Sacramento International Airport
Sacramento International Airport (IATA: SMF, ICAO: KSMF, FAA LID: SMF) is 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Sacramento, the capital of the state, in Sacramento County, California, United States. It serves the Greater Sacramento Area, and it is run by the Sacramento County Airport System.
Sacramento International Airport
Lower floor of Terminal B
|Owner||County of Sacramento|
|Operator||Sacramento County Airport System|
|Serves||Sacramento, California, U.S.|
|Location||Sacramento County, California, U.S.|
|Elevation AMSL||27 ft / 8 m|
FAA airport diagram
The airport is the main gateway to the State Capitol of California, Old Sacramento and tunnels, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area, Hawver Cave with a lake inside the cave that is 80 feet deep, and Foresthill Bridge. The airport is a gateway to Northern California getaways such as Heavenly Mountain Resort, Yosemite National Park, the Napa Wine Country and Lake Tahoe. Other nearby attractions include the Marshall Gold Discovery Site and Sutter's Mill, the Cosumnes River Preserve, the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, Tahoe National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest and Fremont Weir Wildlife Area.
Sacramento International Airport (SMF) opened October 21, 1967 as Sacramento Metropolitan Airport (the airfield itself was Sacramento Metropolitan Field), with one 8600-foot runway. The initial runway was the west one, now named 17R/35L. Previously, air service to Sacramento was handled by Sacramento Municipal Airport (SAC), now called Sacramento Executive Airport. Sacramento Metropolitan was the first purpose-built public-use airport west of the Mississippi when it opened in 1967. All airports under the Sacramento County Airport System (previously the Sacramento County Department of Airports), including SMF, are self-supporting through user fees and rentals. No local, state, or federal tax funds are used for operating costs.
1980s and 90sEdit
In the 1980s SMF added: the in-flight catering facility (1980), an FAA Flight Inspection Field Office (1985), a second air cargo facility (1985) and the east runway (1987). The east runway's opening was celebrated by the landing of a Concorde SST. America West Airlines, Continental Airlines, Morris Air, Northwest Airlines and American Eagle Airlines joined the original carriers at Sacramento Metropolitan Airport during this time.
In 1998 the consolidated rental car facility and Terminal A (designed by Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects) opened. The consolidated rental car terminal was the first of its kind in the nation and gave all rental car customers a single point of access that could be reached on a single shuttle. This innovation streamlined bus operations to reduce congestion at the terminal and improve air quality while enhancing customer service.
With the opening of the new Terminal A, the airport was renamed Sacramento International Airport, though it did not receive international flights until 2002 when Mexicana started nonstops to Guadalajara. The airport was designated a port of entry on October 5, 2006.
Between 1990 and 2007 Sacramento International Airport had a high incidence of bird strikes, being in an avian migratory route.
The Sacramento County Airport System launched its website in April 1997.
Southwest Airlines (1991), Alaska Airlines (1993), Horizon Air (1993) and Trans World Airlines (TWA) (1994) were added to the list of carriers at Sacramento. Southwest and Alaska Airlines grew quickly, offsetting the departure of airlines such as American Eagle, Continental and USAir which had acquired PSA.
After September 11Edit
Airport security procedures were dramatically changed after September 11, 2001. The newly formed Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration were created and sweeping changes were implemented to improve aviation security.
September 11 did not deter growth at Sacramento International Airport. Four airlines were soon added to Sacramento International: Continental returned (2000) and Frontier (2002), Mexicana (2002), Hawaiian (2002) and Aloha Airlines (2003) initiated service. Mexicana's arrival initiated international nonstop flights and necessitated completion of the International Arrivals Building for federal inspection services.
The Terminal A Parking Garage opened September 23, 2004. The six-story structure had covered parking, a short walk to the terminal and public art ("Flying Gardens" by Dennis Oppenheim, installed outside the garage, and "Flying Carpet" by Seyed Alavi, installed in the connecting walkway).
In 2006 Sacramento International Airport was one of the first airports in the nation to offer free wireless Internet service (WiFi).
As the nation's economy was taking a hit in 2008, commercial aviation was challenged by reduced passenger numbers and increasing fuel and other costs. The airport was a focus city for ExpressJet which independently operated Embraer ERJ-145s on point-to-point, "hub bypass" routes. In 2008, ExpressJet ended all independent flying and refocused its business on codeshares for major airlines. Also in 2008, Aloha Airlines ceased operations and Mexicana discontinued operations as well. Air Canada flew to this airport in 2007–2008 to Vancouver, but ended the route in 2008; It was announced that the route would resume on May 17, 2018.
Prior to the downturn, new services began and several airlines merged. America West and US Airways merged, Northwest and Delta merged, and United and Continental initiated their merger by the end of 2011. Despite these challenges, Alaska added nonstop flights to Guadalajara, Mexico (now discontinued) and Hawaii (Maui) while Aeromexico's (2011) debut reestablished foreign-flag service with daily nonstops to Guadalajara, Mexico. The new Terminal B opened on October 6, 2011, the largest airport terminal in the United States to achieve LEED Silver status.
On June 5, 2008 US Airways began seasonal flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia. Sacramento was the origin for the last scheduled MD-80 flight on Alaska Airlines, Flight 363 from Sacramento to Seattle on August 24, 2008. In the summer of 2010, Delta Air Lines began seasonal flights to Detroit. Continental Airlines, which later merged with United Airlines, previously had seasonal flights to Newark. Sacramento's seasonal route operated during the summer and fall. On January 6, 2013, Frontier Airlines ended service to Denver. US Airways previously flew to Las Vegas, but ended service after closing its Las Vegas hub.
Long dominated by Southwest and United (United Express), the intra-California market was joined in 2011 by American (American Eagle Airlines, April 2011) and Delta (Delta Connection) which provide service to and from LAX. Frontier Airlines previously provided service between SMF and Redding.
Sacramento County tried (and failed) to entice Virgin America into adding a flight between SMF and Los Angeles by offering the airline $400,000 to operate out of terminal A or $150,000 to operate in terminal B; other airports are also trying to entice the airline.
In 2011 the airport carried an estimated 9 million passengers; it averaged 323 flights a day.
On November 18, 2014 United Airlines announced it would suspend service to Washington D.C. from January 6, 2015, to April 6, 2015, citing seasonal demand. On May 4, 2015 Delta Air Lines started service to Seattle–Tacoma with the flights operated by SkyWest Airlines. On December 3, 2014, United Express ended service to Arcata/Eureka and Crescent City. On February 9, 2015 SeaPort Airlines began service to Visalia. On June 18, 2015 JetBlue Airways started seasonal service to Boston. On April 8, 2015 Southwest Airlines started service to Dallas–Love. They also announced (later in the year) service to Boise beginning January 6, 2016. On March 26, 2015, Aeroméxico started service to Mexico City on April 6, 2015. In the month of May, American Airlines added a fifth flight to Dallas Fort-Worth.
On April 23, 2015 the airport announced that it has posted twelve consecutive months of improved passenger traffic that started on April 2014, and 8.9 million passengers were served in 2014. Passenger growth continued in 2015 and 2016, with 9.6 million passengers served in 2015 and 10.1 million in 2016. In 2017, the airport surpassed its 2007 high of 10.7 million passengers, with 10.9 million passengers. Amongst the 35 largest metropolitan regions in the country, Sacramento has the fewest international flights.
In 2016 American Airlines announced that it would begin flying between Sacramento and Chicago O'Hare beginning in June with twice daily flights for the summer season and a single nonstop the rest of the year.
In 2018 Southwest added nonstop service to Austin, New Orleans, Orlando, San Jose del Cabo, and St. Louis.
In January 2018 Sacramento International Airport's solar array was commissioned; it is rated at 7.9 MW and will supply around 30% of the airport's electricity needs. The electricity will be purchased by NRG Energy for an agreed period of 25 years. The project was built by Borrego Solar using LG solar panels at a cost $15 million. The solar power costs 7 cents per kWh as opposed to 9 cents, so the airport expects to save nearly $1 million annually.
Sacramento International Airport covers 6,000 acres (24 km²) and has two parallel runways:
- 17L/35R: 8,605 ft × 150 ft (2,623 m × 46 m), concrete
- 17R/35L: 8,600 ft × 150 ft (2,621 m × 46 m), concrete
A future purpose is to extend one of its runways to 11,000 feet for better improvement for the long haul, but the decision is still going on to see which one of the runways is best to expand. 
