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FlyHIA Blog

HIA Welcomes the World

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jul 20 : 12:00AM

Summer 2015 has brought quite a bit of international activity to Central Pennsylvania.  Beginning two weeks ago with the U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster, a number of competitors of which were from overseas; this week brings 10,000 delegates from the World Mennonite Conference, followed by the Mecum Auto Auction next week and the Little League World Series in August to Williamsport, PA.  All these events will bring international attention to the region.    

An airport’s role is to provide the region it serves with access to the global marketplace.  Every day American, Delta, United and Air Canada provide about 50 flights between HIA and global hubs with connections to practically any destination on the globe.  2014 was a record travel year for International travelers at HIA with more than 80,000 served.  Between January and March 2015, nearly 120 people a day have arrived and departed to and from international destination.  The most popular have been Toronto, Cancun, Montreal, Shanghai and St. Thomas.    

Since July 15th, planning committee members and delegates attending the World Mennonite Conference have arrived at HIA and caught shuttles to area hotels and colleges.  So far, arrivals have been from nearly 25 different countries including Paraguay, Mozambique, Tanzania, Cuba, India, South Korea and Nicaragua.    

As local economies expand globally, International travelers are a key to maintaining current airline service and play an important role in ongoing efforts to bring new flights to our region.    Also, international visitors stay longer and spend more money while visiting than do visitors from other parts of the United States thus creating a significant economic impact. 

As you fly in or out of HIA this summer, please look around and welcome those from different parts of the globe.  We want their stay in our region to be memorable, exciting and as easy as possible.  Thank you to our regions CVB’s, meeting planners, conference venues, hotels and attractions for working hard to put our region on the global map.  And thank you to our airline partners for providing access to global hubs with connections to every continent on the earth.  Combined these efforts are what put the International in Harrisburg International Airport!

Tags: airport, community, Harrisburg International airport, international travel, MDT, summer travel, tourism

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Altogether Better Changes Happening at HIA!

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Apr 20 : 12:00AM

If you have visited HIA recently, you may have noticed some exciting changes that will help to make the airport Altogether Better:

  • New American/US Air Ticket Counters – as part of the integration of the two airlines, American and US Airways are operating under one certificate and now share a new ticket counter at HIA.
  • Air Canada now has its own ticket counter at HIA and has moved to Gate B4 for arrivals and departures.
  • New, more efficient lighting has been installed in the car rental area of the parking garage, making it brighter and easier to locate vehicles.
  • Long term parking shuttle – GPS units were installed in all the long term parking shuttles and a monitor is located along the curbside pickup area so passengers can see when the next shuttle will be arriving. 

Tags: Air Canada, air travel, American Airlines, HIA, terminal

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Spotlight On: Building Operations

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Apr 15 : 12:00AM

Plumbing, HVAC, locksmith, building repairs…these are just a few of the daily tasks the building maintenance crew works on order to make HIA Altogether Better for all our passengers, tenants, and vendors.

The building maintenance department is made up of 14 people who cover all the buildings at HIA and the surrounding properties. The department also assists at the other SARAA owned airports as needed. The department is headed up by Mark Hake, who has been with HIA since 2000 and started out as a plumber and carpenter with the airport.

One of the biggest tasks for the department is maintaining the HVAC systems, which is critical to keeping the terminal and jet bridges a comfortable temperature for passengers. Fluctuating outside temperatures, large windows and many doors opening and closing during the day, add unique challenges to the task.  The department also does a lot of preventive maintenance for the 10-year old terminal building including jet bridge maintenance and general inspections. The department is also often assisted by Ken and Steve from Airfield Maintenance for certain tasks.

One job many people are surprised to learn building maintenance is responsible for is snow removal on the sidewalks, parking lots and streets at HIA.

Thank you Mark, Bill, Kevin, Fred, John, Howard, Stan, Bob, Terry, Tim, Ryan, Nestor, Robert, and Paul for all you do to help make HIA Altogether Better

Tags: equipment, Harrisburg International airport, MDT, snow

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HIA Traffic up in February 2015

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 26 : 12:00AM

February 2015 traffic up

A total of 89,597 passengers used HIA during February 2015—a 2.6% increase when compared to February 2014.  Year-to-date traffic has totaled 182,123 passengers which is 2.3% increase when compared to the first two months of 2014.

“Delta, American, Allegiant, and Frontier all served more passengers this February than February 2014,” said Edwards.    Click here to see February by the numbers.  

International Bookings up 12.4% in January

There were nearly 7,100 International travel bookings at Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) during January 2015 (most recent month for which data is available) an increase of 12.4% when compared to January 2014.  Toronto, Cancun, St. Thomas, Shanghai and Mexico City were the region’s most popular foreign destinations. 

