Nashville International Airport
Berry Field
Airport in 2011; note that this is before any of the later expansions
Summary
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorMetropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA)
ServesNashville metropolitan area
OpenedJune 12, 1937; 86 years ago (1937-06-12)[1]
Operating base for
Elevation AMSL599 ft / 183 m
Coordinates36°07′36″N 086°40′55″W / 36.12667°N 86.68194°W / 36.12667; -86.68194
Websiteflynashville.com
Maps
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
Map
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2L/20R 7,704 2,348 Concrete
2C/20C 8,001 2,439 Concrete
2R/20L 8,001 2,439 Concrete
13/31 11,030 3,362 Concrete
Statistics (2023)
Total passengers22,877,671
Aircraft operations271,842
Based aircraft (2021)101
Source: Nashville International Airport[3]

Nashville International Airport (IATA: BNA, ICAO: KBNA, FAA LID: BNA) is a public/military airport in the southeastern section of Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Established in 1937, its original name was Berry Field, from which its ICAO and IATA identifiers are derived. The current terminal was built in 1987, and the airport took its current name in 1988. Nashville International Airport has four runways and covers 4,555 acres (1,843 ha) of land.[4][5] It is the busiest airport in Tennessee,[6] with more boardings and arrivals than all other airports in the state combined.

Aerial image of Sky Harbor Airport 1934

The airport was first served by American Airlines and Eastern Air Lines, and was a hub for American in the late 20th century. The airport now offers service to 99 destinations across the United States as well as a number of international destinations including London's Heathrow Airport on British Airways. In fiscal year 2022, it averaged 600 daily aircraft movements.[7]

Joint Base Berry Field, formerly Berry Field Air National Guard Base, is located at Nashville International Airport. The base is home to the 118th Wing and the 1/230th Air Cavalry Squadron Tennessee Army National Guard.[8]

History

Origins

Eastward view of Berry Field's original administration building

Nashville's first airport was Hampton Field, which operated until 1921. It was replaced by Blackwood Field in the Hermitage community, which operated between 1921 and 1928. The first airlines to serve Nashville, American Airlines and Eastern Air Lines, flew out of Sky Harbor Airport in nearby Rutherford County.[9]

By 1935, the need for an airport larger and closer to the city than Sky Harbor Airport was realized and a citizens' committee was organized by Mayor Hilary Ewing Howse to choose a location. A 340-acre (1.4 km2) plot along Dixie Parkway (now Murfreesboro Road) composed of four farms was selected, and construction began in 1936 as one of the first major Works Progress Administration projects in the area. The airport was dedicated on November 1, 1936, as Berry Field, named after Col. Harry S. Berry, the Tennessee administrator for the Works Progress Administration. It opened in June 1937 with much fanfare, including parades, an air show, and an aerial bombardment display by the 105th Aero Squadron, which was based at the field.[10] Passenger service began in mid-July through American Airlines and Eastern Airlines, both of which operated Douglas DC-3s. The new airport had three asphalt runways, a three-story passenger terminal, a control tower, two hangars and a beacon, and was built at a cost of $1.2 million. In its first year Berry Field served 189,000 passengers.[9][11][12]

Tennessee National Guard facilities at Berry Field during World War II

During World War II, the airfield was requisitioned by the United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command as the headquarters for the 4th Ferrying Command for movement of new aircraft overseas. During this time, the Federal government expanded the airport to 1,500 acres (6.1 km2). At the end of the war, the airport was returned to the control of the city, with a number of facilities remaining for support of the tenant unit of the Tennessee National Guard.[11]

