Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport
|Owner/Operator||Savannah Airport Commission|
|Serves||Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina|
|Focus city for||Allegiant Air (effective June 6, 2019)|
|Elevation AMSL||50 ft / 15 m|
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (IATA: SAV, ICAO: KSAV, FAA LID: SAV) is a commercial and military-use airport in Savannah, Georgia, United States. Owned by the City of Savannah and managed by the Savannah Airport Commission, Savannah/Hilton Head International is located seven nautical miles (8 mi, 13 km) northwest of the Savannah Historic District. Its previous names include Savannah International Airport, Travis Field and Chatham Field. The airport’s passenger terminal is directly accessible to Interstate 95 between Savannah and the suburban city of Pooler. Savannah/Hilton Head International is the chief commercial airport for Savannah, the Coastal Empire region of southeast Georgia and the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where the resort town of Hilton Head accounts for some 40 percent of total airport passenger traffic.
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. U.S. Customs facilities are on the field and the airport is part of a Foreign Trade Zone.
In 2018, Savannah/Hilton Head International handled a record 2,799,526 commercial airline passengers (1,395,040 enplanements and 1,404,486 deplanements), a 13.4 percent increase over 2017. It is second only to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport as Georgia’s busiest commercial airport.
Savannah/Hilton Head is served by Delta (and Delta Connection carrier Shuttle America), JetBlue, United Airlines, American Airlines, American Eagle, Air Canada, Allegiant Air and Sun Country Airlines. An information counter provides local information regarding tourist attractions in Savannah, Hilton Head, and most other coastal areas of Georgia and southern South Carolina.
The first Savannah Municipal Airport was opened on September 20, 1929, with the inauguration of air service between New York City and Miami by Eastern Air Express. In 1932, a city resolution named the airport Hunter Field. A trolley car was used as the first terminal at Hunter Field in the mid-1930s. In 1940, the U.S. Army Air Corps proposed to take over Hunter Field if a war started. While commercial airlines continued to use Hunter Field, the city decided to build a second municipal airport in response to the increased military presence.
The City of Savannah acquired a 600-acre tract near Cherokee Hill, one of the highest elevations in the county, and construction of a new airfield began under a Works Progress Administration project. Three 3,600-foot runways were constructed running north–south, east–west, and northeast–southwest. In 1942, before the completion of this new airfield, the U.S. Army Air Corps decided to take over the new facility and start additional construction to carry out its mission. It named the airfield Chatham Field and used it until the end of World War II as a bomber base and crew training base for B-24 bombers as well as fighter aircraft.
In 1948, Chatham Army Airfield was turned over to the Georgia Air National Guard and the airport was renamed Travis Field, in honor of Savannah native Brigadier General. Robert F. Travis, killed in the crash of a B-29 bomber near Fairfield-Suisun AFB, California, and his brother, Colonel William Travis. To accommodate the airlines, Travis Field received a new control tower and an airline terminal in the former base theater.
In 1958, work began on a new airline terminal. In 1962, an additional extension brought the east/west runway’s length to 9,000 ft (2,700 m). The jet age arrived in 1965 when Delta Air Lines introduced Douglas DC-9-10 flights. Grumman Aircraft opened a $7.5 million Gulfstream manufacturing plant at Travis in 1967. A new $21-million terminal building was built on the northwest corner of the airport in 1994.
A six-gate terminal built in 1960 was replaced in 1994 by the current facility. Although the airport had no direct international flights at the time, it was renamed Savannah International Airport in 1983, then Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in 2003. International service was finally realized in 2017 when Air Canada began seasonal service between Toronto and Savannah.
