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FlyHIA Blog

Departure: Winter!

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

Here at the airport we are very happy to say goodbye to Old Man Winter and welcome all spring has to offer.  This winter has been like no other.  But we are proud to say that our crew of winter weather warriors kept our airport fully operational all winter long.  Here is winter by the numbers:

·         31,750 gallons of liquid deicer used on the airfield

·         19,147 gallons of diesel fuel used in snow equipment

·         12,000 pounds of solid deicer used on the airfield

·         5,218 hours of time put on snow equipment

·         4,902 hours of overtime worked during snow removal

·         388 tons of road salt and anti-skid used on land side

·         43.2 inches of snow received at MDT as of 2/28/14

·         19 tons of sand used on airfield

·         12 cutting edges replaced on plows

·         An average of 1.9 inches of snow fell per hour

·         Heaviest snowfall day:  February 13

Needless to say we will not be complaining when the heat and humidity are upon us, all we have to do is check this list!

Tags: airport, bad weather, employees, equipment, Harrisburg International airport, MDT, winter

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Old Terminal Update

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

If you’ve been to the airport recently you would certainly have noticed that things are starting to look a little different.  The old terminal, a constant reminder of the past, is quickly disappearing to make way for the future.   

We’ve gotten many questions over the past few months as to “what will become of the space” or “why couldn’t you re-purpose the space.”  All of which are valid questions. 

Following the events of 9/11, the cost to renovated and expand what is now the old terminal building where not cost effective.  Since that time, the airport authority has worked with a number of real estate and economic development agencies to find a new use for the space.  However, its location adjacent to an active airfield, airline mergers and bankruptcies, increasing energy costs and the worldwide economic recession all contributed to making the re-use of the facility difficult.  So over the past two years the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to come up with a demolition and potential site plan for development.  Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve received: 

What will it become?

The airport will construct a snow equipment storage building on a portion of the property; however, the bulk of the property becomes available for aviation related development.  Aviation related development could include items like a hangar, a repair and maintenance operation, fixed based operator, etc.  To assist with these efforts, in December 2013, the old terminal building location was deemed a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ).  This means a business that chooses to build or re-locate to this space will have various levels of tax abatement through 2024.  The KOZ application was sponsored by the Dauphin County Industrial Development Authority and the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation in cooperation with the Middletown Area School District, the Steelton-Highspire School District, Lower Swatara Township and the Boroughs of Middletown and Highspire. 

What is happening with the demolition materials?

Since late December, the contractor has removed and disposed of universal wastes such as fluorescent light bulbs, mercury switches, oils from elevators, fuel lines from an emergency generator, and closed a deep aquifer well.  Two-200 ton chillers and five gas fired boilers from a mechanical room have also been removed.  All materials and equipment have been disposed in compliance with current environmental rules and regulations.  Materials being recycled include the copper telecommunications cables and over 360 tons of steel from throughout the building.  The contractor will also recycle crushed concrete from the terminal and reuse it to backfill the excavation site. 

What can we expect to see when the building is removed?

Once the building is removed and the site is backfilled, the contractor leave behind a level area of approximately 5 acres covered with asphalt.  The surrounding areas will be landscaped and adorned with planters and benches for plane spotting until further development begins.  All of this should be completed by fall 2014. 

How much will the project cost?

The total cost of the project is $1.8 million.  The project is funded by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Aviation, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and SARAA.  

Make sure you follow our progress on our Facebook page and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.  Better yet, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 23rd for our 2014 HIA Open House.   You and your family will be able to see the site for yourself while getting hands on experience with a wide variety of aircraft and airport equipment.  

Tags: airport, equipment, FAA, Harrisburg International airport, SARAA, terminal

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HIA Tips for First Time Fliers

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Feb 12 : 12:00AM

So you’re ready for your first flight at HIA!  Here are some helpful tips to get you to the plane and in the air with ease. 

Before coming to the airport—check in with the airline within 24 hours of our departure time to confirm that your flight time and flight number are accurate. 

