Greater Rochester International Airport (IATA: ROC, ICAO: KROC, FAA LID: ROC) is three miles (6 km) southwest of downtown Rochester, in Monroe County, New York. It is owned and operated by Monroe County. The largest airline that serves the airport is Delta Air Lines with 30% of passengers flying on Delta. The airport is home to the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, part of the 42nd Infantry Division. It is the fourth-busiest airport in the state of New York and the second-busiest outside of the New York City metropolitan area.
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A 1910 newspaper article cited "a site near Scottsville Road", along with the Baker Farm in Genesee Valley Park, as possible locations for 'airships' to fly from Rochester to Toronto.[title missing] The Baker Farm was located south of the original Genesee Valley Park, and was donated to the Parks Department of the City of Rochester in 1908.[title missing] The golf course at Genesee Valley Park was extended to include the Baker Farm in 1914.[title missing] During World War I, the Baker Farm area of the park, renamed "Baker Field", was used for military purposes. The United States School of Aerial Photography had been created at Kodak Park in Rochester, and Baker Field was the airfield associated with the project.[title missing] Military use of the field ceased in 1918.[title missing] Baker Field continued to be used as an airfield for a year or two thereafter,[title missing] but flood conditions made it unsuitable for airfield use in the long run.[title missing] Britton Field, located just west of Baker Field, became the primary airport for the Rochester area.
The site of the Greater Rochester International Airport, originally known as Britton Field, was used for aviation purposes as early as 1919. The Rochester Aircraft Corporation launched its first passenger flight from Britton Field August 18, 1919. The Curtiss JN-4 was piloted by Earl F. Beers. At the time, the only way to get to the field was either by car or by taking the Genesee Street car line to the end, and walking the remaining distance. Beers, a Rochester aviation pioneer, urged the local government to purchase Britton Field for a municipal airport.[title missing] In 1919, Beers offered passenger flights out of Britton Field, charging $1.00 per minute.[title missing]
Britton Field hosted the United States Flying Circus, consisting of six planes, in September 1919.[title missing] Dozens of planes landed in Britton Field as part of an aviation race across the United States and back again.[title missing] The race was won by Lt. B. W. Maynard, "The Flying Parson", who arrived in Rochester, from Buffalo, at 10:30 AM October 18, 1919. His flight from Buffalo's Curtiss Field to Britton Field, a distance of 70 miles, in 22 minutes. He continued to Binghamton before finishing the race at Mineola at 1:50 PM that afternoon.[title missing] Brittan Field was the scene of more competition when a pair of Rochester fliers and two from Syracuse raced between the two cities later in 1919, in a contest sponsored by the Rochester Aero Club and the Syracuse Aero Club. The Rochester newspaper reported that the two Rochester planes beat the combined flying time of the Syracuse pair by 15 seconds.[title missing]
Purchase of the field as a "municipal aviation station" was authorized by the Rochester City Council in December 1919[title missing][title missing] The Rochester Aircraft Corporation proposed passenger service out of Britton Field across Lake Ontario to Toronto in 1920.[title missing] "Young" Sparks, of Bradford, PA., demonstrated the early art of parachuting, by leaping from a plane from 2,100 feet, in an aerial field day at Britton Field in 1921.[title missing] The United States Army considered Britton Field as a possible site for an airship mooring mast in 1924.[title missing]
In the 1920s Eastman Kodak Company and the United States Army used Britton Field as landing field for the testing of Kodak's aerial photography experiments.[title missing] The Fokker monoplane "Josephine Ford", flown by Commander Richard Byrd over the North Pole, was exhibited at Britton Field in October 1926, part of a nationwide tour intended to stimulate interest in aviation. During the Rochester exhibition, an unlicensed pilot, Charles Teleska, crashed his own plane.[title missing]
The Colonial Air Transport Company, forerunner to American Airlines, developed plans in 1926 to run daytime flights from Boston to Chicago, stopping at Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Cleveland. An intersecting route from New York City to Montreal would cross at Albany, allowing for passenger transfers. The new route would carry passengers, mail and merchandise. Night flights were planned as soon as lighted fields were available.[title missing][title missing] The Rochester Flying Club was formed that Fall, intending to keep Britton Field open to all aviation, and to start construction of a hangar and other improvements.[title missing]
Charles Lindbergh flew The Spirit of St. Louis into Britton Field July 29, 1927, as part of an air tour of New York State. He was greeted by 75,000, according to newspaper reports. He stayed an hour and proceeded on to Buffalo.[title missing][title missing] In the summer of 1927, the Rochester Community Players used Britton Field as one of the backdrops of their silent movie, "Fly Low Jack and The Game". The movie was written, directed, acted and produced by amateurs of the theater company, showcasing the new Cine-Kodak 16mm home movie system.[title missing]
The modern era of the Greater Rochester International Airport began in 1927, with the construction of Hangar No. 1 on a patch of land south of Rochester on Scottsville Road. The first scheduled passenger flights between New York City and Rochester were made that year. In 1928, the name was changed to Rochester Municipal Airport and more construction was completed, including improvements to the runways and drainage system, and Hangar No. 2. After the Second World War the airport saw a period of expansion as passenger volume, frequency of flights, and civilian pilot training increased. A flight training school, with nearly 1,000 students, was created.
On January 1, 1948 Monroe County took possession and control of the airport. The county made numerous improvements, including an instrumental runway 5000 feet long, an extension of the north–south runway from 2,670 ft to 5000 ft, and administration facilities on Brooks Avenue.
A new red-brick, single-level passenger terminal was opened on Brooks Avenue in 1953. It was expanded substantially in 1963, and expanded again in 1978 and 1980. The building had only one floor, until a small second floor was added for administrative offices as part of the 1980 expansion. At this time the airport was "Rochester Monroe County Airport."
After the 1963 expansion gave it its final layout, the terminal had ten gates in two concourses. A small three-gate concourse at the east end served American Airlines, and a longer, angled concourse at the west end served Mohawk Airlines (four gates on the east side) and United Airlines (three gates on the west side).
Jet service began ROC in 1965 on American Airlines Boeing 727s, but the two longest runways, 10–28 (5500 feet) and 1–19 (5,000 feet) were short for jets. In 1967 Monroe County built runway 4–22, initially 7,000 feet and extended in 1969 to 8,002 feet (bypassing the 8,000 ft threshold required for CAT III certification). 10–28 is still the crosswind runway. Runway 7–25, 4000 feet long, is used by smaller aircraft.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was talk of building a Rochester-Buffalo airport in southeastern Niagara County, which would have taken over passenger traffic from Rochester-Monroe County and Greater Buffalo International airports. This was never built.
The first jetways were added to gates 1 and 3 by American in 1977. As part of the 1978 expansion, new lounge space was built for Allegheny Airlines (successor to Mohawk) with three jetways. In about 1986 the airline (by then renamed USAir) added a fourth jetway. The 1980 expansion included two new lounge areas for United, each of which had one jetway. In 1987, Piedmont Airlines, which had taken over the United lounge closest to the terminal, added a second jetway to it. In about 1985, USAir built an expansion to the end of the main concourse to house a USAir Club.
The large new low-fare carrier People Express Airlines arrived at the airport in 1985. There was not room for them inside the terminal. A small ticket counter was built in office space in the northwest corner of the terminal, and a wooden peaked-roof shed was built on to house their outbound-baggage area, departure lounge, and baggage claim. No jetway was added. People's effect on fares was dramatic; ROC's enplanements increased 38% in 1985. When Continental Airlines took over People in 1987, they moved operations into the main terminal and shared gate space with American. The shed was removed.
In the mid-1980s, Monroe County Legislator Van Buren N. Hansford, Sr. (R-Pittsford) introduced successful legislation to have the airport's name changed to "Greater Rochester International Airport."
The terminal was outgrown by the mid-1980s, and debate began about expanding the airport. In 1985, the administration of Monroe County Executive Lucien A. Morin (R) proposed a complicated terminal expansion that would have had baggage claim carousels across the driveway in a separate building, which tugs would have reached by a tunnel, and passengers would have reached by second-floor bridge corridors.
The County got as far as building temporary parking lots to the west and closing the main parking lots to begin construction on a garage. However, in 1988 the new County Executive, Thomas R. Frey (D) and the County Legislature had doubts about the cost of the project, and it was abandoned before construction started in earnest.
In 1988 Monroe County approved a $109 million plan to replace the terminal with an entirely new two-level facility with a second-level approach road and parking garage. The new facilities were built in stages on the exact site, between 1989 and 1992 and designed by HNTB and built by Wilmorite, Inc. Ticketing and departures are on the second floor, and baggage claim and ground transportation is on the first floor. The County Legislature authorized the creation of a "Monroe County Airport Authority" to issue the bonds for the construction.
This terminal has two angled concourses, each with 11 gates. Gate assignments are listed below. The eastern or B concourse opened in summer 1990. The eastern half of the main terminal opened in 1991. The western half of the main terminal, western or A concourse, and garage, all opened in 1992. A series of temporary prefabricated buildings were used to provide gate space and baggage claim space during the construction.
By the end of the 1980s, The New York Air National Guard constructed a small hangar and office facility, and apron space, on the south side of the airport near the control tower. This facility has since been expanded.
In 2006, Monroe County consolidated the separate security checkpoints at each concourse, to one central security checkpoint. Monroe County argued that this arrangement, although it would close the terminal's large concessions atrium and airfield views to non-passengers, would be more efficient and save money. The county replaced the lost public airfield view with a new viewing area at the west end of the terminal.
In 2008 renovations were undertaken to replace floors, carpets, and seating in the concourses, move explosives-scanning equipment from the ticketing lobby to the outbound baggage room, and replace 'T' shaped baggage claim carousels with 360-degree walk-around carousels which receive luggage from belts through the ceiling. By late 2009 these projects were completed.
In January 2009, the airport began work on an extension of the three-story parking garage to the west. By early 2010, that project was completed.