In 1992, the airport had international service with nonstop flights to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico when Key Airlines was operating a passenger hub in Savannah. Key Airlines also operated nonstop mainline jet service to a number of U.S. cities at this time and from Savannah. According to the Key Airlines system timetable dated October 1, 1992, nonstop services primarily operated with Boeing 727-100 and 727-200 jetliners were being flown from the airport to Antigua (ANU), Aruba (AUA), Atlanta (ATL), Baltimore (BWI), Boston (BOS), Cancun (CUN), Chicago Midway Airport (MDW), Cozumel (CZM), Curaçao (CUR), Freeport (FPO), Montego Bay (MBJ), Nassau (NAS), New York Newark Airport (EWR), Orlando (MCO), St. Maarten (SXM) and St. Thomas (STT). In addition to these nonstop flights, one-stop direct service was also flown by the airline from Savannah to St. Croix (STX). Key Airlines subsequently experienced financial difficulties and then ceased all flights in 1993.
Some 3,680 feet (1,120 m) from the west end of Runway 10 (the main east–west runway) are two concrete grave markers. A runway extension project placed the runway through a small family plot and the graves of the airport property’s two original owners. Because the family did not want to remove and relocate the graves, the markers were placed in the asphalt runway.
Runway 10 is thought to be the only airport runway in the United States with marked gravestones in it. Federal law generally prohibits the moving of a grave without the permission of the next of kin. In this case, two graves of the Dotson Family, the earliest grave dating backed to 1857, were encountered during the construction of the runway. Since the next of kin could not be located, the graves were left undisturbed. Two additional graves are located off the runway surface.
The new 275,000 sq. ft. Terminal opened in May 1994 with 8 gates (expandable to 19 gates). The project included new roads, a new aircraft taxiway and parking apron, stormwater ponds, landscaping and a new interchange at I-95 for entry into the Airport (Exit 18-A) at mile marker 104. Total cost for the project was $68.5 million. It was completed one month ahead of schedule and under budget. It was designed by KBJ Architects
A terminal expansion project was completed in July 2007, adding five departure gates (for a total of fifteen). A $35-million parking garage was completed in October of the same year, which added 1,700 parking spaces and uses an electronic program to alert drivers to the number of available spaces on each garage level.
Visitor Information Center
There is a Visitor Information Center located near the baggage claim in the airport. The staff can assist guests with finding Georgia and South Carolina attractions, turn-by-turn directions, transportation advice, mailing a package, Georgia lottery sales and sending a fax.
The Visitor Information Center offers:
- Tourist brochures
- Ground transportation needs
- Area maps
- Flight information
- In-terminal announcements
- Post office
- Copies and faxes
Parking and public transportation
The airport has three parking lots. The economy parking offers hourly, daily and weekly options for short or long term parking. The Savannah Value Park provides exclusive parking to residents of the City of Savannah. The Long Term/Hourly Parking area is closest to the airport terminal.
The Chatham Area Transit (CAT) 100X Airport Express to the airport originates at Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center.
Also located on the airport is Savannah Air National Guard Base, home to the 165th Airlift Wing (165 AW) of the Georgia Air National Guard. The 165 AW flies the C-130H Hercules tactical airlift aircraft and, as an Air National Guard (ANG) unit, is under the operational claimancy of the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 165 AW, including the collocated Georgia ANG Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), consists of over 310 full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, and over 700 additional “traditional” part-time air national guardsmen.
Savannah ANGB has over 145 buildings and 239 acres of leased land in the southeast and northeast quadrants of the airport.
It is home of the Air Dominance Center.
Facilities and aircraft
- 10/28: 9,351 ft. x 150 ft. (2,850 m x 46 m)
- 01/19: 7,002 ft. x 150 ft. (2,134 m x 46 m)
For the 12-month period ending June 30, 2018, the airport had 94,332 aircraft operations, an average of 258 per day: 41% general aviation, 21% air taxi, 28% scheduled commercial, and 9% military. At that time there were 122 aircraft based at this airport: 81 single-engine, 12 multi-engine, 15 jet, 6 helicopter, and 8 military.
