Westchester County Airport (IATA: HPN, ICAO: KHPN, FAA LID: HPN) is a county-owned airport in Westchester County, New York, three miles (6 km) northeast of the central business district of White Plains, in the towns of Harrison, North Castle and Rye. The airfield is also sometimes referred to as White Plains Airport and has been identified by this name in the past by the Official Airline Guide (OAG).
It serves suburban Westchester County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut (the New York-Connecticut state border coincides with the airport's eastern limits). It also serves the New York metropolitan area, as it is about 33 miles (53 km) north of Midtown Manhattan.
The Westchester County Airport is currently served by five commercial airlines which includes regional code sharing affiliates flying scheduled passenger service on behalf of their respective major airline partners to sixteen destinations in the United States. Two scheduled charter airlines also offer flights out of the airport.
This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport. As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 904,482 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 964,927 enplanements in 2009, and 999,831 in 2010.
Westchester County Airport was built during World War II in 1942 as a home to an Air National Guard unit to protect New York City and Rye Lake, part of the city's water supply system. In May 1983, with the growth of suburban Westchester, the Guard unit abandoned Westchester Air National Guard Base and moved to Stewart International Airport, in Orange County.
The first scheduled airline flights were operated by American Airlines in late 1949 with a weekday morning flight from New York LaGuardia Airport to HPN with continuing service to Syracuse and beyond which then returned in the evening. Mohawk Airlines replaced American in 1955 with Mohawk and successor Allegheny Airlines serving HPN until 1979. The first scheduled jet flight was operated by Mohawk with a British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven in 1965. Before the passing of the federal Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, the airport was served in 1976 by Allegheny Airlines operating BAC One-Eleven twin jets and also by several commuter air carriers including Air Speed, Command Airways and Commuter Airlines operating small prop and turboprop aircraft. Air Florida arrived in 1980 and United Airlines during the mid 1980s. American Airlines also resumed mainline service. On January 5, 2006, the airport was the point of departure for the last flight operated by regional carrier Independence Air with this service departing to Washington, D.C. at 7:26 pm.
Major airlines that previously served the airport with mainline jet aircraft include American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Republic Airlines (1979-1986), United Airlines and USAir (now American Airlines). New start up carriers Air Florida, AirTran Airways, Carnival Air Lines and Midway Airlines also served the airport with jets. AirTran began service at the airport in 2006 with flights to Atlanta, Orlando and West Palm Beach. These flights ended on August 11, 2012. Smaller regional and commuter air carriers that previously operated flights included Air North, Altair Airlines, Business Express Airlines, Boston-Maine Airways (operating as Pan Am Clipper Connection), Brockway Air, Command Airways, Commuter Airlines, Continental Express (now United Express), Empire Airlines, Independence Air, Island Air, Mall Airways and USAir Express.
These airlines previously operated the following twin jet aircraft types into the airport over the years:Air Florida - Boeing 737-200
AirTran - Boeing 717-200
Allegheny Airlines - British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven
American Airlines - Fokker 100
Carnival Air Lines - Boeing 737-200
Continental Express - Embraer ERJ-135 (operated by ExpressJet on behalf of Continental Airlines)
Empire Airlines - Fokker F28 Fellowship
Midway Airlines - Douglas DC-9-10
Mohawk Airlines - British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven
Northwest Airlines - McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
Republic Airlines (1979-1986) - McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
United Airlines - Boeing 737-200, 737-300 and 737-500
USAir (now American Airlines) - Fokker 100
In addition to the above twin jets, Northwest Jetlink operated by Mesaba Airlines flew British Aerospace Avro RJ85 four engine jetliners into the airport on behalf of Northwest Airlines.
During the summer of 1981, Air Florida was operating nonstop Boeing 737-200 jet service to Bermuda from the airport.
JetBlue began service at the airport in 2007 and is now the airport's largest carrier with 11 daily round trips to five destinations. JetBlue is currently the only airline to serve the airport with mainline jet aircraft.
In June 2009 Cape Air added service to Westchester, with service to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Cape Air introduced service to Lebanon Municipal Airport in New Hampshire in early 2010. All Cape Air flights depart and arrive from the Signature Flight Support facility south of the Main Terminal due to a lack of ticket counter space in the main terminal building.
In June 2010 a regional airline affiliate of Air Canada announced it would cease all flights into the airport. Commuter code sharing service with Beechcraft turboprop aircraft was flown on behalf of Air Canada for several years between the airport and Toronto. This ended international flights until service to the Bahamas began in 2011. However, the airport currently does not have any international nonstop service.
On November 18, 2010 American Airlines ended its American Eagle regional airline service to the airport and instead introduced American Connection flights operated by Chautauqua Airlines as a replacement flying smaller Embraer ERJ-140 regional jet aircraft. Later, the American Connection name was dropped and American Eagle service returned.
In 2013, Delta Air Lines announced that it would start seasonal service to Orlando starting in December of that year. This service is currently operated on a seasonal basis by regional code sharing affiliate Delta Connection.
In December 2015, Tradewind Aviation will begin service to the Morrisville-Stowe Airport in northern Vermont.
HPN is nestled between many existing neighborhoods and has many rules that must be followed. HPN officials started the Westchester County Airport Aircraft Noise study which set up Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring Systems (ANOMS) around the airport. The ANOMS measure the sound in the surveying area and compare it to the sound of airplanes and the sound of the neighborhoods surrounding the airport. With the help of these devices, HPN officials have located the problems where noise is affecting the area the most.
