Tri-Cities Airport (IATA: PSC, ICAO: KPSC, FAA LID: PSC) is a public airport 2 miles (3 km) northwest of Pasco, in Franklin County, Washington, USA. It is the fourth largest commercial airport in the state of Washington, and has three runways.
The Tri-Cities Airport (then the Pasco Airport) was site of the first air mail contract flight between Elko, Nevada and Pasco, Washington made by Varney Airlines, (later United Airlines) in 1926. The airport was relocated to its present site and became known as the Franklin County Airport. The United States Navy built Naval Air Station Pasco during World War II. After the war, the Navy sold the field to the city of Pasco, but still retains training privileges. Several Navy aircraft, especially the P-3 Orion, use the field for landing and take-off training. The Port of Pasco then took ownership in 1963 and opened doors to a new Terminal Building in 1966.
In 1955 the old administration building became the home of the newly established Columbia Basin College, which it remained until the current facility near Interstate 182 was built in 1966. The building later was leased to the Pasco School District #1, for use as Pasco Alternative High School (now New Horizons High School) until it was destroyed by fire in the mid-1980s. The new school is now sited near Columbia Basin College.
Pasco has had jet flights on several airlines, including Air West and Hughes Airwest with Douglas DC-9s, Cascade Airways with BAC One-Elevens, Delta Airlines with Boeing 727-200s and 737-300s, Alaska Airlines with Boeing 727s,Horizon Air with Fokker F-28s and West Coast Airlines with DC-9s. Currently, scheduled passenger flights are mostly regional jet and turboprop although Allegiant Air operates MD80s and Delta operates Airbus A319s/320s as well as Boeing 717s. Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, currently uses Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft to fly to the airport.
An expansion and remodel project took place in 1986 that included access roads, parking lots, aircraft parking apron and more than doubling the size of the terminal.
In 2003 the airport underwent another expansion and remodel that added an additional 3,000 square feet (280 m2) to the ticket lobby and boarding area.
In 2014, the Port of Pasco approved a $42 million renovation and expansion, that will double the size of the current terminal. The construction began in August 2014 and is to be completed in January 2017. The first phase of the expansion was completed on September 7, 2015, which included a new west concourse with gates 3, 4 and 5 as well as new car rental and baggage claim areas. The second phase started shortly thereafter and is scheduled to be completed in Summer 2016. This phase will demolish the old boarding area and replace it with a new east concourse that will house gates 1 and 2.
On January 27, 2017, the $42 million airport renovation and expansion, which added a new terminal, security area and baggage handling system was officially opened to the public. The new terminal is intended to meet the needs of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area for the next 20 years, with passenger boardings in 2016 reaching a new high of 375,758.
The airport's terminal at the south end of the field is the property of the Port of Pasco, at the north end of North 20th Avenue. Firefighting, however, is handled by the City of Pasco. A new fire station has recently been built on the terminal grounds. The old Navy station buildings on the north end of the airport are being used by other firms.
The airport is undergoing a major resurfacing of the runways, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
General and corporate aviation are important to PSC and they have many facilities to accommodate them. The airport has over 120 based aircraft that belong to business and general aviation operators. T-hangars are available on airport and two FBOs offer fuel and other services, Bergstrom Aircraft Inc. and Tri-Cities Aviation. The airport has two aircraft sales companies on field, JD Aircraft Sales and Viper Aircraft Corp. Both the aircraft sales companies also offer storage as well.
PSC also has commercial air traffic. The airport is served by the regional affiliates of such airlines such as Alaska and United. Delta Air Lines and Allegiant Air operate mainline jets at present. Delta Air Lines flies Boeing 717s as well as Airbus A319s/A320s, with Allegiant Air flying McDonnell Douglas MD-83s. Alaska Airlines, operated by Horizon Air, currently flies Bombardier Q400 aircraft on all services.Empire Airlines operates FedEx Feeder also to the airport from Spokane Intl (GEG). The FedEx facility on field goes through 40,000 pounds of inbound cargo daily. Empire Airlines usually operates ATR-42s, & Cessna 208 Caravans. They have also been known to operate ATR-72s during higher cargo volume periods. The FedEx facility is a major source of revenue for the community and they are planning to expand their facilities at PSC in the near future.