PDX ATADS data, 1991-2014:
Scrollable aerial view at bing.com. (Click to open in a new window).
Airport Narrative (Overview & History)
Portland to sponsor development of a new ‘super airport’. The plan was to use a $1.3M Works Progress Administration grant, as a federally supported jobs/infrastructure program. Development proceeded and the Portland-Columbia Airport opened in October of 1940. In 1948, the entire facility was made unusable for months, after the Vanport Flood. In the decades since, there have been no further flood problems and the airport has expanded considerably to become the dominant West Coast commercial airport between Seattle and the Bay Area. Extensive airline schedules are provided by Alaska, Southwest, and United. The other major airlines (Delta, American and US Airways) offer limited non-stop connections to their main hubs.
As happened at many airports, general aviation was squeezed out — uprooted and forced to move to hangars at nearby ‘reliever’ airports. The displacement of GA aircraft at KPDX meant increased hangar development, runway lengthening, and amplified airport impact at Troutdale, Hillsboro, Mulino, Aurora and a few other Portland-area airports. Ironically, the most developed of these ‘relievers’, Aurora, now has huge hangars and many business jets that make short hops low over the east side of Portland, between their ‘garage’ (the hangar at Aurora) and the pick-up point for their passengers (at KPDX). In the interest of maximizing system efficiency and safety, while minimizing environmental impact, it would make far more sense if the higher performance business jets were encouraged to hangar at KPDX. Even more so considering that KPDX is operating well below its peak year of 1997. But, this cannot be done, since the Port of Portland has removed nearly all hangars from KPDX.
FAA operates two separate ATC facilities at KPDX, a control tower (PDX), and a TRACON (P80), with both open 24/7. Airport operations peaked in 1997 at 330K operation per year; they have since declined by 34%, to 216K ops/year. For the year 2014, there were 592 operations per day (thus, an average of twelve takeoffs per ATC-hr).