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Orlando Sanford International Airport

Orlando Sanford
International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Sanford Airport Authority
Operator Airports Worldwide, Inc.
Serves Orlando, Florida
Location Sanford, Florida
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 55 ft / 17 m
FAA Airport Diagram
FAA Airport Diagram
SFB is located in Florida
Location within Florida
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9C/27C 3,578 1,091 Asphalt
9L/27R 11,002 3,353 Asphalt
9R/27L 6,647 2,026 Asphalt
18/36 6,002 1,829 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2013)
Aircraft operations 304,976
Based aircraft 333
Passenger traffic annually (2014) 2,184,701[1]

Orlando Sanford International Airport (ICAO: KSFBFAA LID: SFB) is in Sanford, Florida, near Orlando. It was built as Naval Air Station Sanford, a Master Jet Base for carrier-based attack and reconnaissance aircraft until 1969.

Due to flight training, the airport is consistently in the top 30 busiest airports in the world in terms of total flight operations (takeoff and landings). It is the Orlando area's secondary commercial airport, but is farther away from downtown Orlando and the major theme parks (Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida and SeaWorld Orlando) than the primary airport, Orlando International Airport (MCO/KMCO).

The airport is owned by the Sanford Airport Authority, but is operated by Airports Worldwide, a company based in Houston that is majority owned by the Ontario Municipal Retirement System (OMERS) in partnership with the Houston Airport System (HAS) and Airport Development Company (ADC). Airports Worldwide is same company that owns Belfast International Airport, Stockholm Skavsta, Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport & Juan Santamaría International Airport and owner of TBI AM, operator of five management contracts in US.[3]

Because of that affiliation, passenger traffic at Orlando Sanford International Airport was once dominated by European charter carrier service. However, since 2008, a majority of passenger traffic has been domestic, attributable to the entrance of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, for which Sanford is a focus city.[4] Sanford was also a small focus city for the travel marketer Direct Air until the company's demise in 2012.


  • History 1
    • Naval Air Station Sanford 1.1
    • Orlando Sanford International Airport 1.2
  • Facilities 2
  • Airlines and destinations 3
  • Statistics 4
    • Top domestic destinations 4.1
    • Annual traffic 4.2
  • Incidents and accidents 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Naval Air Station Sanford

Orlando Sanford International Airport started life as Naval Air Station Sanford with the airport codes NRJ and KNRJ. Commissioned on November 3, 1942, the base initially concentrated on advanced land-based patrol plane training. It was used by the U.S. Navy until it closed in 1969.

Orlando Sanford International Airport

The City of Sanford assumed control of the former NAS Sanford in 1969 and renamed the facility Sanford Airport, hiring the air station's recently retired Executive Officer, Commander J. S. "Red" Cleveland, USN (Ret.), as the first Airport Manager. The city concurrently established the Sanford Airport Authority. For the next twenty-five years, the airport was a general aviation facility and periodically hosted civilian/military air shows and static displays. Initially an uncontrolled airfield, the control tower was reactivated in the early 1970s as a non-FAA facility, employing a number of retired enlisted Navy air traffic controllers who had served at NAS Sanford.

Additional name changes followed, to include Sanford Regional Airport, Central Florida Regional Airport, Orlando Sanford Regional Airport and the current Orlando Sanford International Airport. Through the 1980s and 1990s the oldest Navy buildings were demolished while those built in the 1950s and 1960s were renovated for civil use. New buildings and hangars were added.

OLF Osceola was transferred to the control of Seminole County, Florida but was never officially recommissioned as an active airfield. In the 1970s, the former OLF began to be used by general aviation drug smuggling aircraft as a transshipment point. Following a major drug interdiction by local and federal law enforcement agencies, Seminole County placed large "speed bumps at various intervals across the runway to deter future illegal use. By the 1980s the county began to use the site as a landfill and dump, demolishing the remaining runways.[5]

In 1992 parts of the action film Passenger 57, starring Wesley Snipes, were filmed at the then-Orlando Sanford Regional Airport, where it represented a small airport in Louisiana. Shortly after filming, a new control tower was built and air traffic control operations assumed by the FAA. The Navy control tower and the large Navy hangar to which it was attached were demolished.

In the mid-1990s a new passenger terminal capable of accommodating jet airliners was built. Charter airlines catering to the heavy British tourist demographic that had previously been using Orlando International Airport were offered greatly reduced landing fees at Sanford, so many carriers relocated their operations. Scheduled international and domestic flights followed, as reflected by current operations by Icelandair and Allegiant Air.

In 2010 Allegiant Air announced it was moving many flights to larger and more centrally located Orlando International Airport to compete with AirTran Airways. Due to passenger's comments, all flights have returned to Orlando Sanford.

In 2014, Thomas Cook Airlines moved back to the larger Orlando International Airport after almost a decade of serving Orlando Sanford. Icelandair followed with their own move in 2015.[6]

The airport is home to Aerosim Flight Academy, formerly Delta Connection Academy, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, which provides ab initio flight training for prospective regional airline and international pilots. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office has a hangar and support facility for aviation elements of the agency's Special Operations Division.