                Airline numbers:

  • Air Canada                  800.247.2262
  • Allegiant                      702.505.8888
  • American                     800.433.7300
  • Delta                             800.221.1212
  • Frontier                        800.432.1359
  • United                          800.241.6522
  • US Airways                 800.428.4322

Be sure to have your airline confirmation and a form of ID, such as a driver’s license for domestic flights or a passport for international travel. 

Directions—The address for Bing, MapQuest or Google Maps is:  One Terminal Drive, Middletown, PA 17057.  The address when using GPS is 510 Airport Drive, Middletown, PA 17057.

Parking—Most travelers will be using the exit from 283 East or West to get to the Airport Connector Road.  When you reach the Welcome to Harrisburg International Airport sign, the road will split off into two different directions.

                Stay in the left lane if you are:

  •  Returning a Rental Car
  •  Parking in Short-term Garage Parking
  •  Or if you are being dropped off curbside

Stay in the right lane if you are:

  • Using Long-term/Economy Parking

The cost of short-term or Garage parking is $2.20 per hour or $20.00 for daily use up to 24 hours.  The long-term or Economy parking is $8.50 a day up to 24 hours.  When using the Economy parking lot, the shuttle bus runs 24 hours a day, approximately every 10-15 minutes.  The bus stops at each of the eight designated shelters throughout the parking lot.  The bus will drop you off and pick you up curbside just in front of the terminal.  The shuttle drivers can help you with your luggage as you get on and off the bus if you ask for assistance. 

When utilizing the parking garage, proceed to the 2nd level and walk across the sky bridge into the terminal.  If you have returned a rental car, proceed across the street to the terminal. 

Checking-In—We recommend checking in for a flight 75-90 minutes prior to your departure time.  Each of the airlines has their own check-in counters.  A scale is available for your use opposite these counters to check luggage weight before you get in line. 

When you get to the airline ticket counter, you will need to have your confirmation; identification and luggage (if applicable) ready to be placed on the scale and tagged for your destination.  The airline representative will give you your boarding pass and assign you a seat, if needed. 

If you do not have a bag that needs checked; Delta, US Airways, United and American have self-check-in kiosks for you to use to print out your boarding pass. 

Security Checkpoint—After you have checked in, you will proceed to the security checkpoint located on the second floor of the airport.  Have your boarding pass and ID out for the agent to scan.  You can put your ID away after it has been scanned.  You will not be required to show it to anyone else, but you will need your boarding pass handy to access your seat. 

Any liquids, gels, aerosols you have with you in your carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or less or will be disposed of at security.  Failure to comply with this TSA rule will slow down the checkpoint process.  For a full list of what is acceptable for carry-on luggage, please access the TSA site at

Next, you will place your belongings into a bin to go through the screening equipment.  Place your coat, shoes, belt, lap top (removed from case), electronics, purse, change, etc. into a bin and place on the conveyor belt.  Your belongings will meet up with you on the other side.  A TSA agent will then ask you to walk through the body scanner.  You can then pick up your belongings and proceed to your designated gate. 

Gates—After you have successfully navigated the security checkpoint and gather all of your belongings, check your boarding pass to see if you are using Gate A, B or C and proceed to the gate. 

Take a deep breath, exhale, you’ve successfully navigated the airport and are ready to board your first flight from Harrisburg International Airport.  


Tags: airport, checkpoint, customer information, Harrisburg International airport, tips

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What to Do When Your Flight is Cancelled

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Feb 6 : 12:00AM

Central Pennsylvania has seen its fair share of winter weather in 2014 crippling ground and air transportation.  The airport receives numerous inquiries concerning flight status during these storms.  It is important to remember that the airport itself does not make the decision to delay or cancel flights.  Each individual airline determines what will happen to a flight.  It is the airport’s responsibility to maintain a clear runway as well as the roads that lead in and out of the campus.  The airport staff, known as our MDT Weather Warriors, has done an outstanding job at clearing the runway, tarmac and roadways in and around MDT this winter season to keep the airport open.  However, in some instances the airlines have chosen to cancel flights.  Here are some important tips to remember if your flight is cancelled due to weather. 

Cancellation Policy—Know what your airlines cancellation policy is concerning weather and what you can expect, if anything, in compensation.