HPN has implemented six programs that help reduce noise. The first program as stated earlier is the Voluntary Restraint from Flying or VRFF. The VRFF is a curfew for planes to encourage them not to fly during the hours of midnight to six in the morning. Another program is High Range Noise Event Program which uses the ANOMS. If an ANOMS pick up reading of higher than 90 decibels that airplane is then contacted by HPN officials. HPN also has programs that do not allow airplane larger than 12,500 pounds to takeoff at the runway intersections, or run-up their engines without prior approval of airport operations.
After several renovations, as well as discussions about the airport's viability, the airport is currently served by six scheduled passenger airlines with flights to sixteen destinations in the United States. Although there has always been some controversy about the airport and proposed expansions, more concerns have arisen as a result of passengers seeking relief from the long delays at the other New York airports. The most recent concerns have to do with flight paths and traffic congestion; the latter has been addressed by the County of Westchester with Bee-Line bus service to the airport and the encouragement of travelers to get rides to the airport.
The airport's environmental management practices are monitored through the AEMS, an ISO 14001 certified Airport Environmental Management System; airport employees receive environmental training. The facility was, in 2004, the third airport in the U.S. to achieve this level of environmental performance.
Also, due to its location near a number of residential neighborhoods, Westchester County Airport instituted a Voluntary Restraint from Flying Program, sometimes referred to as a voluntary curfew, which has helped to ease some of the local concern of noise resulting from airport activity. In an effort to alleviate concerns over expansion and noise, planning studies are done on a regular basis.
In May 2011 NYSDOT released the "New York Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study," quantifying the level of economic activity that was attributable to the aviation sector for the year 2009 in the State of New York. The study noted that HPN was one of only three airports in the state that gained emplanements, performing better than the U.S. benchmark. The study also noted that the total economic impact of the airport was approximately $736 million.
The IATA code for Westchester County Airport is HPN. There is a debate in the origins of this code. Many believe that it is derived from the name of the city, White Plains (IATA codes normally do not begin with W because those are reserved for radio signals). Others believe the IATA code represents the first letter of the three neighboring communities, Harrison, Purchase, and North Castle. The full ICAO code for Westchester County Airport is KHPN.
Westchester County Airport covers 702 acres (284 ha) at an elevation of 439 feet (134 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 16/34 is 6,549 by 150 feet (1,996 x 46 m) and 11/29 is 4,451 by 150 feet (1,357 x 46 m). Runway 29's threshold is displaced 1,297 feet (395 m) due to trees obstructing the approach path. The trees (in Connecticut) are 37 ft (11 m) tall and 370 ft (113 m) from the end of the runway.
Westchester County Airport has several fixed-base operators (FBOs), including Signature Flight Support East and West, Landmark East and West, NetJets, and Million Air. Although varied in services offered, the FBOs at Westchester County Airport provide Jet A and 100LL fueling services, repairs and maintenance, aircraft tiedowns, de-icing, United States Customs, and other aircraft services. Some of the FBOs are particularly luxurious, providing limousine transportation services and deluxe surroundings.
There are three flight schools. Performance Flight operates out of the Million Air at Hangar M, while Academy of Aviation operates out of Landmark West at Hangar T. Wings Air offers helicopter flight training out of Hangar C-2. Additionally, the Westchester Flying Club, a private organization of pilots, is based at the airport as well as the Westchester Aviation Association, a not-for-profit organization which promotes aviation education and understanding on the part of government authorities and the public.
Westchester County Airport is also the home of the New York Wing Civil Air Patrol headquarters, the Lt. Anthony L. Willsea Cadet Squadron (NY-422).
Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) is provided by Airport Operations Crews. The airport owns three ARFF apparatus (three Oshkosh Striker 1500s), two of which are in service full-time. The ARFF Crews only respond to aircraft emergencies. All structure related fire and rescue calls go to the local fire departments. For example, the Purchase Fire Department handles all structure calls on the southern part of the airfield, the Armonk Fire Department handles calls on the northern part and the Rye Brook/Port Chester Fire Department handle all calls on the east end, including the main terminal. EMS calls are handled by Port Chester-Rye-Rye Brook EMS, Harrison EMS and Armonk Fire/EMS depending on location of call.
In 2010 the airport had 191,017 total aircraft operations, an average of 523 per day: 23% commercial aviation, 48% heavy general aviation, and 29% light general aviation. There are 316 aircraft, including helicopters, based out of this airport.
Westchester County Airport has one small three-level terminal with six gate spaces, of which only four may be used because only four aircraft may be scheduled to use the Terminal Ramp at any time. The $35 million terminal was built in 1995 and designed by Lothrop Associates. Gates C and F are the only gates that have jetways. The terminal also has one luggage carousel, one baggage reclaim office and two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening lanes.
In November 2015, the airport began a $30 million construction project to expand the terminal and ramp areas. The project will expand the terminal by 20% and include additional check-in, screening and passenger waiting areas. The expansion will also include the addition of four new Jetbridges.Westchester County Airport was used in the film Meet the Parents to represent Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport.
The airport was a filming location for The Best Man and Random Hearts.
The 1986 film SpaceCamp mentions White Plains as a possible landing site for the space shuttle; the characters soon realize that the landing site they're thinking of is the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, and not the airport (which is far too small to handle a shuttle landing).
Westchester County Airport was used in a Law & Order episode called "All in the Family."
In The West Wing episode "Celestial Navigation" Leo tells Toby and Sam to "Fly to Westchester County Airport and rent a car" in order to get their United States Supreme Court nominee, Roberto Mendoza, out of jail in Connecticut.
In an episode of The Newsroom, Don Keefer explains to Sloan Sabbith that the most likely airports for out-of-town equity firm executives to utilize while visiting New York City in their private jets would be either "Teterboro or White Plains."
The airport was featured in the remake of the Thomas Crowne Affair as a double for JFK airport. A character is told to "go up the escalator and make a left" to reach the International gates. Doing so would actually put her in the parking garage.