The airport covers 2,010 acres (813 ha) and has four runways:

  • Runway 9L/27R: 11,002 x 150 ft. (3,353 x 46 m) Asphalt
  • Runway 9C/27C: 3,578 x 75 ft. (1,091 x 23 m) Asphalt
  • Runway 9R/27L: 6,647 x 75 ft. (2,026 x 23 m) Asphalt
  • Runway 18/36: 6,002 x 150 ft. (1,829 x 46 m) Asphalt/Concrete

The dominant runway is 9L/27R. This was built from the naval air station's original Runway 9/27, which was 8,000 ft (2,400 m) x 200 ft (61 m) with overruns of 2,145 ft (654 m) and 1,985 ft (605 m). Runway 9L/27R was recently extended 1,400 ft (430 m) to 11,000 ft (3,400 m). The project was completed on April 1, 2013. Parallel Runways 9C/27C and 9R/27L were built later, the former on a previous taxiway and the latter all-new, for small aircraft. The airport also has Runway 18/36, another Navy runway, for rare northerly fronts in the winter, but this 6000-ft runway is rarely used by airliners.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Allegiant Air Allentown/Bethlehem, Appleton, Asheville, Austin, Bangor, Belleville/St. Louis, Bloomington/Normal, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Chattanooga, Chicago-Rockford, Cincinnati, Clarksburg, Columbus-Rickenbacker, Concord (NC), Des Moines, Duluth, Elmira/Corning, Fargo, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Fort Wayne, Grand Forks, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Greenville–Spartanburg, Harrisburg, Huntington (WV), Indianapolis, Kansas City (begins November 13, 2015), Knoxville, Lexington, Little Rock, Memphis, New Orleans, Niagara Falls, Omaha (begins November 5, 2015), Owensboro, Peoria, Pittsburgh (begins November 5, 2015), Plattsburgh, Portsmouth (NH), Raleigh/Durham, Roanoke, Rochester (NY) (begins November 13, 2015), San Antonio (begins November 5, 2015), Sioux Falls, South Bend, Springfield (IL), Springfield–Branson, Toledo, Tri-Cities (TN), Tulsa, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Youngstown‑Warren
Seasonal: Bismarck, Grand Island (begins November 7, 2015), Hagerstown (MD), Laredo, McAllen, Myrtle Beach, Moline/Quad Cities, Oklahoma City, Shreveport, St. Cloud
A, B
Jetairfly Seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels A
National Airlines Seasonal: Las Vegas (begins December 27, 2015), San Juan (begins December 16, 2015), St. John's (begins January 18, 2016), Vancouver (begins January 20, 2016), Windsor (begins December 17, 2015) A, B
Surinam Airways Seasonal: Paramaribo A
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Birmingham, London–Gatwick, Manchester, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow–International, London-Stansted (begins May 4, 2016),[7] Newcastle B
TUI Airlines Netherlands Charter: Amsterdam A


Top domestic destinations

Busiest domestic routes
(June 2014 - July 2015)[8]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Allentown, PA 47,230 Allegiant
2 Lexington, KY 41,080 Allegiant
3 Knoxville, TN 40,960 Allegiant
4 Cincinnati, OH 40,090 Allegiant
5 Harrisburg, PA 32,000 Allegiant
6 Plattsburgh, NY 25,300 Allegiant
7 Bangor, ME 25,050 Allegiant
8 Huntington, WV 24,890 Allegiant
9 Asheville, NC 24,340 Allegiant
10 Grand Rapids, MI 24,220 Allegiant

Annual traffic

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Sanford Airport, 1995 thru 2014[1][4]
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
2010 1,165,435 2000 1,086,635
2009 1,702,412 1999 939,962
2008 1,837,247 1998 1,198,803
2007 1,780,495 1997 1,044,496
2006 1,645,989 1996 669,576
2005 1,649,237 1995 48,186
2014 2,184,701 2004 1,834,315
2013 2,032,680 2003 1,253,862
2012 1,815,729 2002 1,263,662
2011 1,577,307 2001 1,222,391

Incidents and accidents

  • Numerous aircraft mishaps occurred during the World War II years, but detailed data is not readily available.
  • On July 10, 2007, a Cessna 310, originating from Daytona Beach International Airport, Florida, en route to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Florida, crashed into two homes in Sanford, Florida, killing five people: the pilot, his passenger, and three people inside the houses. The pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and attempted an emergency landing at nearby Orlando Sanford International Airport. NASCAR said the pilot of the plane was Michael Klemm, a senior captain with NASCAR Aviation. His passenger was Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corporation president Lesa France Kennedy, the daughter of the longtime head of NASCAR Bill France, Jr., who had died a month earlier in June 2007. They were the only two people on the plane, according to both NASCAR and the NTSB. Four people also were injured, three of whom were critically burned, authorities said. The NTSB factual report dated December 2007 indicates that the accident was caused by an electrical malfunction, including smoke in the cockpit, that occurred on the previous flight and that was not rectified prior to the accident flight, resulting in the subsequent fire. The accident pilot was informed about the known problem prior to flight but elected to fly the aircraft regardless.
  • On October 8, 2010, Allegiant Air Flight 700, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80, caught fire in the right engine shortly after departing the gate at Orlando Sanford International Airport. The fire was quickly extinguished, and the passengers safely exited the plane with no injuries being reported. The flight was scheduled to depart for Roanoke Regional Airport in Roanoke, Virginia, at 7 a.m.[11]


  1. ^ a b Monthly Statistics. Retrieved on March 6, 2,015.
  2. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for SFB (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2012-03-31
  3. ^ "Airport Development, Operations, Management - Airports Worldwide". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Passenger Counts. Retrieved on March 6, 2015.
  5. ^ Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida, Daytona Beach area. (1944-03-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ > "RITA - BTS - Transtats". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Jet With 147 Passengers On Board Makes Emergency Landing – Boston News Story – WCVB Boston
  10. ^ "Allegiant Jet Moved After Emergency Landing". WESH. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Jetliner Catches Fire At Sanford Airport – Orlando News Story – WKMG Orlando

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Orlando Sanford International Airport
  • FAA Airport Diagram (PDF), effective June 23, 2016
  • FAA Terminal Procedures for SFB, effective June 23, 2016
  • Resources for this airport:
    • FAA airport information for SFB
    • AirNav airport information for KSFB
    • ASN accident history for SFB
    • FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart, Terminal Procedures
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