According to a recent press release, the Philadelphia Airport has been providing commercial air service for 75 years and is currently the 10th busiest airport in the United States and the 15th busiest airport in the world.
The Philadelphia Airport has been serving the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States since 1940. Although the airport was in operation in 1927 and known as the Philadelphia Municipal Airport, it wasn’t until 1940 that the airport received a formal terminal and began flights from American Airlines, Eastern Air Lines, Trans World Airlines, and United Airlines.
Since it began its commercial air service, the airport has been growing, expanding, and improving in a variety of fields. In 1945, its name was changed to Philadelphia International Airport when American Overseas Airlines began service from Philadelphia to Europe. By the late 1950s, PHL had two more Terminals – B and C. In 1973, Terminal D was opened and in 1977, Terminal E.
In the 1980s and 1990s, US Airways became the dominant airline at Philadelphia Airport and in 2003, it shifted most of its hub operations from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. In 2004, Southwest Airlines began operations from PHL and grew to become US Airways’ largest competitor.
Since 2000, the Philadelphia Airport has invested $2 billion in airfield, cargo, and terminal projects. In 2003, the airport’s sixth and seventh terminals (Terminal A West and Terminal F) opened and in 2009, a major runway underwent expansion and was extended to 6,500 feet. Recently, the airport added multiple airlines including Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines.
“We celebrate 75 years of commercial service on the heels of five new airlines starting service, major improvements to Terminal F and more approved capital investments to come. PHL has never been more vibrant,” said Mayor Michael Nutter in the press release.
Today, Philadelphia Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, serving over 30 million passengers every year. Its list of airlines is now at 27 carriers that offer service to 130 domestic and international destinations. It has become a self-sustaining entit as well as an “economic driver and travel hub for the entire Philadelphia region,” said Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities.
To celebrate 75 years, the airport’s Exhibitions Program will feature historical airport artifacts on display between Terminal C and Terminal D starting mid-July.