The combined American and US Airways served 34% of HIA’s international travel market followed by United, Delta and Air Canada.  “Providing international travelers to our global airline partners is extremely important to maintain and grow flight options at HIA,” said Tim Edwards, executive director.  “While International travelers make up only about seven percent of all passengers, they generate about 15% of all airline revenues.”

HIA Intl Bookings



% Change





















Central America








South America




Middle East













Source: Sabre


HIA Announces Date of 3rd Annual Open House

SARAA announced August 22, 2015 as the date for it's 3rd Open House.  "With over 5,000 attendees in 2014, we are very excited to see the excitement carried over to 2015," said Scott Miller, Deputy Director, Business Development and Strategic Marketing.  The airport opens the airfield to the community for a static display of aviation equipment as well as airport equipment.  The event is rain or shine from 9am-2pm, Saturday, August 22, 2015.  Visit for updates.  

Tags: air travel, aircraft, airplanes, airshows, equipment, Harrisburg International airport, international travel, MDT, SARAA,

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Making HIA Alogether Better

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 13 : 12:00AM

Everyone knows Harrisburg International Airport is the convenient choice. However, we are working to make the HIA airport experience Altogether Better. What is Altogether Better? To us, Altogether Better means easy access, ample parking, shorter lines at check-in and security, a clean and safe facility with quality food, news and gift choices, free Wi-Fi, and flight options to get you where you need to go. We believe an airport shouldn't be confusing or stressful.

Yet, every day, people have questions or something unexpected arises.

Department Spotlight – Customer Service

“Where are the rental cars located?” “Where do I get the shuttle to long term parking?” “What hotels are nearby?” “Can you tell me when my family member’s flight will arrive?” These are just a few of the many questions our customer service staff answer as they help the 3,500 people a day who choose HIA.  Whether dealing with flight delays and diversions or simply helping a plane full of families returning from Disney, the HIA customer service staff work to make the passenger and visitor experience Altogether Better by providing timely answers and pointing people in the right direction. The customer service team answers HIA’s main phone line, staffs the information desk, and works in the Susquehanna Club, HIA’s frequent flyer club located in concourse A. Our customer service staff has more than 25 years of experience and plays a crucial role in keeping airport operations running smoothly.

Here are some tips from our customer service staff on how to make your time at HIA Altogether Better:

1.       Write down the row number or take a picture of where you parked so you can easily find your vehicle.

2.       If you are picking someone up at the airport, make sure you have their flight number so we can help you check the status.

3.       Put something on the exterior of your suitcase to make it easily identifiable – all those black suitcases look alike!

4.       If you are staying at a hotel, make sure you have the name and address as there are many hotels from the same brand in             the area.

Thank you for choosing HIA. We look forward to seeing you again soon! 

Customer Service Team

Lola, Al, Cheryl and Carol







Tags: communication, customer information, customer service, employees, Harrisburg International airport

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Cargo at HIA

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 11 : 12:00AM

Many people do not realize that Air Cargo is an important part of HIA’s business.  In fact, because FedEx and UPS do the bulk of their flying at night, many times people do not notice the UPS and FedEx planes sitting at the cargo ramp, toward the east end of the airport. In 2014, HIA had just shy of 100,000 tons of cargo flown in and out of the airport.  

Due to the amount of warehouses and manufacturers in the region, there is significantly more outbound cargo than inbound cargo. Everything from electronics and household items to temperature controlled medical products are flown in and out of the region daily. FedEx brings approximately 23,500 tons of air cargo into the region annually and UPS brings approximately 22,800 tons.  Additionally, some cargo is delivered by private planes and on some of the larger passenger planes. 

Typically, air cargo is flown in from Williamsport and Scranton and is combined with cargo delivered by truck. It is then flown by FedEx to New York, Indianapolis and Memphis, or by UPS to Louisville. During the holiday season, UPS will add a daily 747 flight to the regular schedule. Check out this video from December 15, 2014, when it arrived for the season.



Tags: airplane, fleet, Harrisburg International airport

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Air Route Development at HIA

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 11 : 12:00AM

We are often asked what SARAA is doing to bring new airline service or destinations to HIA. On a regular basis, SARAA staff is monitoring airline activity, researching regional business travel trends, and building relationships with airlines to hopefully convince them to offer more flights to/from our region. The process of getting a new destination (and particularly a new airline) is a lengthy one, many times taking years.

Based on conversations with businesses in the region and in looking at trends and opportunities, we are currently trying to gain new service to Houston, Dallas, and Minneapolis. If service to any of these markets is important for your company, please let us know! As mentioned above, it helps us build a stronger business case for service when we have specific data on the business connections and regular travel patterns between Harrisburg and other markets.

