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Southwest Florida International Airport

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Southwest Florida International Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerLee County
OperatorLee County Port Authority
ServesCape Coral and Fort Myers, FL
LocationUnincorporated Lee County, adjacent to Fort Myers
Elevation AMSL30 ft / 9 m
Coordinates26°3210N 081°4519W / 26.53611°N 81.75528°W / 26.53611; -81.75528Coordinates: 26°3210N 081°4519W / 26.53611°N 81.75528°W / 26.53611; -81.75528
Location of airport in Florida / United States
RSW (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 12,000 3,658 Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Aircraft operations82,418
Total Cargo (Lbs)32,475,039

Southwest Florida International Airport (IATA: RSW, ICAO: KRSW, FAA LID: RSW) is a major county-owned airport in the South Fort Myers region of unincorporated Lee County, Florida, United States. The airport serves the Southwest Florida region, including the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples-Marco Island, and Punta Gorda metropolitan areas, and is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry. It currently is the second-busiest single-runway airport in the United States, after San Diego International Airport,[2] In 2018, the airport served 9,373,178 passengers.

The airport sits on 13,555 acres (5,486 ha, 21.2 sq.mi.) of land just southeast of Fort Myers, making it the third-largest airport in the United States in terms of land size (after Denver and Dallas/Fort Worth). 6,000 acres of the land has been conserved as swamp lands and set aside for environmental mitigation.[3]


Prior to the opening of the airport, the region was served by Page Field in Fort Myers. By the 1970s, however, it had become clear that Page Field would be too small to handle increasing future demand for commercial flights into the region. Expanding Page Field was determined to be impractical because its airfield was constrained by U.S. 41 to the west and expanding the airfield to the east would require bridging the Ten Mile Canal and relocating a railroad track.[4]

A number of sites were considered for a new regional airport, including southern Charlotte County, Estero, and northeast Cape Coral near Burnt Store Marina. The government of Lee County ultimately selected a site near the end of Daniels Road which was a dirt road at the time. An advantage to this location was its proximity to Interstate 75, which was under construction and would have an interchange with Daniels Road, providing easy access (Interstate 75 was opened to traffic through Fort Myers in 1979).[5]

Construction of the airport began in 1980, and it opened on schedule on May 14, 1983, with a single 8400-ft runway. At the time of its opening, the airport was named Southwest Florida Regional Airport (the airport code RSW is short for "Regional South-West").[6] Delta Air Lines operated the first flight. The original terminal was located on the north side of the runway at the end of Chamberlin Parkway.

The airport was renamed Southwest Florida International Airport in 1993, though it had hosted international flights since 1984 and U.S. Customs since 1987. The name change coincided with the completion of a 55,000 square foot Federal Inspection facility annexed to the original terminal's Concourse A.[7] The runway was also lengthened to 12,000 ft (3,658 m) at the same time to better accommodate international service (making it the fourth-longest runway in Florida).[8]

In 1988 the airport exceeded its annual capacity of 3 million passengers; by 2004, the airport was serving nearly 7 million passengers annually. The original terminal had 17 gates on two concourses. While three of the gates were added in a minor expansion of the B concourse in the late 1990s, the original terminal's design was not conducive to a major expansion.

With the terminal operating at more than double its intended capacity, construction of a new Midfield Terminal Complex began in February 2002. The $438 million terminal opened on September 9, 2005. The terminal, designed by Spillis Candela/DMJM Aviation,[9] has three concourses and 28 gates and can eventually expand to five concourses with 65 gates. Demolition of the former terminal north of the airfield was completed in spring 2006. However, the original terminal's parking lot and other related infrastructure still stand at the end of Chamberlin Parkway.

In early 2015, Terminal Access Road, the airport's main entrance road, was extended past Treeline Avenue to connect directly to Interstate 75, allowing airport-related traffic to avoid local streets. The airport can now be accessed directly from the freeway at Exit 128.[10] Terminal Access Road was then expanded to six lanes in late 2016.[11]

Since beginning commercial airline service on May 14, 1983 through the end of 2018, about 195.3 million passengers (enplaned and deplaned) have transited through RSW. There has been approximately 2.6 million aircraft operations at the airport since its opening.

Current and future projects

A new $16 million Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting facility (Lee County Station 92) opened in July 2013. A 9,100 ft (2,800 m) parallel runway is in planning. The project includes a relocated air traffic control tower, apron expansion, crossfield taxiway system, mitigation activities and FPL electrical line relocation. The new air traffic control tower and parallel runway were expected to be completed by 2019, however this has been pushed back to late 2020. The apron expansion and crossfield taxiway system were completed in late 2013. The entire project is estimated to cost $454 million.

