Page 1 of 3

Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:42 am
by Flighty
The thread about ORF's new runway proposal got me thinking about some of the large runways that have been built that aren't really used (esp in the USA but we might as well go global here).

What are some big, expensive runways (civil...) that get very little use?

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:50 am
by Beatyair
I have no idea why Huntsville (I used to live there) has two parallel runways and one was just extended. Passenger service is minimal, Cargo is pretty good, and Delta practices touch and goes there, but you don't need two runways. Oddly enough, there master plan shows a third.

Feel sorry for airports that have over built and then are de-hubbed.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:52 am
by mark2fly1034
Daytona DAB has a 10,500 foot runway no plane that files there requires that much runway.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:52 am
by steex
We may need to differentiate between runways that get very little use and those that are unnecessary, but see a reasonable share of use just because they are there. The notorious 11/29 at STL was all but unneeded before it was completed, but given that it might as well be used, it sees a decent amount of movements from Concourse A carriers.

Sticking with STL, the existence of three parallels has made 6/24 virtually unneeded except in the worst of wind conditions.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:04 am
by BMcD
Daytona has seen Air Force One fly in there.

Colorado Springs has long runways as well, although we do see AF1 on occasion and some IFE for military aircraft. When the weather is bad, we do see some DEN diversions, but mostly small aircraft.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:42 am
by winterlight
Manston is no longer used thanks to our idiotic UK government.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:46 am
by flyiguy
How about the 3rd parallel runway at IAD that was completed 7 years ago and is rarely used except for maybe 1 hour a day when the int'l flights arrive from over the pond.

FLY

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:49 am
by csturdiv
BLV and GYY could be in the running for least used runways. And if people get their way in Illinois, you can add Peotone to that list.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:59 am
by B757capt
SLN Salina KS, 10,000 ft runway in the middle of nowhere!

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:37 am
by mmo
Quoting B757capt (Reply 8):
SLN Salina KS, 10,000 ft runway in the middle of nowhere

Former military base, was originally Smoky Hill that was used for training B-29 crews. Post war it was Schilling AFB which had B-47s and KC-97s assigned. The base was closed in 1965.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:31 am
by GCT64
Difficult to beat Ciudad Real Central LERL / CQM when discussing a topic like this (although that's a whole airport not just a pointless runway).

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:34 pm
by DiscoverCSG
Quoting flyiguy (Reply 6):

How about the 3rd parallel runway at IAD that was completed 7 years ago and is rarely used except for maybe 1 hour a day when the int'l flights arrive from over the pond.

IAD's UA hub is heavily banked. For over half the day, IAD could happily function as a one-runway airport. But for a few peak bank times, the second and third runways (and the crosswind runway) get used pretty well.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:02 pm
by RRTrent
11/29 at DUB.... Its only 4300ft long, not parallel to 10/28, and I've never in my life seen it used.

The irony of it all being that DUB will soon need a parallel runway

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:04 pm
by PITrules
Quoting Beatyair (Reply 1):
Oddly enough, there master plan shows a third.

Actually it allows up to 5:
http://www.huntsvillempo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/multimodal.pdf

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:07 pm
by kbmiflyer
BLV (Belleville, IL) was the one that came to mind for me, what an incredible waste of money.

Several airport have parallel runways that get used, but aren't really needed (many already mentioned here, like HSV and STL). There are several airports out there that needed the runways at some point, but not anymore - CVG 36L fits that bill.

There are also a few large airports that have crosswinds that rarely get used. 4L a ORD, 31R at DFW.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:09 pm
by roseflyer
The most expensive and least used runway that I can think of is STL. In 1998, STL spent 1.1 Billion on a new runway and bulldozed communities to do it. That is right about the same time that TWA was in a tail spin and declining when STL went from a major hub and 8th busiest airport in the country to a small spoke in the network. The runway now is barely ever used and there have been talks of closing it down and selling off the land.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:18 pm
by badgervor
MKE has runway 31/13 at 5535ft. It is used in only extreme northwest or southeast winds.But even under those rare conditions I've only seen it used a couple of times. Oh and there was that one time a learjet slid off the runway right at the intersection of 19R/25L forcing everyone to use that runway. I remember seeing a NW 727 take off that day using every bit of the runway.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:47 pm
by Cyow
I would have to nominate TNT (Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport). Besides having perhaps the best airport code on the planet, it has a 10,499 ft runway in the middle of the Florida Everglades.

Via Wikipedia: "Begun in 1968 as the Everglades Jetport, the airport was planned to be the largest airport in the world, with six runways and a new "transportation corridor" connecting it to central Miami. At the time, the Boeing 2707 was under development and it was anticipated that supersonic aircraft would dominate long-haul air transportation. Because of environmental concerns and the cancellation of the 2707 program, construction was halted in 1970 after the completion of just one 10,500' runway.

The unfinished airport was maintained primarily for the purpose of training airline pilots, particularly for Pan American World Airways and Eastern Airlines which were based at nearby Miami International Airport. The long runway at Dade-Collier could accommodate aircraft as large as Boeing 747s, and was equipped with a state-of-the-art instrument landing system. The isolation of the airport meant that it could be used for training flights at all hours of the day and night. In more recent years, the advent of flight simulators has made such training flights less economical, and the airport is now used much less frequently, although it remains open to general aviation."