Communication Lines—If you have arrived at the airport and find that your flight is delayed you will more than likely find yourself waiting in line.  While you wait, it’s best to call the airline.  This will maximize your chances at rebooking.  You can also check alternative forms of communication like social media.  Some airlines are using social media, like Twitter, to rebook flights and give additional customer service. 

Precautionary Measures—If poor weather has been forecasted, it is important to check your flight status before you leave home.  Many airlines allow you to sign up for flight alerts, which you can receive via email or a text message.  Alerts are sent for delays, flight changes or even cancellations. 

Stay Positive—Just like traveling during the holiday season, it is important to pack patience.  Weather can affect every form of transportation, so it’s important to remember that patience and a calm demeanor will be appreciated.  

Safe Travels to all!

Tags: bad weather, cancelled, communication, Harrisburg International airport, HIA, MDT, preparedness, travel tips, weather

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MDT Weather Warriors

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

Snow blowerWinter weather has come early to Central Pennsylvania this year.  The MDT Weather Warriors have been working overtime to make sure airport operations are fully functional.   The ultimate decision as to whether or not a flight is delayed or cancelled is determined by each airline individually.  Many factors go into making that decision, but one factor they need not worry about is whether or not the runway is clear.  The MDT Weather Warriors work round the clock to make sure everything is clear and most importantly safe. 

Each member of the team is specially trained to operate the various pieces of equipment.  The equipment to clear the airside of the airport is valued at $6.5 million dollars.  Needless to say training is especially important in maintaining the longevity of the equipment.

The airport has several weather warrior teams; air side, land side and support.  All of which must work together to combat a storm.  It is not uncommon for staff to “live” at the airport until the storm has passed, sacrificing personal time and family time.  It is not an easy or glamorous job but one that is at the heart of any airport operation and certainly the heart of MDT. 

Plowing the full length and width of the runway is equivalent to 31.5 miles of a single lane roadway.  This team practices months in advance to get the best formation to combat snow.  Quite often you will see them take a staggered formation for more efficiency.  The equipment is also laying special airport-safe chemicals at an average cost of $190,000 per storm.  There are three chemicals you will see used at an airport:  Liquid Anti-Ice, Dry Deicer, and Runway Sand.  Liquid Anti-Ice is for pre-treatment and close attention is paid to weather forecasts before this chemical is distributed.  It is not designed to melt snow or ice, but used similarly to spraying a cookie sheet before baking.   The Dry Deicer is used to melt through snow and ice.  Lastly, runway sand is used in similar ways to road cinders.  This helps provide traction for airport equipment and for landing purposes. 

Winter months are extremely busy for any airport.  MDT is no exception, but we know that our Weather Warriors are ready to go whenever Old Man Winter rears his ugly head.  

Tags: air travel, equipment, MDT, preparedness, weather, winter

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Exploring Cumberland Valley History

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jan 9 : 12:00AM

Heritage Trail Tank

To continue our spotlight on local tourism, we share with you a recent visit taken by one of our marketing personnel, Cheryl W., to the Cumberland Valley area.

The Cumberland Valley is centrally located in the middle of the most visited region in Pennsylvania.  A good place to start your journey is the Cumberland Valley Visitors Center.  Here you will find maps and brochures to plan your trip.  If you are a history buff, walk around the corner to the Cumberland County Historical Society.  This award winning museum contains 18 galleries including items from The Carlisle Indian School and military memorabilia from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War.  The Historical Society also houses the Hamilton Library and Photo Archives.  This is a great starting point to search your genealogy and ancestry, since the Cumberland Valley was a gateway for most settlers traveling through the area.

The Carlisle Barracks is the second oldest Army post in the United States.  George Washington and 14,000 men stayed here on their way to western Pennsylvania to halt the Whiskey Rebellion of 1774.  The post was settled more than 250 years ago and has historical buildings dating back as far as 1777.  The oldest building was a storage facility for explosive material during the American Revolutionary War.  Construction of the Carlisle Iron Works Furnace and the Pine Grove Iron Furnace began during this time to produce cannons for the war. The Cumberland Valley was a major contributor of supplies, food, weapons and of course soldiers.  The Carlisle Barracks became the headquarters for these supplies.

Some buildings at the post had to be rebuilt, having been burned by the Confederates in 1863.   Confederate forces fought against the Pennsylvania militia as they tried to make their way to Harrisburg. Damage to the old courthouse in Carlisle was caused by artillery fire.  Confederate troops got as far north as Mechanicsburg before being called upon to go to Gettysburg. 

Jim ThorpeControl of the Carlisle Barracks was passed from the War Department to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1879.  The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded as the first off reservation government boarding school for Native American children. The school provided an education of English, vocational skills, academics and physical fitness to more than 12,000 Native American students.  Its most famous graduate was gold medal Olympian, Jim Thorpe, the only athlete to ever win both the pentathlon and the decathlon.  Coached by Glenn “Pop” Warner, Jim Thorpe also excelled in professional football as well as baseball and basketball.  When the school closed 39 years later, the War Department regained control of the post.

For the next 3 decades, the Carlisle Barracks served as a medical school and rehab hospital during World War I and World War II.  It has been home to the U S Army War College since 1951.

Take a short drive to continue on with your tour at the US Army Heritage and Education Center.  Upon entry into this interactive and interpretive facility, your first stop will be the information desk to pick up your “dog tag”.  You will use your dog tag, as you experience Army life as your soldier did, while walking throughout the Soldier Experience Gallery.  The gallery highlights the history of the US Army from the Spanish American War to current missions of the Global War on Terror.  As you make your way through the gallery, you can test your skills in marksmanship at the digital shooting range.

Parachute Jump

Travel on to exhibits of the Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection, China Relief Expedition and World Wars I and II featuring a real tank.  Next you will try to parachute into Normandy as you participate in the D Day Invasion and then experience a night attack during the Korean War.  Move on to the Vietnam War as you learn about helicopter pilot missions and then on to Desert Storm and finally the Global War on Terror.

The library and archives research facility is located in Ridgeway Hall at the US Army Heritage & Education Center.  Over 14 million items, including a large collection of Civil War photos, are located here.  The archives are carefully cataloged and organized and kept in a state of the art temperature controlled, fire controlled, water controlled environment. 

An exhibit on America’s last five-star General Omar Nelson Bradley is also on display.  Memorabilia of the General included in this collection is his invitation to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, duck call, sword and sheath, golf trophies, ice bucket and lighter.

The Army Heritage Trail is the outdoor portion of the museum covering one mile around the grounds.  The trail highlights various periods in US Army history with large full scale exhibits.  These interactive exhibits include a Civil War encampment, a World War I trench system, artillery, a Cobra helicopter and a Sherman tank.

The Cumberland Valley Visitors Center, The Cumberland County Historical Society, The Carlisle Barracks and The US Army Heritage and Education Center are all free to the public.

Have you recently been to any of these local destinations?  Where is your favorite place to visit in the Cumberland  Valley?

Tags: armed service, attractions, blog, family travel, history, museums, siteseeing, state parks, tourism

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A Year in Review

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

2013 has been a very busy year for Harrisburg International Airport.  The airport hosted a number of community events and fundraisers throughout the year.  Please take a minute to enjoy our year in review video. 



We would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You for your continued support of our efforts and wish you the happiest and healthiest 2014.  

Tags: community, employees, frequent flyers, Harrisburg International airport, local, new year, SARAA, thank you

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Old Terminal Demolition Begins

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Dec 4 : 12:00AM

It’s been almost 10 years since the doors to the new terminal at Harrisburg International Airport opened and gave Central Pennsylvania a state-of-the-art facility.  And in those 10 years the “new terminal” has been shadowed by its predecessor just a few yards away.  Beginning on Wednesday, December 4th, a new chapter at HIA will begin.   With the ceremonial removal of the dedication plaque the old terminal building will start to come down, clearing a path for new, exciting developmental plans and of course regional economic growth. 

This $1.8 million dollar FAA funded project begins with the removal of the old facility, clearing approximately 20 acres that was recently declared at Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, along wiOldTerminalth two additional sites on the airport property.  These properties will be ready and waiting for businesses to take advantage of a growing region along with the tax benefits of being a part of a KOZ. 

A Keystone Opportunity Zone is a geographic area that provides specific state and local tax benefits. The goal of the KOZ program is to revive economically distressed areas with one of the most powerful market-based incentives – eliminating taxes.  The three approved SARAA owned properties include the parking lot and old terminal building site, the former Bethlehem Steel property on the western end of the airport and the former Crawford Station power plant site on the eastern end of the airport.    

The Dauphin County Industrial Development Authority and the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation sponsored the application in cooperation with the Middletown Area School District, the Steelton-Highspire School District, Lower Swatara Township and the Boroughs of Middletown and Highspire. 

As December 4th, 2013 is deemed Harrisburg International Airport Day by Dauphin County Commissioners, we look forward to creating a partnership in regional growth for South Central Pennsylvania.

Tags: business aviation, community, FAA, Harrisburg International airport, history, SARAA

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Turkey Travel Tips

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

Like most Americans you will probably travel to be with family for the hTukey Travel Tipsolidays.  For a few of you air travel is required.  Travel traffic at MDT is expected to be up 4% over last year.  Will you notice?   Probably not; however, in larger hubs it might be more noticeable.  So we have collected a few turkey travel tips to help you through holiday travel. 


Traveling can be both mentally and physically exhausting.  Mishaps, delays, lost luggage all combine for interesting table fodder, in hindsight of course.  But when you are experiencing it, the best thing to do is remain calm, take a deep breath and remember spending time with family makes it all worthwhile, right?

2.—Plan for the Unexpected

It’s inevitable, the weather man missed the freak ice storm that has delayed your travel or traffic is snarled on the expressway.  Plan ahead; make sure you check travel conditions and flight status before you leave home.  Make sure you leave early and add some cushion time for anything that might be between you and the airport.

3.—Travel on the off-peak days

If you can travel on Tuesday or even on Thanksgiving itself and avoid the busiest travel days of the year (Wednesday and Sunday) than do it!  This will help you to avoid longer lines and crowds associated with peak period Thanksgiving travel.     And hopefully keep your stress level in check. 

4.—Pack Light

With baggage fees reaching record numbers its best to pack light and try not to check bags.  Layer as much as you can when traveling and leave unnecessary items at home.  If you do have to check luggage, make sure you have your necessary medications and a change of clothes in your carry-on, just in case your luggage becomes lost.  Also be sure to know your airline’s baggage weight limits and weight your bags before coming to the airport.  You don’t want to be that person re-packing you bag in the airport lobby!

5.—Travel early or travel late

New studies show that early morning flights have a less likely chance of being late and if by chance the flight would be cancelled you have a better opportunity of catching a later flight that same day.  Early morning flights or late night flights help lessen the volume of people you will encounter. 

These are just a few tips that we hope will help as you embark on your holiday travels.  Even the best laid plans can hit some turbulence, just remember to breath and try not to sweat the small stuff.  As always, safe travels and happy holidays from your friends at MDT!

Tags: baggage, family travel, Harrisburg International airport, holiday travel, planning, tips, travel, visiting family

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Low Cost is All the Rage

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

Allegiant Travel Company and partners have recently completed a study that shows low-cost and value are the two most important factors when choosing a vacation.  Additionally, they report that 87% of travelers will drive further than a nearby airport if the savings is significant enough.  Fortunately, Central PA residents need not drive any further than MDT.  Allegiant serves the South Central Pennsylvania region with two nonstop destinations to Florida:  St. Petersburg/Clearwater (PIE) and Orlando/Sanford (SFB) from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT). 

Allegiant can provide low cost fares due to the fact they allow you to customize how you want to travel.  You don’t pay for anything that you don’t want.  By changing the typical airline business model, Allegiant is able to offer travelers a lower cost than most.  Little things like pre-reclined seats enable the airline to lessen the overall weight of the plane which in turns saves on fuel costs.  There are no “free” drinks or snacks, but they are available for purchase.  All these “little” things add up to big savings for the traveler. 

Over 70,000 Central Pennsylvania travelers have utilized Allegiant in the past year and saved more than 1.5 million dollars in ticket fees.  Not to mention they are saving money, distance and time, the “MDT” way!

Tags: Allegiant, customer information, discounts, family vacation, fees, Harrisburg International airport, MDT, online, planning, Savings

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