In early 2018, the Lee County Port Authority (LCPA) announced plans to ease seasonal security wait times by expanding and relocating the current security checkpoints for each concourse. By relocating each checkpoint, there will be more restaurants, shops, and post-security spaces. According to the announcement by the LCPA, this expansion could cost between $150 million - $180 million.[12]

Plans are in place for Skyplex a commercial and industrial park in the location of the old terminal. Other airport-related businesses, such as a hotel, are in the planning stages. A retail gasoline outlet near the airport's entrance opened in June 2014.[13][14]


The airport covers 13,555 acres (54.9 km2), 10 mi (16 km) southeast of Fort Myers.


In 2018 the airport had 82,418 aircraft operations, average 226 per day.

  • 798,000 sq ft (74,100 m2)
  • Design capacity is 10 million passengers per year, with 28 gates on 3 concourses (current B,C and D). The terminal buildings can be expanded incrementally to 65 gates on 5 concourses (A-E).
  • 11,250 spaces for hourly/daily parking located around the main terminal building and the entrance to the facility.
  • There is a three-story parking structure adjacent from the main terminal, used to house short-term parking.
  • 30-space "cell-phone lot" for customers picking up arriving passengers.
  • J.D. Power & Associates Airport Satisfaction Study Ranked 2nd among North American airports with under 10 million annual passengers
  • Florida Department of Transportation 2008 Commercial Airport of the Year
  • Airports Council International-North America Excellence in Marketing and Communications 2008: 1st Place Special Events for Aviation Day
  • Airports Council International-North America 2008: 1st Place for Concession Convenience and 2nd Place for Food Concessions
  • Airports Council International-North America 2009: 2nd Place Newsletter Internal or E-mail and 2nd Place Special Events Berlin Airlift
  • Federal Aviation Administration 2009 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Advocate and Partner Award
  • Florida Airports Council 2008 Environmental Excellence Award for Mitigation Park
  • Airport Revenue News 2008 Best Concessions Award for top Concessions Program Design


The airport has one terminal with three concourses: Concourse B (Gates B1-B9), Concourse C (Gates C1-C9), and Concourse D (Gates D1-D10). Customs and Immigration services for international flights are located on the lower level of Concourse B. "Concourses A and E" designations have been reserved for the planned future expansion of the terminal.

Air Canada uses Gate B3

American uses Gates D1, D3, D5, D7, and D10

Eurowings uses Gate B1

Frontier uses Gates B5, B7, and B9

Delta uses Gates C2, C4, C6, C7, C8, and C9 (and occasionally a gate from the B Concourse to accommodate extra aircraft)

JetBlue uses Gates D4, D6, and D8

Southwest uses Gates B2, B4, B6, and B8

Spirit uses Gates D2, D4, D7, and D10

Sun Country uses Gate B9

United uses Gates C1, C3, C5, and C7 (and some arrivals and early morning departure in Concourse B)

WestJet Uses uses Gates C1 and C7

Airlines and destinations

Air Canada Rouge TorontoPearson
Seasonal: MontréalTrudeau
American Airlines Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, WashingtonNational [17]
American Eagle Seasonal: New YorkLaGuardia (begins February 15, 2020), WashingtonNational [17]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Boston, New YorkJFK, New YorkLaGuardia
Delta Connection Seasonal: Boston, Cincinnati, ColumbusGlenn, Indianapolis, New YorkLaGuardia, Raleigh/Durham [18]
Eurowings Düsseldorf [19]
Frontier Airlines Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia, Trenton
Seasonal: Albany, Buffalo, ChicagoO'Hare, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Long Island/Islip, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Omaha, Portland (ME), Providence, Syracuse
JetBlue Boston, Newark, New YorkJFK, WashingtonNational, White Plains
Seasonal: Hartford
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, ChicagoMidway, ColumbusGlenn, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
Seasonal: Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas-Love, Denver, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Providence, Rochester
Spirit Airlines Atlantic City, ChicagoO'Hare, Detroit, Indianapolis, Newark
Seasonal: Akron/Canton, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, ColumbusGlenn, Hartford, Latrobe/Pittsburgh, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Gulfport/Biloxi,[24] Madison, St. Louis
United Airlines ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, HoustonIntercontinental, Newark
Seasonal: Cleveland, WashingtonDulles
United Express Seasonal: Cleveland, Washington-Dulles (begins May 1, 2020) [26]
WestJet TorontoPearson
Seasonal: Ottawa
FedEx Express Memphis
UPS Airlines Fort Lauderdale, Louisville, San Antonio, Tampa



