The Kalamazoo / Battle Creek International Airport is located three nautical miles south-east of the city of Kalamazoo and near to the city of Battle Creek.
The annual capacity of the airport is 250,000. About 190 aircraft arrive and depart from the airport each week.
The inspiration for an International Airport in Kalamazoo / Battle Creek began in 1925 and, in May 1926, the city of Kalamazoo purchased 383 acres near Kilgore and Portage roads for the airport. The scheduled air service between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, and the first regular air mail service, also started in July 1928. The field was licensed as the first municipal airport of Michigan in February 1929.
The airport is serviced by American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Direct Air Charter and Mesaba Aviation. It is self-sufficient and has significant economic impact on southern Michigan.
The airport has two terminals. A seven-gate terminal became operational in 1958, replacing an older terminal. The 12,000ft² terminal was expanded in 1979 to 30,000ft². In 1989, it was renovated with a new concourse, a bigger boarding area and a new baggage claim area. The terminal has 23 check-in desks, five gates and two airbridges.
Facilities include five car rental companies, limousine service, ATM, visitor’s information booth, ‘Flight Deck Café’, ‘Old Fisherman’s Pub’ and Jet Transit Air Freight.
New terminal building project
Construction of a new terminal began at the airport in June 2009. The new terminal will have a space of 59,000ft² which includes 15,000ft² of glass, making it brighter and more open than the current terminal.
The five-gate terminal will include expansion of security checkpoints, baggage claim area, covered passenger boarding for all flights, second-level gates for boarding and expanded rental car facilities. The terminal will have bridges at all five gates, removing the need for passengers to walk across the tarmac.
The terminal was opened on 27 April 2011. RS&H provided the design for the new building. The design gave a significant expansion capability to the airport to meet the needs of air service in the region in the future.
The architecture reflects the history and culture of the region by adhering to appropriate materials, local imagery and indigenous landscaping.
Skanska USA was the construction contractor for the new terminal. The company appointed 23 local sub-contractors from the southwest Michigan region. There were 181 workers on the building site.
The Kalamazoo / Battle Creek International Airport has three runways. The 17 / 35 is 1,981m. It was relocated by 400° to the south in 2007. The 5 / 23 is 1,047m-long. The 9 / 27 runway was removed in 2007 was constructed 100° west of the existing one and is 853m-long.
Runway 17 / 35 can facilitate CAT III and ILS aircraft sizes for landing while the other two runways can facilitate 60,000lbs and DTW aircraft sizes.
All the runways are made of asphalt.
The airport has 94 short-term parking spaces and 1,307 long-term parking spaces. Apart from passenger transportation the airport also handles cargo. It has a warehouse capacity of 2,518ft².
Air traffic control
The airport has an air traffic control tower and a traffic control centre (Tracon). The ATC tower was commissioned in 1969 and it works from 6am to 11pm. A new ATC tower is currently under construction. It is scheduled to be completed in 2013. The ATC will be constructed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) using $7m of government funds. Annual allocations in the range of 20m to $30m will be made by the government towards the project.
The airport’s radar service area enables carrying out clearance delivery and approach and departure control services.
The Tracon handles only Kalamazoo airspace. Once the new tower is completed, a fully-fledged Tracon will be able to handle approach and departure control for Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo airspace.
Road and rail transportation
There are both road and rail facilities to reach the airport.
Medieval Institute runs buses to meet all incoming flights at the airport. Taxi service is also available. Amtrak trains, which run in Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac and Chicago-East Lansing-Port Huron routes, serve Kalamazoo airport daily.
A single engine Beechcraft aircraft crash landed on the north end of the runway in October 2009. The pilot died in the accident.
Cessna 172 crashed on 4 April 2004, when it was blown off the runway by high winds. There were no causalities or injuries reported in the incident. North Central Convair 580 hit a sparrowhawk soon after take-off and crash landed in a cornfield. The incident happened in July 1978 and there were no casualties.