Open main menu

Piedmont Triad International Airport

Piedmont Triad International Airport (IATA: GSO, ICAO: KGSO, FAA LID: GSO) (commonly referred to as "PTI") is an airport located in the center of North Carolina just west of Greensboro, serving the Piedmont Triad region of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem as well as the entire Piedmont Triad region in North Carolina. The airport, located just off Bryan Boulevard, sits on a 3,770 acre (1,526 ha) campus and has 3 runways.[2] Piedmont Triad International airport is the third busiest airport in North Carolina averaging 280 takeoffs and landings each day. PTI is owned and operated by the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority.

Piedmont Triad International Airport
Piedmont Triad International Airport Logo.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorPiedmont Triad Airport Authority
ServesGreensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina
LocationGuilford County, near Greensboro, North Carolina
Hub forFedEx Express[1]
Elevation AMSL926 ft / 282 m
Coordinates36°05′52″N 79°56′14″W / 36.09778°N 79.93722°W / 36.09778; -79.93722
Piedmont Triad International Airport is located in North Carolina
Piedmont Triad International Airport
Piedmont Triad International Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5L/23R 9,000 2,743 Asphalt
5R/23L 10,001 3,048 Asphalt/Concrete
14/32 6,380 1,945 Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Passenger Statistics (2018)1,839,000

This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings (enplanements) per year.[3]

A proposal to rename the airport to "Central North Carolina International Airport" passed in December 2017; the renaming was slated to become effective on January 1, 2018.[4] Due to public objections, however, the name change is on hold.[5]


Early historyEdit

Maynard Field, a predecessor of PTI Airport and one of the first commercial airports in the South, was dedicated on December 6, 1919, just west of Greensboro near Oak Ridge. With its two intersecting runways measuring 1,890 feet (580 m) and 1,249 feet (381 m), hangar space, and even an early day equivalent of a Fixed-Base Operator that made sure the torches were lit at dusk, Maynard Field was named to honor a young North Carolinian pilot named Lt. Belvin Maynard. By 1922 it had competition to the west with Miller Field in Winston-Salem, and Charles Field, a single airstrip that was used mainly for barnstorming, and for take-off drills and landings for the Charles family.

Piedmont Triad International Airport had its start in 1927 when the Tri-City Airport Commission selected 112 acres (45 ha) near the community of Friendship for an airport, and petitioned to become a stop along the congressionally authorized airmail route from New York to New Orleans. Racing pilot Captain Roscoe Turner referred to the current location of Piedmont Triad International Airport as "the best landing field in the south." Friendship, near Greensboro, was selected over neighboring Winston-Salem, which subsequently refused to contribute funds for airport construction and nullified the Tri-City Airport Authority collaborative effort.[6]

Greensboro and Guilford County jointly purchased the Friendship property from Paul C. and Helen G. Lindley, and named it Lindley Field in May 1927 with 12,000 people in attendance. The field then had no runways, no lights, no hangar, and no passenger station. Charles Lindbergh stopped at Lindley Field with the "Spirit of St. Louis" on his cross-country tour celebrating the advances of aviation on October 14, 1927. Regular mail service started in 1928.[7]

Pitcairn Aviation, Incorporated was given the contract to fly the airmail route, the second official airmail route in the United States, and Pitcairn Aviation made the first delivery of airmail in North Carolina on May 1, 1928. Sid Malloy, the pilot of the aircraft, landed with two bags of mail and took three bags of mail to be sent to Atlanta. After a brief closure during the Great Depression, the airport reopened on May 17, 1937 with two all-weather runways. In time, Pitcairn Aviation built a hangar; Greensboro built a passenger station; the United States government established a weather bureau; and the Department of Commerce set up a radio tower. Passenger service was inaugurated by Dixie Flying Service on November 6, 1930, with a route to Washington, D.C.. Pitcairn Aviation took over the route under its new name Eastern Air Transport, which later became Eastern Air Lines.[6]

In July 1942 responsibility for the airport was given to the Greensboro-High Point Airport Authority, with representatives from Greensboro, High Point, and Guilford County. Shortly thereafter the Army Air Corps requisitioned the airport and its facilities for war use and airmail and passenger service was discontinued. The Corps lengthened the runways and built a new passenger terminal. Civilian service resumed after the war, though growth was moderate due to the success of nearby Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem.

Later historyEdit


  • The then-new passenger terminal opened in 1958, replacing the temporary facility that had served since World War II. The aforementioned terminal was a modern glass paneled structure with a single pier. PTI was then served by Eastern, Piedmont, and Capital (which merged with United in 1961); the April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 17 Eastern departures each weekday, nine Piedmont and seven Capital.


