The Harrisburg area is served by several airports within the region and beyond. These airports provide both passenger and freight transport both in and out of the region.
The primary airport serving the Harrisburg area is Harrisburg International Airport (HIA). This airport, 8 miles southeast of Harrisburg city in Lower Swatara Township, serves both passenger and freight transport needs and has begun to see substantial growth in recent years. In 2016, HIA adopted an updated master plan for the airport which provides a forecast of HIA’s expected operations up through 2033 using a base year of 2013.
In terms of passenger travel, HIA continues to be the third-largest commercial airport in Pennsylvania with 589,511 enplanements in 2016, behind Philadelphia International and Pittsburgh International, according to the FAA. HIA anticipates a 1.4 percent annual growth in enplanements through 2033.
In regards to air cargo, HIA ranks third in the state and 68th in the country in cargo weight landed. It anticipates an exponential increase in air cargo tonnage from its current 58,000 tons to approximately 70,000 in 2033. In order to accommodate this demand, the HIA Master Plan recommends expansion of its cargo apron, sorting facilities and landside area. Along with this expansion, the plan recommends the realignment of Olmsted Drive to reduce conflict between tugs, cargo trucks and the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
HIA is also seeing growth in private development on its property and surrounding areas. In 2018, two new hotels, a new corporate hangar, a new rental car facility and a new fixed base operator facility will be constructed to meet growing demand. In 2020, HIA's cargo facilities will be expanded, and a new Amtrak train station will be constructed in Middletown.
As part of its transportation planning efforts, HATS can continue to do the following in terms of aviation:
- Continue to support regional economic growth through SARAA’s efforts;
- Be proactive in planning for the anticipated increase in traffic with new developments in and around HIA;
- Educate nearby municipalities on transportation and land use controls to help monitor the anticipated increase in traffic with new developments in and around HIA.