The airport had been enlarged by the military during World War II, but in 1958 the City Aviation Department started planning to expand and modernize the airport.[11] In 1961, a new 145,000 square feet (13,500 m2) terminal opened off of Briley Parkway, west of runway 2L. 1961 also saw the first scheduled jets at Berry Field, American Airlines 720/720Bs. For the first time, more than half a million people passed through the airport when the six airlines that served Nashville carried 532,790 passengers. These renovations also included expansion of an existing runway, with 2L/20R being extended by 600 feet (180 m), and the construction of a new crosswind runway, 13/31.[11] In 1962, Nashville became the first municipal airport in the United States with a public reading room when the Nashville Public Library opened a branch inside the terminal.[13]

By the 1970s, the airport was again in need of expansion and modernization. In 1973, the newly created Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) finalized a plan for the long-term growth of the airport; the plan included a new terminal and a new parallel runway across Donelson Pike to increase capacity by reducing time between takeoffs and landings.[11]

In the early 1980s, the MNAA commissioned Robert Lamb Hart, in association with the firm of Gresham, Smith and Partners, to design a modern terminal; construction began on the opposite side of the existing two crossing runways in 1984 and was completed in 1987. The new terminal had three main concourses and a smaller commuter concourse radiating from a distinctive three-story atrium.[9] An international wing was built in Concourse A; the airport was renamed Nashville International Airport/Berry Field. It is now rare to see the "Berry Field" portion used, but the airport's IATA code (BNA) is short for Berry Field Nashville, and the military facilities at the airport are still commonly known by this name. In 1989, a new parallel runway (2R/20L) was opened for use.[11]

Hub years and aftermath

American Airlines announced in 1985 that it would establish a hub at Nashville, and it officially opened in 1986. The hub was intended to compete with Delta Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines and Piedmont Airlines for north–south traffic in the eastern United States.[14] Besides providing nonstop flights to many cities in the U.S. and Canada, American also operated a transatlantic flight from Nashville to London.[15][16] The American hub was touted as a selling point in bringing companies such as Nissan and Saturn Corporation to the Nashville area. Nonetheless, the hub operated at a loss even during its heyday in the early 1990s, like the similarly sized hub American had at Raleigh/Durham.[17]

American's service peaked in 1993 with 265 daily departures to 79 cities, after which flights were gradually scaled back until the hub closed in 1995.[15] American cited the aftermath of the early 1990s recession and the lack of local passengers as reasons for the closure. In the aftermath of the hub closure, Southwest Airlines gradually filled the void by subleasing American's gates and seizing a majority of the Nashville market.[18][19]

In 2002, Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Services (EAMS) selected Nashville as the location for its Regional Airline Support Facility, which was built on the site of the demolished 1961 terminal building.[20]

In October 2006, the Nashville Metropolitan Airport Authority started an extensive renovation of the terminal building, designed by Architectural Alliance of Minneapolis and Thomas, Miller & Partners, PLLC, of Nashville,[21] the first since the terminal opened 19 years prior. Phase one of the project involved updating and expanding food and vending services, improving flight information systems, and construction of a new consolidated security checkpoint for all terminals. Phase one was completed in 2009. Phase two of the project involved the expansion of the ticketing and check-in areas, the construction and renovation of bathrooms, and the renovation of the baggage claim areas. Completion of the second phase of the renovation project occurred in 2011.[22] The renovated terminal was named the Robert C. H. Mathews Jr. Terminal in honor of a MNAA board chair in 2011.[11]

In addition to passenger amenities in the terminal and parking areas, the renovations included improvements to the airport's infrastructure. The largest project was the complete demolition and rebuilding of Runway 2L/20R, which was completed in August 2010. In addition to the rebuilding of Runway 2L/20R, Runway 2C/20C was closed from September through December 2010 for pavement and concrete rehabilitation. BNA's 91 acres (0.37 km2) of tarmac were also rehabilitated during this project after being funded entirely by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allotments.[23]

Recent years

Construction in August 2021

In recent years, the airport has seen rapid growth in both passengers and flights. Southwest Airlines, long the dominant airline in Nashville, has been building up Nashville into one of their top stations, including opening a crew base at the airport.[24] In May 2018, British Airways inaugurated nonstop service to London, restoring transatlantic service for the first time since American ended their London flight in 1995.[25]