Top destinations
Busiest domestic routes from RSW
(October 2017 September 2018)
Rank City (Airport) Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 566,810 Delta, Southwest
2 ChicagoO'Hare, Illinois 332,490 American, Frontier, Spirit, United
3 Detroit, Michigan 288,390 Delta, Frontier, Spirit
4 Boston, Massachusetts 281,880 Delta, JetBlue, Spirit
5 Newark, New Jersey 255,470 JetBlue, United
6 Charlotte, North Carolina 244,930 American
7 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 232,790 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country
8 Baltimore, Maryland 216,800 Southwest, Spirit
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 181,900 American, Frontier, Spirit
10 ChicagoMidway, Illinois 161,630 Southwest
Largest airlines at RSW
(October 2017 September 2018)[29]
Rank Airline Share
1 Delta Air Lines 20.82%
2 Southwest Airlines 20.30%
3 American Airlines 15.19%
4 JetBlue Airways 12.94%
5 Spirit Airlines 9.50%
Annual traffic
Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned), May 1983 - December 2018[30]
Year Passengers Percent Change Year Passengers Percent Change Year Passengers Percent Change Year Passengers Percent Change
1983 544,636 1993 3,717,758 7.1% 2003 5,891,668 13.6% 2013 7,637,801 3.9%
1984 1,311,937 140.9% 1994 4,005,067 7.7% 2004 6,736,630 14.3% 2014 7,970,493 4.3%
1985 1,701,969 29.7% 1995 4,098,264 2.3% 2005 7,518,169 11.6% 2015 8,371,801 5.0%
1986 2,129,548 25.1% 1996 4,317,347 5.3% 2006 7,643,217 1.7% 2016 8,604,673 2.8%
1987 2,687,053 26.2% 1997 4,477,865 3.7% 2007 8,049,676 5.3% 2017 8,842,549 2.8%
1988 3,115,124 15.9% 1998 4,667,207 4.2% 2008 7,603,845 -5.5% 2018 9,373,178 6.0%
1989 3,231,092 3.7% 1999 4,897,253 4.9% 2009 7,415,958 -2.5%
1990 3,734,067 15.6% 2000 5,207,212 6.3% 2010 7,514,316 1.3%
1991 3,436,520 -8.0% 2001 5,277,708 1.4% 2011 7,537,745 0.3%
1992 3,472,661 1.1% 2002 5,185,648 -1.7% 2012 7,350,625 -2.5%

Accidents and incidents

  • November 28, 2007 A single-engine fixed wing aircraft crashed about 9:20 a.m. one mile (1.6 km) west of Runway 6. The crash killed the pilot. This is the first reported crash on airport property.[31]
  • April 13, 2009 A Beech King Air 200 (N559DW) was carrying four passengers when the pilot went unconscious and later died. Doug White, a passenger, was guided into the airport by air traffic controller Brian Norton, assisted by controller Dan Favio. It was later reported that White was a single engine private pilot with about 130 hours of experience in single engine aircraft. All passengers aboard survived and the plane was not damaged.[32]

Ground transport

LeeTran bus No. 50 serves the airport.

Recent infrastructure and road projects linked the airport's main terminal road to the southbound and northbound lanes of Interstate 75. This is on top of previously existing roads connecting the airport to the region.

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Davis, Rob (April 20, 2006). "Airport Questions Answered". Voice of San Diego. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Southwest Florida Transportation: Are We There Yet?". Gulfshore Life. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "Southwest Florida Regional Airport Environmental Impact Statement". Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Interstate 75". AA Roads. Archived from the original on February 25, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "Airport Codes-RSW". Airport Codes. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "A History of Aviation in Lee County" (PDF). Southwest Florida International Airport. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport" (PDF). Freight Moves Florida. Retrieved October 12, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Ready for Takeoff?". Southeast Construction. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  10. ^ "I-75onthego - I-75 Direct Connect". i75onthego.com. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Fort Myers airport to expand terminal, consolidate TSA screening to cut waits". News-press.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "Monthly Project Summary Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport". Flylcpa.com. Archived from the original on May 20, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  16. ^ "Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 31, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Route Map-Frontier Airlines". Frontier Airlines. Archived from the original on February 21, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  21. ^ "JetBlue - Where We Jet: Flight Destinations". www.jetblue.com. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  22. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  23. ^ "Spirit Airlines - Route Map". www.spirit.com. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 26, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Route Map & Flight Schedule". Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Timetable". Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017..
  27. ^ "Route map - WestJet.com". www.westjet.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  28. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Transtats.bts.gov. Archived from the original on January 5, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Southwest Florida International Airport". flylcpa.com. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  31. ^ [2][dead link]
  32. ^ "Passenger lands turboprop plane after pilot dies". CNN. April 13, 2009. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2009.

External links

Media related to Southwest Florida International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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