 32°11′N110°55′W / 32.183°N 110.917°W / 32.183; -110.917 (Tucson Municipal Airport (1936)) "just north of the railroad" (since removed) referring to the site that was then being used as the city's airport southeast of the intersection of S. Park Ave. and E. 36th St.

During World War II the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Forces Air Technical Service Command. A contract flying school was operated by the USAAF West Coast Training Center from July 25, 1942 until September 1944.

In 1948 the Tucson Airport Authority was created as a non-profit corporation to operate the airport and oversee policy decisions. The nine member board is elected by a group of up to 115 volunteer residents from Pima County Arizona. The airport was moved to its current location south of Valencia Road and operated on the west ramp out of three hangars vacated by World War II military manufacturing companies. A new control tower was constructed in 1958 to replace the original WWII wooden framed version.

The Tucson Airport Authority was also involved in bringing the Hughes Missile Plant (now Raytheon) to Tucson. In fact, in 1951, according to author David Leighton, it was the TAA that sold the land to the Hughes Aircraft Co., for construction of the plant. [6]

In March 1956 the Civil Aeronautics Board approved routes out of Tucson for Trans World Airlines (TWA), over opposition from American Airlines, but flights didn't begin until December of that year. [7]

In April 1957 airlines scheduled 21 departures a day: 15 American, 4 TWA and 2 Frontier. The first jet flights were American Airlines Boeing 707s and Boeing 720s around September 1960. American began flying McDonnell Douglas DC-10s from Tucson nonstop to Dallas/Ft. Worth [8] and to Chicago via Phoenix beginning in fall 1971 and continuing through the 1970s. [9] In the late 1980s American was flying Boeing 767-200s nonstop to Dallas/Ft. Worth. [10] The DC-10 and 767 were the largest airliners ever to serve Tucson on scheduled passenger flights.

On November 15, 1963 a new terminal designed by Terry Atkinson opened with an international inspection station. The Tucson International Airport [11] [12] name was legitimate: Aeronaves de Mexico had begun Douglas DC-6 service to Hermosillo and beyond in 1961. In the mid 1970s successor airline Aeromexico flew McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s nonstop to Hermosillo and on to Ciudad Obregon, Culiacan, Guadalajara and Mexico City. [13] Bonanza Air Lines began DC-9 service to Mexico in the late 1960s with flights to Mazatlan, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta, [14] and successor airlines Air West and Hughes Airwest flew DC-9s from Tucson to Mexico with their service being extended to Guadalajara, and flights to Mazatlan, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta. [15] [16] The terminal underwent minor remodeling during the 1960s and 1970s, and its interior was featured in the 1974 film Death Wish starring Charles Bronson.

From the early 1970s to the early 1980s Cochise Airlines was based in Tucson. This commuter airline operated Cessna 402s, Convair 440s, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters and Swearingen Metroliners. Cochise scheduled passenger flights to cities in Arizona and southern California.

A remodeling in 1985 doubled the size of the terminal from 150,000 to 300,000 sq ft and rebuilt the concourse into separate, two-level structures with jet bridges. [17]

In 1987 the airport lengthened the primary runway a half mile to the southeast for noise abatement reasons and installed arresting barriers for military planes. [18]

A Concourse Renovation Project was finished in 2005 – the last phase of a remodeling begun in 2000 that added 82,000 sq ft (7,600 m2) to ticketing and baggage claim designed by HNTB. [19] On March 19, 2008, the previous East and West concourses and gates were renumbered with the East Concourse becoming Concourse A: Gates A1 – A9, and the West Concourse becoming Concourse B: Gates B1 – B11.

In January 2014 the Tucson Airport Authority board approved a no-cost, 20-year property lease with the Federal Aviation Administration for property on which to build a new federally funded control tower to replace the 1950s vintage tower currently in use. The new tower is located on the south side of the airport, near Aero Park Blvd.

On April 6, 2016 the Tucson Airport Authority announced the Terminal Optimization Program (TOP). The program (campaign name, A Brighter TUS) includes a variety of terminal improvements, including relocation and improved capacity at the Security Screening Checkpoints, enhanced concession and revenue opportunities, upgrade of building systems, and maximizing use of space. Renovation began in June 2016 and was completed in November 2017. [20]

Military use

Tucson International Airport hosts Morris Air National Guard Base, known as Tucson Air National Guard Base prior to November 2018, a 92-acre (37 ha) complex on the northwest corner of the airport that is home to the 162d Fighter Wing (162 FW), an Air Education and Training Command (AETC)-gained unit of the Arizona Air National Guard. Military use of Tucson Airport began in 1956, when the Arizona Air National Guard activated the 152d Fighter Interceptor Squadron, an Air Defense Command (ADC)-gained unit, which operated Korean War vintage F-86A Sabres. At that time the "base" consisted of an old adobe farmhouse and a dirt-floor hangar with enough space for three aircraft. During its history at TUS, the wing has operated the F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger, A-7 Corsair II and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.

Today the 162d Fighter Wing is the largest Air National Guard fighter unit in the United States, and operates over 70 F-16C/D/E/F aircraft in three squadrons. The wing's F-16s augment the active Air Force's 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW) at Luke AFB, Arizona as a Formal Training Unit (FTU) for training Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard and NATO and allies' F-16 pilots.

The wing also hosts the Air National Guard / Air Force Reserve Command (ANG AFRC) Command Test Center (AATC) as a tenant unit, which conducts operational testing on behalf of the Air Reserve Component. The 162 FW also hosts "Snowbird" operations during the winter months for Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard F-16 and Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II units from northern tier bases in the continental United States, as well as Canadian Forces and Royal Air Force flying units. [21] [22]

Not counting students or transient flight crews, the installation employs over 1,700 personnel, over 1,100 of whom are full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, and the remainder traditional part-time Air National Guardsmen. Although an AETC organization, the 162nd also maintains an F-16 Alert Detachment for U.S. Northern Command / NORAD and AFNORTH at nearby Davis-Monthan AFB in support of Operation Noble Eagle.


Baggage Claim area; Belt 5 is used by Southwest Airlines exclusively. TUS-Baggage Claim.JPG
Baggage Claim area; Belt 5 is used by Southwest Airlines exclusively.
Rental Car Complex (north to south end) TUS-Rental Car Center.JPG
Rental Car Complex (north to south end)

The airport covers 7,938 acre s (3,212  ha ) at an elevation of 2,643  ft (806  m ). It has three asphalt runways and helipads: [1]

Airlines usually use Runway 11L. In occasional trade winds, airliners use Runway 29R, and even rarer, with south winds, Runway 21. Runway 11R-29L is too narrow for most airliners, but they can use Runway 3.

In the year ending February 28, 2018 the airport had 120,564 operations, average 330 per day: 46% general aviation, 30% airline, 11% air taxi, and 13% military. 336 aircraft were then based at the airport: 51% single-engine, 24% military, 5% multi-engine, 2% helicopter, and 18% jet. [1]


Tucson International Airport's terminal has three concourses: Concourse A has nine gates, A1 through A9, Concourse B has eleven gates, B1 through B11. Concourse C is in a separate building west of the main terminal and has one gate, C1. There are three levels inside the main terminal. The ground level is designated for baggage claim and passenger pick-up. The upper level includes airline ticketing, concessions, airline gates and TSA. The third level is designated for meetings and conference rooms and also includes the Tucson Airport Authority offices. Currently, Tucson International Airport offers daily nonstop airline service to 22 destination airports across the U.S. [23] Additionally, there are one-stop connections to more than 350 destinations around the world. Tucson International Airport's terminal is similar to that of the terminal of Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, with both in the shape of a wide X.

Both concourses inside the main terminal offer food, beverage, and shopping, and free wireless internet and charging stations. [24]

Airlines and destinations


Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Portland (OR)
Allegiant Air Provo
Seasonal: Bellingham, Indianapolis, Las Vegas (begins June 5, 2020) [26]
American Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [28]
American Eagle Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [28]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle/Tacoma
Delta Connection Los Angeles, Salt Lake City [29]
Frontier Airlines Seasonal: Denver [30]
Southwest Airlines Chicago–Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose (CA)
Seasonal: Oakland
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [32]
United Airlines Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental [33]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, San Francisco [33]


DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Los Angeles
FedEx Express Memphis


Annual traffic

Traffic by fiscal year at TUS, 2008-present [34]
Fiscal YearPassenger volumeChange over previous yearAircraft operationsFreight (lbs)

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from TUS
(February 2019 – January 2020)
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 323,000American
2 Los Angeles, California 224,000American, Delta, Southwest, United
3 Denver, Colorado 199,000Southwest, United
4 Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 180,000American
5 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 126,000American, United
6 Atlanta, Georgia 118,000Delta
7 Las Vegas, Nevada 117,000Southwest
8 Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 89,000Alaska, Delta
9 Houston–Intercontinental, Texas 84,000United
10 San Diego, California 71,000Southwest

Airline market share

Largest Airlines at TUS (Jan 2018 – Dec 2018) [35]
1 Southwest Airlines 958,00027.47%
2 American Airlines 920,00026.38%
3 SkyWest Airlines 702,00020.14%
4 Mesa Airlines 309,0008.87%
5 Delta Air Lines 277,0007.95%

Accidents and incidents

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