To accommodate growth, the Metro Nashville Airport Authority has commenced two expansion programs, entitled "BNA Vision" and "New Horizons" respectively, which are overhauling and expanding many of the airport's facilities.[26] The BNA Vision upgrades consisted of expanding concourses, constructing a new international arrivals facility, constructing new parking garages and an onsite hotel, amongst other things.[27] The New Horizons upgrades will consist of additional concourse expansions, upgrading the baggage handling system and expanding the terminal roadway.[28] BNA Vision was mostly completed in 2023, though the hotel opened in March 2024.[29] New Horizons is scheduled to be completed in 2028.[28]

Facilities

Terminal

Interior of the terminal

The airport has one terminal with five concourses and a total of 54 gates.[30] All non pre–cleared international flights are processed in Concourse T. Gates C4-C11 are located on a satellite concourse.[31]

Entertainment

In keeping with Nashville's tradition as "Music City”, the airport has long featured live music at a number of its restaurants (past security). As of January 2023, there are six such performance areas, with a combined total of over 700 shows each year.[32] One of the oldest honky-tonks in the city, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, has a location in Concourse C.[33]

Carpet

A hallway in 2021 within Nashville International Airport, carpeted entirely using the old design.
A hallway in 2021 within Nashville International Airport, carpeted entirely using the old design.

For roughly a decade, the airport's terminal floors were carpeted with a unique pattern, with swirling patterns layered on top of shades of brown and other neutral colors. An (unofficial) fan Instagram account for the carpet started in 2018 became a significant success, amassing over 28,000 followers as of August 2020[34] and arguably helping establish the carpet as a fan favorite among the public. In August 2020, despite a petition for the airport to keep the carpet,[35] the airport announced it planned to replace the carpet mostly with terrazzo tiles but also, in some places, with a differently patterned carpet.[34] For some time after the announcement, the airport's online store sold doormats made of unused tiles of the old carpet.[34]

Ground transportation

The airport is served by I-40, which has an eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramp to the terminal road. The airport can also be accessed via the Donelson Pike exit. Taxis and ride share pick up in the Ground Transportation Center on Level 1 of Terminal Garage 2.[36]

Nashville International Airport could eventually be connected to downtown Nashville via a light rail line, and the ongoing expansion allows for a connection to be made in the plaza on top of the parking garages.[37] Proposals for Nashville–Atlanta passenger rail include a station stop at the airport.[38]

The Nashville MTA 18 bus services the airport and downtown.[39]

Military facilities

Berry Field Air National Guard Base (ANGB) was located on the premises of Nashville International Airport. Since 1937 it hosted the 118th Airlift Wing (AW). Berry Field faced the removal of its flying mission with the BRAC 2005 recommendation to realign its assets to other units. It initially averted this fate by taking on a new role as the C-130 International Training Center. The C-130s assigned to the unit were eventually transferred and the 118th AW became the 118th Wing, supporting unmanned aircraft operations.[40]

Approximately 1,500 personnel are assigned to both headquarters, Tennessee Air National Guard and to the 118 Air Wing at Berry Air National Guard Base. Approximately 400 are full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, augmented by approximately 1100 traditional part-time air guardsmen.[40]

The last C-130 left Nashville in December 2012,[41] and on April 17, 2015, the first UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters belonging to the Tennessee Army National Guard's 1/230th Air Cavalry Squadron relocated to what is now known as Joint Base Berry Field from Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in Smyrna, Tennessee.[42]