Airlines and destinations
|UPS Airlines||Columbia (SC)|
|1||Delta Air Lines||756,000||28.75%|
|2||PSA Airlines (American Eagle)||383,000||14.58%|
|6||Air Canada Express, Frontier, Sun Country, United, United Express||773,000||29.42%|
|1||Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson International (ATL)||379,070||Delta|
|2||Charlotte/Douglas International (CLT)||193,590||American|
|3||New York City Kennedy (JFK)||127,000||Delta, JetBlue|
|4||Newark Liberty International (EWR)||95,560||Allegiant, United|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW)||77,590||American|
|6||Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)||62,240||American, United|
|7||Boston Logan International (BOS)||50,890||Delta, JetBlue|
|8||Washington Dulles International (IAD)||48,700||United|
|9||New York City LaGuardia (LGA)||48,600||Delta|
|10||Philadelphia International (PHL)||42,210||American, Frontier|
|8 miles (13 km)||SSE||Hunter Army Airfield||Savannah, Georgia|
|26 miles (42 km)||SW||MidCoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield||Hinesville, Georgia|
|28 miles (45 km)||NNE||Ridgeland Airport||Ridgeland, South Carolina|
|30 miles (48 km)||ENE||Hilton Head Airport||Hilton Head Island, South Carolina|
|36 miles (58 km)||NE||Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort||Beaufort, South Carolina|
|38 miles (61 km)||NE||Beaufort County Airport||Beaufort, South Carolina|
|40 miles (64 km)||NW||Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport||Statesboro, Georgia|
|64 miles (103 km)||NNE||Lowcountry Regional Airport||Walterboro, South Carolina|
|68 miles (109 km)||W||Vidalia Regional Airport||Vidalia, Georgia|
|85 miles (137 km)||NE||Charleston International Airport / Joint Base Charleston||Charleston, South Carolina|
Accidents and Incidents
- On May 2, 2018 a Lockheed C-130H Hercules of the USAF attached to the Puerto Rico Air National Guard on a military flight to Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona stalled and crashed after takeoff 2 km NE of the airport on Georgia State Highway 21 due to the failure of the #1 engine and improper application of left rudder, all 9 occupants were killed.
- FAA Airport Master Record for SAV ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. effective November 15, 2012.
- Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport, official website
- “IATA Airport code Search (SAV: Savannah / Hilton Head)”. International Air Transport Association. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- “Savannah/Hilton Head Airport expands, updates,” Delta Sky Magazine, December 2007. Accessed March 21, 2008.
- Directions from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to 100 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island[permanent dead link] Mapquest, Accessed March 21, 2008.
“2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A” (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. External link in
- departedflights.com, Key Airlines Oct. 1, 1992 system timetable & Oct. 1, 1992 Key Airlines system timetable & route map
- “At Peace With the Jets”. Savannah Morning News. August 28, 2001. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- “Aviation”. KBJ Architects, Inc. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012.
- “Savannah International Airport”. GlobalSecurity.org.
- “Flight Schedules”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “Allegiant adds Albany, NY, Providence flights to Savannah service”. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- “Allegiant expanding service into Savannah, announces 4 new nonstop routes”. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- “Allegiant Air”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “Flight schedules and notifications”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “American Airlines plans additional domestic routes in S18”. RoutesOnline. December 17, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
- “FLIGHT SCHEDULES”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “Frontier”. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
- “JetBlue Airlines Timetable”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “Sun Country Airlines”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “Timetable”. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- “United Airlines: Three new routes for fast-growing Denver hub”. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- “Savannah, GA: Savannah/Hilton Head International (SAV) | transtats.bts.gov/airports – The United States Department of Transportation”. wtranstats.bts.gov/airports. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- “RITA – BTS – Transtats”.
- Accident description for 65-0968 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on April 11, 2019.
- Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport, official website
- Fixed-base operators (FBO): Signature Flight Support and Sheltair
- Aerial image as of January 1999 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective April 25, 2019
- FAA Terminal Procedures for SAV, effective April 25, 2019
- Resources for this airport: