Syracuse Hancock International Airport

From Academic Kids

Syracuse Hancock International Airport is located just north of the city of Syracuse, New York off of Interstate 81 near Mattydale, New York. The IATA airport code is SYR and the ICAO airport code is KSYR.



In 1927 Syracuse mayor Charles Hanna felt that his city needed an airport. A location at Amboy in the town of Camillus, New York was purchased for $50,000, and by 1928, the "Syracuse City Airport at Amboy" was handling airmail. At the end of World War II the Army Air Corps leased their bomber base near Mattydale, New York to the city. On September 17, 1949, the Clarence E. Hancock Airport opened to the public in a renovated machine shop and replaced the airport at Amboy. American, Buffalo, Colonial and Robinson Airlines were the first airlines to operate at the airport, and American Airlines still does to this day.

In 1962 a new terminal opened, at the site of the present-day terminals. The location allowed the airport to be directly connected to Interstate 81, which was built shortly afterwards. In 1970 the airport was awarded international airport status by International Civil Aviation Organization, and thus renamed Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the airport went through several expansions to meet increasing demand. Empire Airlines, which was founded in 1976, made Syracuse a hub, and over two million passengers a year were using the airport. Piedmont Airlines absorbed Empire in 1986 and kept the Syracuse hub. The mid-to-late 1980s were the best years in Hancock history, with a record 3.17 million passengers using the airport in 1987, second in Upstate New York only to Buffalo, and its 253 daily flights even made it the top Upstate New York airport in terms of flights. Hub-carrier Piedmont operated the entire Terminal A for itself, operating 58 jet flights and 12 commuter flights a day in 1987 for an astounding 12 flights and hour. Terminal A was expanded that year, adding more gates, a Piedmont Presidential Club (a US Airways Club until 2004), and a larger customs area. There was even talk of building a third runway.

With USAir's purchase of Piedmont in 1989, things started going sour for Hancock International. USAir closed the Syracuse hub, and Syracuse therefore lost its advantage over other upstate airports. A final terminal expansion was completed in 1996, along with an overall overhaul and renovation, which created two separate terminal areas with individual, checkin, security, and baggage claim. USAir still maintained a large presence at the airport but slowly phased out flights throughout the 1990s, making Terminal A essentially a "ghost terminal." After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the now-renamed US Airways cut even more flights and did not renew its leases for many of its gates in Terminal A, upon which the airport essentially "boarded them up."

However, a new era began on May 7, 2001 when JetBlue inaugurated low-cost service to Hancock. Using the first gate of Terminal A, Gate 15, most of this terminal still remains asleep. However, more discount carriers are following suit and servicing Syracuse. Charter airline Transmeridian Airlines began its first scheduled routes ever when it started flying six weekly flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport in 2003. It currently flies this route up to nine times a week, depending on demand. And on July 1, 2004, Independence Air began flying eight daily roundtrips to Washington Dulles International Airport. There are now 21 daily flights with a total of 964 seats from Syracuse to Washington, DC. US Airways announced on May 10, 2004 that it would increase service to Hancock, lower fares, and add seats by converting flights from turboprop to regional jet. Traffic during the first eight months 2004 is up 23 percent compared to the same period of 2003. At this rate, combined with the new service, Hancock is on track to process over two million passengers for the first time in years.

In May, 2005, American Eagle announced daily flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, to begin in August. These will be the longest flights from Hancock.

If the ambitious plans of mall developer The Pyramid Companies to build DestiNY USA, a multi-billion dollar tourism attraction which could attract millions of new visitors by air, ever become reality, then Hancock would have to be expanded again. Its current capacity is estimated at about 3.35 million passengers a year. There has even been talk of a monorail to Hancock from Syracuse University via downtown and DestiNY USA (estimated cost $750 million).

Airlines and Nonstop Destinations

Terminal A

(Gates 1-15)

Terminal B

(Gates 19-27)

External links


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