Should you have any questions or if you have any travel ties you wish to share, please contact Marie Cartwright, Manager of Business Relationships at or 717-948-3900.

Tags: Air Service Development, airport, business travel, community, dfw, nonstops, planning

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Nearly 1.3 Million Passengers Connect to the Global Economy

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jan 28 : 12:00AM

The purpose of Harrisburg International Airport is to provide global air access for our region.  During 2014, 1,289,487 passengers spent more than $300 million on airfare at Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) when flying between our region and more than 300 destinations worldwide.  Chicago remains the airport’s most traveled business destination, while Orlando is number one for leisure travelers. Total international bookings increased nearly 20 percent overall.  Generating more international traffic and revenue will be critically important for our region to bring more airline service to the region.

Domestic travel Highlights

Air Canada, Allegiant, American, US Airways and Frontier all posted increased passenger traffic at HIA in 2014 compared to 2013.  The traffic declines posted by United and Delta generated a slight decrease in passenger traffic compared to 2013.  United’s decline was as a result of the elimination of service to both Cleveland and Newark while Delta eliminated service to Cincinnati.  Both airlines continued to tweak their route networks in 2014 as a result of recently completed mergers.




Pass Percent Change vs. 2013

US and AA















Air Canada











Orlando Intl






Orlando – Sanford






Tampa – PIE





International travel highlights

Sabre estimates that International bookings to/from HIA increased 19% between January and November 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013.  When combined, US Airways and American (which are in the process of merging) become the airports top international carrier with 36 percent of the international travel market followed by United (29 percent), Delta (24 percent) and Air Canada (10 percent).  Interestingly, bookings to Mexico City increased by 75 percent in 2014 when compared to 2013The ten most popular destinations in 2014 were:












Mexico City


Punta Cana






Montego Bay




Generating more international traffic and revenue for these four global network airlines will be extremely important to maintain and grow flight levels at HIA.  

Tags: air travel, Allegiant, American Airlines, business travel, Delta, Harrisburg International airport, international travel, Orlando, United

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The Battle Against Winter Weather

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jan 28 : 12:00AM

As soon as winter weather is forecast for our region, the HIA switch board lights up with hundreds of people calling to ask:  “Will the airport stay open if it’s snowing?” The answer is simple:  YES!!!  While all flight delay and cancellation decisions are made by the airlines, HIA staff will keep the airport complex open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Even before any winter weather hits, about 50 men and women spring into action to prepare more than $5 million in equipment for the challenge of keeping 35 plus combined miles of runway, taxiways, apron and roadways safe and operational.

Based on the temperature and amount of moisture in the air, planes need to be deiced for safety. There are 2 parts to this process. The first is the application of  Type 2 propylene glycol or the orange deicer which removes any ice currently on the plane. The second is the application of Type 4 propylene glycol or the green deicer, which keeps ice from building up on the plane.  

No Salt here!
Unlike PennDOT which spreads road salts and ciders on roadways, road salt damages aircraft.  As a result, liquid potassium acetate is used on runways and taxiways as it is more environmentally friendly and less corrosive.  The down side to potassium acetate is its cost.  One gallon can cost as much as $4.50.  At HIA, the staff needs about  4,000 gallons to treat the runway and taxiway system each time.

Numerous pieces of equipment are used to clear the runway and ramp areas of the airport.
Click here to watch a video about HIA’s snow broom.  

Tags: airport, personnel, winter

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Escape the cold with more flights to Orlando!

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jan 28 : 12:00AM

Between now and the end of April, there are 60 percent more low fare seats available to sunny Orlando, Florida from HIA!  Allegiant—HIA’s most popular airline to Orlando—will increase service to six days a week in March to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) while Frontier will offer flights five days a week until April 29th.

SFB is central Florida’s version of HIA—easy access, shorter lines and convenient rental car, taxi and shuttle bus options to destinations throughout the Orlando area. Since November 2012, more than 100,000 central Pennsylvanians has flown Allegiant to Orlando Sanford.  To learn more about SFB, please watch:

This summer Allegiant will offer four SFB flights a week up from three flights per week last summer.  If these new, additional seats are filled at profitable levels, we are hopeful that Allegiant will add even more flights to Orlando Sanford this fall.

Update on Frontier

After being purchased by an investment group in 2013, Frontier Airlines has committed to a new strategy, focused on redeploying aircraft from medium and smaller markets and moving them to very large markets, in an attempt to seek higher profit margins.  As a result, effective April 29, 2015, Frontier will no longer serve HIA and a number of other airports in the U.S.   

Tags: None

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