The runways were redesignated 17/35 from 16/34 on May 20, 2020.
The west runway, 17R/35L, was closed from April 2019 to October 23, 2019, for renovation which replaced the asphalt with concrete.
When winds are from the south (about 70% of the year), the airfield operates in "South Flow", with arrivals and departures on runways 17R and 17L. Arrivals from the south fly past the west side of the airport before turning 180 degrees and landing on 17L or 17R. This is done so that arriving aircraft clear departing aircraft, which generally turn southeast after departing.
During the other 30% of the year (typically between the fall and spring), the airfield operates in "North Flow", with arrivals and departures on runways 35L and 35R. As in South Flow, departing aircraft generally turn east to southeast immediately after taking off, so arrivals from the north pass west of the airport before turning north to land. Residences near SMF are typically south and east of the airport, so North Flow is preferred at night (between 2145 and 0745 local time), conditions permitting, to route flights over agricultural land.
The airport has two terminals, terminal A and terminal B, with 32 gates, 19 in terminal B and 13 in terminal A. The old terminal B had 14 gates. 11 airlines operate out of Terminal B and 4 airlines operate out of Terminal A. All indoor public areas have free wi-fi (wireless Internet) provided by the Sacramento County Airport System.
Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture has been the Architect of Record for SMF since its inception. The original Terminal B (1967) and Terminal A (1998) were designed by Dreyfuss + Blackford, and they served as the local architect for the new Central Terminal B (landside building, 2011) with Corgan Associates and Fentress Architects.
A Hyatt Place hotel is planned to be built between the two current terminals. Previously, the onsite Host Hotel was demolished in 2008 during Terminal B construction. An in-terminal hotel was proposed for Terminal B, but plans were dropped during the economic downturn of 2008.
Sacramento County Airport System has rolled out an advertising campaign dubbed "Easy as SMF" to tout the convenience of flying through SMF for residents on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. Due to the Terminal B rebuild, until recently SMF charged some of the highest fees for airlines, which discouraged some carriers from operating through SMF. The Oakland and San Francisco airports attract Sacramento-area residents seeking lower fares and more destinations.
Terminal A opened in 1998 with 275,000 sq ft (25,500 m2) of floor space and twelve gates, able to accommodate expansion to 22 gates. The food court in Terminal A was remodeled in 2014–15 in an effort to bring a similar customer experience with unique-to-Sacramento restaurants as provided in Terminal B. Future expansion at Terminal A may include conversion to an airside concourse and the addition of a second automated people mover.
Terminal B was built in 1967 as the main terminal building for the new Sacramento Metropolitan Airport. Dreyfuss + Blackford, the original architects, also designed a renovation and expansion completed in 1999. By that time, Terminal A was complete and frequent travelers described the 1967 Terminal B as "often overcrowded with waiting travelers."
On June 7, 2006 plans were announced to replace Terminal B with a brand new terminal by the year 2012. In 2008, the Sacramento County Airport System broke ground on the largest capital improvement project in the history of the County of Sacramento: "The Big Build". The expanded Terminal B was designed by Corgan Associates, Inc. in association with Fentress Architects. The landside (pre-security) portion of Terminal B was built by the joint venture of Austin Commercial, LP and Walsh Construction, and the glass and aluminum facade was constructed by AGA (Architectural Glass and Aluminum). The airside gates and light rail train were built by Turner Construction. The $1.03 billion terminal modernization project replaced the airport's original, aging Terminal B to meet the rising demand for passenger services and improved the airport's ability to attract new carriers and routes.
The Central Terminal B complex is three times the size of the original Terminal B with the two parts of the complex – airside and landside – connected by the SMF Automated People Mover. The capacity of Terminal B is 16 million passengers per year, which is not expected to be reached until late in the 2020s. Approximately half of the $1 billion cost of the new terminal comes from a new ticket surcharge of $4.50 per passenger and parking fees. Another quarter of the cost is funded by fees charged by the airport to airlines, which in one case tripled from $6.05 per passenger in 2008 to $19.67 by 2013.
Airport officials held a press conference on July 15, 2011 at the California State Fair, announcing the terminal would open on October 6, 2011. This was many months ahead of schedule compared to the original projected opening in 2012.