Numerous airlines have consolidated service since the late-2000s, including Northwest's acquisition by Delta, Continental into United, Southwest replacing AirTran at the airport after its acquisition, and most recently US Airways merging with American.
By 2015, Monroe County began planning a series of improvements designed at improving the functionality of the terminal building, and it's parking facilities. In April 2016, the airport closed the departures-level roadway, so it could repair the concrete road decking of the structure. This was completed in early July 2016.
In 2016, Greater Rochester International Airport entered New York State Governor Cuomo's Upstate Airport Economic and Revitalization Competition (UAERC) – and won – receiving nearly $40 Million, to use for adapting and enhancing the airport's facilities.
During the Spring of 2017, the airport broke ground on a $54 millon project intended to both transform and enhance the terminal, to create a high-tech smart facility that best serves the business and economic needs, while reducing barriers for passengers with disabilities. $40 million from the state UAERC is being used to fund the project, while the rest is coming from bonds and airport fees.
A new cell-phone lot is being constructed in a more accessible location to vehicles (off Airport Way, before the terminal building), that includes flight-display information, an electric vehicle charging station, improved lighting and signage. A cannopy will be added over the airport's roadways at the terminal building and the parking garage, that will better shelter passengers from the elements. It will also reduce maintenance costs associated with plowing, icing, and repairing the roadway. This includes solar pannels, ability to store rainwater, and colorful lighting for aesthetic purposes.
The Terminal building will also see many improvements as well, such as the update and streamlining of areas that have seen minimal revamping since it was built and designed in the early-1990s. The Security Checkpoint will be enlarged, and will include a TSA Pre-Check area. It will also have areas before and after the checkpoint so passengers can re-pack their belongings if needed, reducing impact on wait-times. The main concessions atrium will also see update and reconfigurement.
The Project is currently on-going (as of July 2017) and is scheduled to last into the fall/winter of 2018.
In 2008 the airport completed two service roads around the end of Runway 28, near Interstate 390, in tunnels. The ground was graded upwards beyond the end of the runway to cover the tunnels. Earlier in the decade, a 500-foot (150 m) overrun area was added to the east (10) end of this runway. An Engineered materials arrestor system (EMAS) of about 200 feet (61 m) was added to this extension. The EMAS consists of soft rubberized concrete into which an overrunning aircraft's wheels can sink, and the aircraft ostensibly be stopped safely before it veers onto the grass.
In 2011 runway 10/28 was expanded to handle the airport's Boeing 717, Boeing 737-300, Boeing 737-700, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 traffic. Runway 4/22 is in debate of an expansion to 9,500 feet (2,900 m).
In 2013 the airport had 91,470 aircraft operations, average 162 per day: 43% general aviation, 34% air taxi, 21% airline and 3% military. 87 aircraft were then based at the airport: 68% single-engine, 17% multi-engine and 15% jet, a decline of 33% since 2006 (down from 137,601 aircraft operations, 376/day average).
The terminal has two passenger concourses: Concourse A (also called Frederick Douglass Concourse) with gates A1-A11, and Concourse B (also known as Susan B. Anthony Concourse) with gates B1, B2, B2A, B3-B10.
A three-level parking garage, designated for long-term parking and rental cars, sits across the roadway from the terminal building.
Also on site is a Fairfield Inn and Suites, just east of the garage, and across the terminal roadway.
|Air Canada Express||Toronto–Pearson|
|Allegiant Air||Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda (FL)|
|American Eagle||Boston, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Philadelphia, Washington–Reagan|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta
Seasonal: Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
|Delta Connection||Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–La Guardia|
|JetBlue Airways||New York–JFK|
|Southwest Airlines||Baltimore, Orlando, Tampa|
|United Airlines||Chicago–O'Hare, Newark|
|United Express||Chicago–O'Hare, Newark, Washington–Dulles|
|DHL Aviation||Cincinnati, Hartford|
|FedEx Express||Grand Rapids, Memphis|
|1||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||178,000||American, United|
|3||New York–JFK, New York||132,000||Delta, JetBlue|
|5||Charlotte, North Carolina||81,000||American|
|8||New York–La Guardia, New York||69,000||Delta|
|9||Newark, New Jersey||55,000||United|
Greater Rochester International Airport has a cargo terminal in the northwest corner of the airfield. The terminal is operated by USAirports. This terminal has three cargo buildings, two hangars, and USAirports' three-story headquarters administrative building. The company was founded in Rochester in the 1980s as Airport Systems and later changed its name to USAirports. The company operates cargo terminals at several airports in the United States.
This cargo terminal handles:
Federal Express (FedEx) operates its own cargo terminal on the southern border of the airport on Scottsville Road. It handles:
The airport has a number of flying clubs. USAirports is one of two fixed based operators at the airport. It provides lodging, fuel and mechanic support for private planes. It also provides charter jet service and hangars for executive jets.
Avflight is also available at the airport. Avflight has a hangar on the southeast side of the airport, at 1205 Scottsville Road.
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