Portland International Airport is the largest airport in the U.S. state of Oregon, accounting for 90% of passenger travel and more than 95% of air cargo of the state. It is located on the south side of the Columbia River in Multnomah County, six miles by air and twelve miles by highway northeast of downtown Portland. Local transportation includes light rail on the MAX Red Line and Interstate 205 for autos.
PDX has direct connections to major airport hubs throughout the United States, plus non-stop international flights to Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and The Netherlands. It is also a hub for flights to smaller cities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California and Nevada. General aviation services are provided at PDX by Flightcraft. The Oregon Air National Guard has a base located on the south side of the property.
The most prominent airlines at PDX are Alaska Airlines (including Horizon Air) (34.1%), Southwest (17.4%), and United Airlines (12.9%).
PDX was identified as the top airport for business travelers in the United States in the October 2006, October 2007, and October 2008 issues of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Research for the article identified the airport's easy access (including light rail service), shopping and free wireless Internet access as factors leading to the selection.
Some food services located in the terminal are Beaverton Bakery, Booya Juice, Caper's Café, Coffee People, Cool Temptations, Good Dog/Bad Dog, Gustav's Pub & Grill, Jamba Juice, Jumping Jelly Beans, Laurelwood Brewing Co, Panda Express, Pizza Schmizza, Pizzicato, Quiznos Subs, Riverfront Café, Rose City Café, Rose City Wine Bar, Sandoval's Fresh Mexican Grill, Stanford's Restaurant and Bar, Starbucks Coffee, Wendy's, and Widmer Pub.
Retail stores include Aria, Brookstone, Creative Kidstuff, Hudson News, InMotion Pictures, Made in Oregon, Nike, Columbia Sportswear (coming Fall 08), Powell's Books, Relax Station, Spirit of the Red Horse, The Oregon Pendleton Shop, The Paper Station, The Real Mother Goose, You Northwest Travel Mart. Many of these are located in a shopping mall behind the ticket counters. Businesses are not allowed to charge more than at their other stores and, as Oregon has no sales tax, they offer tax-free shopping.
Smoking is prohibited everywhere on the grounds except in designated smoking areas outside the terminal entrances.
The airlines and destinations are up to date as of October 2007. The airport's official website has the latest information.
A section of Concourse D was renamed to honor Oregon's Governor Victor G. Atiyeh also known as Trader Vic.
By 1935 it was becoming apparent to the Port of Portland that the Swan Island Airport was becoming obsolete. The small airfield couldn't easily be expanded, nor could it accommodate the larger aircraft and passenger loads expected to become common to Portland. Plans immediately were conceived to relocate the outdated airfield to a larger site.
Swan Island Airport was officially named Portland Airport until the opening of the new airport.
The "super airport" featured a terminal on the north side of the property, off Marine Drive, and five runways (NE-SW, NW-SE, and an E-W runway forming an asterisk). This configuration was adequate until a new terminal and a longer, 8,800 ft. east-west runway were constructed in 1952.
In 1948 the entire airport grounds were flooded during the Vanport Flood due to its proximity to the Columbia River and very low elevation, forcing scheduled airline services to reroute to nearby Troutdale Airport. The grounds remained covered entirely in water for several months.
A new terminal opened in 1958, which for the most part serves as the present facility. The new terminal is located to the east of the original runways, and north of the then-new 8,800 ft. runway. Construction of a second east-west runway to the north made this a midfield terminal. At this point, all but the NE-SW (3/21) runway in the original "X" were abandoned and turned into taxiways. 3/21 was extended for use as a cross-wind runway. "International" was added to the airport's official designation after the 1950s-era improvements.
Plans made in 1968 to add a third runway by means of filling in parts of the Columbia River were met with vocal public opposition and scrapped. In 1974 the south runway was extended to 11,000 ft. to service the latest jumbo jets.
By the 1980s, the terminal building began an extensive renovation in order to update PDX to meet future needs. Concourse E was first to be reconstructed, and featured PDX's first moving sidewalks. The Oregon Marketplace, a small shopping mall, was added in the former waiting areas behind the ticket counters.
The early 1990s saw a food court and extension added to Concourse C, and the opening of the new Concourse D. This marked the first concessions inside secured areas, allowing passengers to purchase items without having to be re-screened.
An expanded parking garage, new control tower, and canopy over the curbside were finished in the late 1990s. Although hailed by architectural critics, the canopy blocked views of Mount Hood from the curbside. Also, the garage addition collapsed while under construction, killing a worker.
The present, rigid H-shape of the PDX terminal was completed on September 102001 when the new A, B and C concourses, as well as the light rail line, were finished. Probably the most stunning portion of PDX's interior, the new concourses reflect a Northwest theme, focusing heavily on the nearby Columbia river. A huge celebration was to be held the following weekend, but the events of September 11, 2001 interceded. The new concourses, designed to be public spaces, were closed to non-passengers.
In the fall of 2005, the elevated walkway connecting the north and south concourses inside the secure area opened.
Meanwhile, local travel businesses had begun recruiting other carriers. Lufthansa started direct flights to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 312003. Northwest Airlines introduced non stop flights to Tokyo (Narita Airport) on June 10, 2004. That flight will continue onto Busan beginning May 31. Mexicana Airlines also introduced service to Guadalajara, Mexico and Mexico City. After 5 years of service between PDX and Mexico, the service was cancelled by Mexicana Airlines on May 2, 2008, due to high fuel prices and change in demand. This change left Alaska Airlines as the only airline with nonstop services to Mexico. Northwest Airlines announced on October 9, 2007 the expansion of international service with new nonstop service to Amsterdam that began on March 29, 2008.