The new Central Terminal B became fully operational on October 6, 2011. Salvage and deconstruction of the International Arrivals Building and demolition of the original Terminal B was completed November 2012. Travel + Leisure named Terminal B one of the "Coolest New Airport Terminals" in 2012.
The airport's first waiter-serviced restaurants were introduced to the new Terminal B when it opened. These two restaurants are Esquire Grill by famous restaurateur Randy Paragary, a trendy and upscale option, and Cafeteria 15L, a low-cost and budget inspired restaurant with fast food. Other Sacramento favorites held concession stands in the terminal, creating an entirely new Farm To Fork vibe in the airport which Northern California is so renowned for.
The Terminal B lobby prominently features the 2011 artwork "Leap" by Lawrence Argent, consisting of a 56-foot (17 m) long red aluminum rabbit leaping into a large granite suitcase, resulting in the unofficial nickname "the Hare-port." In total, 14 artists were commissioned at a sum cost of $6 million to create artworks for the new Terminal B, including the mixed media wood-and-crystal sculpture "Acorn Steam" by Donald Lipski (named as an anagram of "Sacramento"), the interactive "Your Words are Music to My Ears" by the collaboration Living Lenses, consisting of artists Po Shu Wang and Louise Bertelsen, a large wooden sculpture portrait entitled "The Baggage Handlers" by Christian Moeller, and a painted steel-and-glass house entitled "The House Will Not Pass for Any Color but Its Own, by Mildred Howard.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
|1||San Diego, California||395,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|2||Las Vegas, Nevada||331,000||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit|
|3||Los Angeles, California||311,000||American, Delta, Southwest, United|
|4||Seattle–Tacoma, Washington||298,000||Alaska, Delta, Southwest|
|5||Denver, Colorado||289,000||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|6||Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona||288,000||American, Southwest|
|8||Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas||171,000||American|
|10||Portland, Oregon||167,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|3||Delta Air Lines||603,000||6.97%|
Yolobus bus No. 42A connects the airport to Sacramento, Woodland and Davis. Sacramento Regional Transit bus Express No. 142 and Yolobus bus No. 42B connects directly from Downtown Sacramento to Sacramento Intl. Airport.
Sacramento Regional Transit will provide a future light rail link, an extension of the Green Line, to the airport. Environmental evaluation and clearance for the Green Line is projected to be complete by 2018.
Both Altamont Corridor Express and Amtrak California San Joaquin services are expected to terminate at a nearby planned Natomas/Airport station where bus bridges will complete the journey to the airport.
Accidents and incidentsEdit
- On the afternoon of Thursday, August 26, 2010, JetBlue Flight 262, an Airbus 320 arriving from Long Beach blew four tires upon landing, creating a fire around the plane and causing passengers to evacuate. Out of the 79 passengers and five crew, seven sustained injuries, though none were serious. Five passengers were hospitalized. A JetBlue spokesman said that the flight reported an issue with the brakes. The subsequent NTSB investigation showed the first officer had inadvertently engaged the parking brake while engaging the speed brake at an altitude of about 5,100 feet (1,600 m) above sea level. The subsequent alert via Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring was also canceled by the first officer as part of his routine to preempt the alert associated with disconnecting the autopilot in preparation for landing.
- At about 6:30 PM on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, Seattle-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 2287 aborted take-off due to two blown-out tires. The plane reportedly made a hard landing, and all 130 passengers aboard survived.
- Shortly before 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, a pilot on an in-bound FedEx Express McDonnell Douglas MD-10-30 noticed a possible engine fire on one of the engines, with smoke showing. The aircraft declared an emergency and landed successfully. Emergency ground crews reported to the incident and determined that the on-board extinguishers had successfully extinguished the fire. Maintenance crews determined the aircraft could safely be towed to the cargo ramp for inspection and repairs.
- On Wednesday, November 25, 2015 around 5:45 pm, United Airlines Flight 2005 from SMF to Denver, an Airbus A320 with 114 people on board, was forced to turn around after an engine was damaged by a bird strike. About 10 minutes into the flight, the bird strike and subsequent explosion in the engine forced the plane to return to the airport. It landed at about 6:30 p.m., with no injuries reported. The airliner was taken out of commission to make repairs on the engine.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sacramento International Airport.|
- (PDF), effective November 5, 2020
- Resources for this airport:
- Sacramento International Airport (official site)