Airlines and destinations

Passenger

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Air Canada Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau (begins May 1, 2024)[43]
[44]
Alaska Airlines Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma [45]
Allegiant Air Akron/Canton, Allentown, Appleton, Bozeman, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Chicago/Rockford (begins May 16, 2024),[46] Des Moines, Fargo, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Flint, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Jacksonville (FL), Orlando/Sanford, Peoria, Pittsburgh, Providence, Provo, Punta Gorda (FL), Richmond, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota, Savannah, Sioux Falls, Syracuse, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Albany, Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Melbourne/Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Portsmouth
[47]
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Cancún, Washington–National
[48]
American Eagle Austin, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa, Washington–National [48]
Avelo Airlines Seasonal: New Haven (CT) [49]
British Airways London–Heathrow[50]
Contour Airlines Charter: Cape Girardeau, Fort Leonard Wood, Tupelo (MS) [51]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma [52]
Delta Connection Austin (begins April 22, 2024),[53] Boston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Raleigh/Durham, Washington–National [54]
Flair Airlines Toronto–Pearson [55]
Frontier Airlines Chicago–O'Hare (begins May 16, 2024),[56] Dallas/Fort Worth (begins April 21, 2024),[57] Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [58]
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale (ends June 13, 2024),[59] New York–JFK [60]
Southern Airways Express Jonesboro [61]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Burbank, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chicago–Midway, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati (begins June 4, 2024), Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Dallas–Love, Denver, Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Greenville/Spartanburg (begins June 4, 2024), Hartford, Houston–Hobby, Houston–Intercontinental, Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, New York–LaGuardia, Norfolk, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario (CA) (resumes June 4, 2024),[62] Orlando, Panama City (FL), Pensacola, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento (resumes June 4, 2024),[62] St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan, Sarasota, Savannah, Tampa, Washington–National
Seasonal: Bozeman (begins June 8, 2024),[62] Buffalo (resumes June 4, 2024),[62] Cancún, Grand Rapids (begins June 8, 2024),[62] Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Orange County, Portland (ME) (resumes June 8, 2024),[62] Richmond (begins October 6, 2024),[63] Seattle/Tacoma (resumes June 8, 2024)[62]
[64]
Spirit Airlines Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York–LaGuardia, Orlando, Philadelphia, Tampa[65] [66]
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Las Vegas, Los Angeles
[67]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles [68]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [68]
WestJet Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton (begins May 2, 2024),[69] Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver, Winnipeg (begins September 15, 2024)[70] [71]

Cargo

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Amazon Air Cincinnati, Riverside, Fort Worth, Wilmington [72]
Atlas Air Anchorage
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Memphis, Miami
FedEx Express Columbus–Rickenbacker, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark, Richmond

Statistics

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from BNA (January 2023 – December 2023)[73]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Denver, Colorado 520,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
2 Atlanta, Georgia 507,000 Delta, Southwest
3 New York–LaGuardia, New York 418,000 American, Delta, Southwest
4 Orlando, Florida 412,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
5 Charlotte, North Carolina 411,000 American, Southwest
6 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 409,000 American
7 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 372,000 American, Southwest, United
8 Los Angeles, California 311,000 American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 306,000 American, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
10 Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 284,000 American, Frontier, Southwest
International routes from BNA, by ridership (October 2021 – September 2022)[74]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Toronto–Pearson, Canada 109,513 Air Canada, Flair, Swoop, WestJet
2 London–Heathrow, United Kingdom 52,745 British Airways
3 Cancún, Mexico 27,416 American, Southwest
4 Calgary, Canada 23,726 WestJet
5 Montréal–Trudeau, Canada 5,449 Air Canada
6 Edmonton, Canada 5,147 Flair

Airline market share

Largest airlines at BNA (July 2022 – June 2023)[73]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Southwest Airlines 10,977,155 51.20%
2 Delta Air Lines 2,205,814 10.29%
3 American Airlines 2,046,693 9.54%
4 United Airlines 1,289,537 6.01%
5 Allegiant Air 814,174 3.80%
6 Other 4,109,524 19.16%

Airport traffic

Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
Annual passenger traffic at BNA airport. See Wikidata query.

Accidents and incidents

See also

References

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