Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport is a city-owned public-use airport located four nautical miles (7 km) east of the central business district of Brownsville, a city in Cameron County, Texas, United States.
The airport is mostly used for general aviation, but is also served by one commercial airline. It is a convenient airport for flying into the Rio Grande Valley and Northern Mexico. Most cities in the Rio Grande Valley are accessible from BRO by automobile within 30-60 minutes. It is also the closest airport to South Padre Island.
Fares for flights leaving out of Brownsville are competitive with that of nearby airports, mainly McAllen-Miller International Airport in McAllen and Valley International Airport in Harlingen.
The National Weather Service forecast office for Deep South Texas is located on the airport grounds.
- On March 9, 1929, Charles Lindbergh landed in BRO after a five hour, 38 minute historic flight from Mexico City to the United States. This established the first leg of Airmail Service to Mexico
- In honor, an event in which Amelia Earhart attends is held, a crowd of over 20,000 greeting Lindbergh upon his arrival. This event has been described as an international event of great significance.
- Pan-American Airways started service on the airport on June 4th, 1929, the beginning of a 30 year relationship between BRO and PanAm.
- During World War II the airport was used by the United States Army Air Forces
- The first American jet engine flight was tested at Brownsville Army Air Field.
- B-29 bomber renovated here.
- Airport had one of the largest overhaul facilities in the country. By the end of the war Pan American had overhauled nearly 6,000 engines.
- Civilian Pilot Training program initiated to train military and commercial pilots.
- Only Mexican military unit to engage in combat during World War II, the 201st Fighter Squadron, trained at the Brownsville Army Air Field.
- In the 1960s, the 16th weather radar system in the nation was installed at BRO
- In 1983, the airport was officially renamed the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport
Facilities and aircraft
Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport covers an area of 1,700 acres
) at an elevation
of 22 feet (7 m) above mean sea level
. It has three asphalt
: 13L/31R measuring 3,000 x 75 ft (914 x 23 m), 13R/31L measuring 7,400 x 150 ft (2,256 x 46 m) and 17/35 measuring 6,000 x 150 ft (1,829 x 46 m).
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2007, the airport had 43,105 aircraft operations, an average of 118 per day: 52% general aviation, 35% military, 13% air taxi and <1% scheduled commercial. At that time there were 56 aircraft based at this airport: 91% single-engine and 9% multi-engine.
Various aircraft types, including Embraer ERJ 135, Embraer ERJ 145 and Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft, are used by Continental in Brownsville. Previous aircraft used include ATR-42 aircraft (ExpressJet Airlines), as well as Boeing 737-300 and 737-500 aircraft (Continental Airlines).
Airlines and destinations
The Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport features a full-service passenger terminal with four gates (1, 1A, 2 & 2A).
- Prior to security check-point
- Locally-owned restaurant
- Coffee, smoothie and muffin stand adjacent to restaurant
- Complimentary WiFi Internet Access (provided by the City of Brownsville)
- Television monitors throughout the terminal broadcast the latest news
- Information booth for tourists
- After security check-point
- Complimentary WiFi Internet Access
- Television monitors broadcasting the latest news
- Four gates - All gates are referred to as "Gate 1" during boarding and in boarding passes
- Gates 1 & 2 (Jetway Gates)
- Gates 1A & 2A (Hardstand Gates) (Used mainly for overflow)
Several transportation options are available for arriving passengers.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi Internet Access throughout the passenger terminal
- Free parking with no posted maximum stay limit, as well as free 2-hour parking
- Television monitors displaying the latest news
- Home/Hotel delivery of late/lost luggage (through Continental)
- Very fast turnaround time for passenger aircraft (as low as 10-15 minutes)
- The airport is the largest air cargo handling airport in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport is the first airport in Texas to offer flight status notification via text-messaging through its website. When the system was launched, it was one of only three airports in the nation, between Michigan and Alabama, to offer such a service.
In addition to flight status text-messaging notification, the site also features current fares to popular routes, including Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, Minneapolis/St. Paul & Querétaro.