  • By 1975, airport officials began to plan for a new terminal. Piedmont Airlines, which for years had served PTI and Smith Reynolds Airport in nearby Winston-Salem, announced its intention to consolidate its operations at Greensboro. In the months that followed, Piedmont Airlines instead opened a hub in Charlotte.
  • The airport was renamed Greensboro-High Point Airport and later Greensboro–High Point–Winston-Salem Regional Airport. Work on a new facility began in 1978.
  • It gained greater prominence on the East Coast offering passenger service from Delta Air Lines, Piedmont Airlines, United Airlines and Eastern Air Lines. Cargo carriers, including the postal service, textile manufacturers, and Federal Express–a new overnight letter and package delivery service–were shipping tons of freight each year.


  • The new terminal complex was completed in 1982, designed by Reynolds, Smith & Hills and AHM Architects.[8] The following year, the Marriott opened a $16 million, 300-room hotel on the airport property. The facility was renamed Piedmont Triad International Airport in 1987.


  • TIMCO Aviation Services opened its world headquarters at PTI. Over the following two decades, the company grew into one of the world's largest independent aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers.
  • Eastern Air Lines shut down in January 1991. In 1993, Continental Lite, an LCC brand, established an unsuccessful hub at PTI. By 1995 the hub lost its parent company, Continental Airlines $140 million at which point, Gordon Bethune, the CEO of Continental at the time, ordered that the hub be dismantled.[9] He remarked in his book, Worst to First, that Continental Lite operated flights from "nowhere to nowhere" out of PTI.
  • In 1998 FedEx Corporation announced its intentions to build a mid-Atlantic hub at PTI, one of only five FedEx hubs in the country. In addition to the hub, the project included the construction of a parallel, 9,000-foot runway.


  • Delta Connection carrier Comair built a maintenance hangar at PTI to perform work on their CRJ's in 2005, bringing nearly 60 mechanics to Greensboro.
  • The airport opened an expansion to the North Concourse, which added another 40,000 square feet to the terminal and brought the number of gates to 25. It also opened a 43,000 square-foot expansion to the main terminal to accommodate security gates at the north and south concourse.



The airport opened a 9,000-foot parallel runway.


The airport began a major interior renovation project to provide passengers with a superior airport experience. The renovation included the installation of free wireless Internet and charging stations for passenger devices, and numerous interactive kiosks guiding passengers to ground transportation and nearby accommodations and restaurants.


Frontier Airlines, based in Denver, Colorado, began PTI's first flights to Denver. The airline announced non-stop service first to Orlando, Fla. with Denver, Colo. following shortly thereafter. All service has since been discontinued as of August 2018. In the same year, Dynamic Airways' headquarters was opened at PTI.


American Eagle announced service to Chicago–O'Hare International Airport, effective July 2017.


Spirit Airlines announced service to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa, effective September 2018.

Terminals and facilitiesEdit

Completed in 1982, the terminal building of Piedmont Triad International Airport currently has 26 passenger gates: 14 on the north concourse, and 12 on the south concourse. A 2006 expansion added another 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) to the terminal (at a cost of $5 million); a substantial part of this space was used to establish more permanent security checkpoints. Both concourses are the same size, despite the different gate numbers. There are two passenger accessible levels of the terminal. The top includes ticketing, security, boarding, and concession areas. The bottom floor houses baggage claim and ground transportation.

2011 marked the start of a large-scale airport renovation project that resulted in new furniture, free Wi-Fi, automated baggage handling, touch-screen kiosks and charging stations located under terminal seating for charging electronic devices.

Previously an US Airways Club, American Airlines operated an Admirals Club across from Gate 45 in the south concourse. As of October 15, 2018, the Admirals Club permanently closed.[10]

As of April 30, 2018, the airport averages 246 aircraft operations per day: 39% general aviation, 34% air taxi, 25% scheduled commercial, and 2% military. There are currently 86 aircraft based at this airport: 67 single-engine, 11 multi-engine, and 8 jet.[11]

Airlines and destinationsEdit

The Air Traffic Control Tower/TRACON at Piedmont-Triad International Airport


Allegiant Air Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater [12]
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth [13]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [13]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta [14]
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit, New York–LaGuardia [14]
Spirit Airlines Orlando
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale (ends November 10, 2019), Tampa
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Newark, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Houston-Intercontinental


DHL Aviation
Cincinnati, Laredo, Richmond
FedEx Express Albany (NY), Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Columbia (SC), Fort Lauderdale, Harrisburg, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Louisville, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, Rochester, Savannah, Tampa
FedEx Feeder
operated by Mountain Air Cargo
Columbia (SC), Greenville/Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, New Bern, Wilmington (NC)
Quest Diagnostics Aviation Chattanooga, Gwinnett (GA), Knoxville, Manassas (VA), Tri-Cities
UPS Airlines Louisville, Miami, Orlando, Roanoke


Top destinationsEdit

Busiest domestic routes from GSO
(June 2018 – May 2019)
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 303,310 Delta
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 165,530 American
3 New York–LaGuardia, New York 93,700 American, Delta
4 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 76,880 American, United
5 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 57,440 American
6 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 50,540 American
7 Newark, New Jersey 48,690 United
8 Detroit, Michigan 46,750 Delta
9 Washington–Dulles, Virginia 36,680 United
10 Washington–National, Virginia 28,390 American

Fixed-base operators (FBOs)Edit

The following fixed-base operators are based at the Piedmont Triad International Airport:

  • Koury Aviation
  • Signature Flight Support

Future developmentsEdit

Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 taking off from Piedmont Triad International Airport bound for Atlanta

A significant investment is being made into the interstate highway network adjacent to the airport, which will result in easy access from industrial sites around the airport on Interstate highways leading north, south, east and west. Major highways such as I-40, I-85 and I-74 are already in place, with connectors under construction and coming on line in the near future. By 2019, the network will be complete, opening up numerous additional opportunities for industrial sites with immediate Interstate highway access.

There are currently 9 available sites on the airport campus ready for future development.

As part of the I-73 construction, a taxiway was built to allow approximately 400 acres of property north of Future I-73 to access the airport.[17]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On February 4, 1962, a USAF Douglas C-47 climbed to 150-200 feet after takeoff and fell to the left, cartwheeled and burned. All seven onboard perished.[18]
  • On August 2, 1989, Piedmont Airlines Flight 1489, a Boeing 737–400, en route to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport was diverted to Piedmont Triad International Airport on report of landing gear malfunction. Reports indicated a wheel chock was left in the wheel well the night before causing the failure to extend. The plane landed with one gear up.[19][20]
  • September 26, 1989, Wrangler Aviation (later Tradewinds Airlines and Sky Lease Cargo), a Canadair CL-44, en route to Greensboro from Rafael Hernández Airport, came within 30 feet of the airport terminal after the first officer failed to follow procedure for a missed approach.[21]
  • August 8, 2000 – Airtran Airways Flight 913, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 departing from Greensboro reported smoke in the flight deck. The smoke became very dense and restricted the crew's ability to see both the cockpit instruments and the visual references outside the airplane. The cabin crew noticed a smell of smoke, followed by a visual sighting of smoke and sparks in the area of the forward flight attendant jumpseat. The flight crew was able to identify the Greensboro airport and make a successful emergency landing. The airplane was immediately stopped, and an emergency evacuation was conducted on a taxiway.[22]
  • May 8, 2008 – N904FX[23] and N905FX,[24] two ATR-42-320s were written off after they suffered substantial damage at Piedmont Triad International Airport when the airport was hit by an EF2 tornado. Both aircraft were parked when they were struck by the tornado, one aircraft was blown into a ditch and the other was blown into a fence.[25][26]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for GSO (Form 5010 PDF), effective February 1, 2018.
  3. ^ AirportIQ 5010
  4. ^ "Greensboro mayor on board with PTIA renaming". News and Record. December 19, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Barron, Richard (January 23, 2018). "What's in a name? PTI is holding on to its handle — for now". News and Record. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Robinson, Blackwell P., and Alexander R. Stoesen. "The History of Guilford County, North Carolina, U.S.A. To 1980, A.D." Greensboro: The Guilford County Bicentennial Commission, 1980.
  7. ^ Arnett, Ethel Stephens. "Greensboro, North Carolina: The County Seat of Guilford." Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1955.
  8. ^ "Charles Hagenah Architects, Inc: Early Experience".
  9. ^ "Continental Is Dropping 'Lite' Service". The New York Times. April 14, 1995.
  10. ^ Retrieved on February 25, 2019
  11. ^ [1] Retrieved on January 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  15. ^ |url=
  16. ^ RITA | BTS | Transtats. Retrieved on April 19, 2018.
  17. ^ NCDOT. "NCDOT: Future I-73". Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Accident description for 42-108992 at the Aviation Safety Network
  19. ^ "Piedmont Flight 1489 Photos". Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ "Piedmont Flight 1489 news Feed".
  21. ^ "Wrangler Aviation Incident" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Aviation Safety Network – Airtran Flight 913".
  23. ^ ASN Aircraft accident ATR-42-320 N904FX Greensboro/High Point-Piedmont Triad International Airport, NC (GSO). Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  24. ^ ASN Aircraft accident ATR-42-320 N905FX Greensboro/High Point-Piedmont Triad International Airport, NC (GSO). Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  25. ^ Greensboro, NC Hit With F2 Tornado – JetPhotos.Net Forums – The Friendly Way to Fly. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  26. ^ "Aviation Safety Network > ASN Aviation Safety Database > Operator index > United States of America > FedEx". November 28, 2004. Retrieved November 2, 2010.

External linksEdit