Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport

Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport is a public international airport in Warwick, Rhode Island. It is categorized as a small hub primary commercial service facility by the FAA. PVD is a regional airport serving the FAA's New England Region and is also the largest and most active of the six airports operated by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. The airport terminal has two concourses with 22 gates. There were 56,236 aircraft operations in 2021. The airport covers 1,111 acres, and there are two runways: 5/23, which is 8,700 feet (asphalt), and 16/34, which is 6,081 feet (asphalt).

Airport history

PVD originated on September 27th, 1931, and was dedicated to Hillsgrove State Airport. In 1933, the Rhode Island State Airport Terminal was built. In 1938, the airport was renamed in honor of T.F. Green, who had been elected to the Senate in 1936. In 1938 there were three concrete runways, 3,000 feet each. From 1942 to 1945, the U.S. Army took control of the airport and used it for flight training. By 1946, all three runways were 4,000 feet long. By April 1951, Runway 5 was 5,000 feet long, whereas 5R was under construction (it was completed a few years later at 5,466 feet and was extended to 6,466 feet around 1967). In 1957, PVD was serviced by Eastern Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and National Airlines. In 1964, a new terminal was built, replacing the old terminal from 1933. The first jets arrived at the airport in 1966. In 1996, the terminal was again replaced with an expansion to 18 gates, as well as the addition of a lower arrival level and an upper departure level. Four more gates were added the following year. Security changes following the 9/11 attacks and increased traffic meant that the terminal became congested. As such, renovations were undertaken, which included the expansion of baggage rooms (to accommodate a new In-Line Explosive Detection System Baggage Handling System), expanded security screening checkpoints, more concessions and ticket counters, and the expansion of RIAC offices. Whereas traffic at the airport peaked at 5.7 million in 2005, the following economic downturn and the trend of airlines to consolidate their service in the larger airports meant that traffic to small and medium airports waned, and numbers decreased to 3.5 million passengers in 2015. PVD had international service to Toronto Pearson International Airport from 1998 to 2013, first via Air Jazz and later by Air Georgian (both operating as express carriers for Air Canada). Other destinations over the years included Bermuda by Leisure Air in the early 90s, Azores Airlines flying seasonally to the Azores, as well as service to Frankfurt with Condor and Praia (in the Cape Verde Islands) by TACV. Runway 5/23 officially opened on October 1st, 2017, at its newly expanded length of 8,700 feet. The project’s primary goal is to attract more nonstop long-range flights. Furthermore, safety features were added in the event of airplane overruns, while nearby utility poles and trees were removed to clear approach lanes. Again, an entire city park was moved from one side of the airport to another. Efforts to change the airport’s name to reflect its international flight presence better and describe the location it serves were finally adopted in 2021 (having failed in 2018), and the name was changed to Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.

Airport location

The airport is located six miles south of Providence. 

Airport facts

  • PVD was the first state-owned airport in the U.S. 
  • In 2017, PVD was named the official airport of the New England Patriots. 
  • PVD was visited by Air Force One several times, carrying then-President Richard Nixon in 1972, Gerald Ford in 1974, and Barack Obama in 2014. 
  • The main terminal was named for Rhode Island governor Bruce Sundlun in 1996.

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