Most recently the South Florida media has reported that Dade county aviation director Emilio Gonzalez said that his department is now studying a plan to convert the 23,840-acre facility into a cargo airport, as cargo and passenger volume continues to climb at MIA. see http://www.thenextmiami.com/dade-jet...could-be-opened-for-cargo-flights/

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:16 pm
by r2rho
What's with the hate for STL? The runway sees regular use, and is particularly useful in bad weather, when airport capacity used to plummete in the old configuration. Yes, it would see more use if TW were still around, but it is not lying abandoned; there are many more runways around the country that would rank well ahead, yet do not get the publicity STL gets on this site.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:38 pm
by BN727227Ultra
OMA, three runways, two parallel and one offset 4 degrees. They really only need one...but I can understand maint. But three?

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:45 pm
by badgervor
I just remembered the least used runway of all...Meigs Field  sarcastic 

[Edited 2016-02-05 07:46:31]

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:50 pm
by UltimateDelta
Quoting BN727227Ultra (Reply 19):

OMA, three runways, two parallel and one offset 4 degrees. They really only need one...but I can understand maint. But three?

Well, 14L/32R is almost exclusively used by GA and biz jets on the east side, which constitutes a fair amount of traffic at OMA. The other two both see regular use, so it's not like there are any just sitting there waiting for the right conditions before they can be used. Granted, none really functions as a crosswind runway since the headings aren't that far off, but that's more a function of the shape of the land on which it's built.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:24 pm
by CaptSkibi
RWY 9L/27R (8708 ft x 150 ft) at DTW KDTW is almost exclusively used as a taxiway. It typically has lighted X's at each end of the runway signifying that it is closed.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:45 pm
by divemaster08
Why not the old Space Shuttle Runway in Cape Canaveral? Obviously a very good runway that was needed during its time but now is probably not used except for an odd Nasa flight?

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:50 pm
by Trucker
Speaking of St. Louis, how about BLV?

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:52 pm
by steex
Quoting r2rho (Reply 18):
What's with the hate for STL? The runway sees regular use, and is particularly useful in bad weather, when airport capacity used to plummete in the old configuration. Yes, it would see more use if TW were still around, but it is not lying abandoned; there are many more runways around the country that would rank well ahead, yet do not get the publicity STL gets on this site.

No "hate" from me, just discussion - it came to mind for me because it was my home airport for nearly 15 years.

I agree it does see regular use, but the airport would really be no worse off if it didn't. It is very clear that runway was badly needed when the idea was conceived and construction began, but STL is oft discussed because the timing turned out to be awful and it was unneeded almost very quickly once construction was complete. No ill will toward the airport or the City for the decisions that were made.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:59 pm
by Airnerd
Mirabel!

Two 12,000 footers. No passengers. A little cargo. Some manufacturing.

Room to build 4 more runways...

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:02 pm
by VS4ever
Got to throw 14/32 at BOS into the mix for this conversation, built because there was supposedly a need, way too short at 5,000 ft, and then had a hotel built at one end of it, long story behind that one.

Now used primarily as a parking spot for delayed flights and when ops require de-icing.

The last I read it had been very rarely used as it can only work in very limited conditions and only for water direction takeoffs and landings.

Nice wide taxiway though...

Actually thinking about it, we should add 15L/33R to the mix, the only time this is really used is as a hold position for flights taxiing to/from the 4/22's.

[Edited 2016-02-05 09:10:38]

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:04 pm
by BN727227Ultra
Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 21):


]Well, 14L/32R is almost exclusively used by GA and biz jets on the east side, which constitutes a fair amount of traffic at OMA. The other two both see regular use, so it's not like there are any just sitting there waiting for the right conditions before they can be used. Granted, none really functions as a crosswind runway since the headings aren't that far off, but that's more a function of the shape of the land on which it's built

Forgot about GA and Part 135. it's so quiet over there!  

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:09 pm
by a380787
The short 11/29 at EWR gets surprisingly low usage. Most take-offs occur at the longest 4L/22R and the most landings at the slightly shorter 4R/22L.

For JFK, I read somewhere that due to the congest ATC allocation, usually only 2 runways are in use instead of all 4, seriously dampening its potential.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:21 pm
by HALtheAI
VS4ever's post got me thinking; are there any runways that are used almost exclusively for taxiing instead of take-offs/landings?

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:29 pm
by seat1a
DTW 27R for East-West ops. I believe 27L is the newer runway.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:37 pm
by washingtonflyer
Quoting a380787 (Reply 29):
The short 11/29 at EWR gets surprisingly low usage. Most take-offs occur at the longest 4L/22R and the most landings at the slightly shorter 4R/22L.

They could learn a thing or two from the cross runway (17/35) at PHL - lots of turbos and RJs on that one.

Speaking of head scratcher.... how about Rwy 8/26 at PHL. I've never seen a plane land on it....

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:39 pm
by Bambel
IPC (Easter Island) has an 10.885 ft runway because it was prepared to be an abort site for the Space Shuttle. Today it sees only a few flights a week.

And i'm surprised that no one so far mentioned BER   

b.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:43 pm
by Quantos
I'm not sure how technically good they are, but the usual suspect from Canada, CYMX, has two 12,000 ft runways that see no passenger service nowadays. There are a number of cargo, general aviation, and testing/maintenance flights at the airport, though.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:54 pm
by N776AU
Quoting BMcD (Reply 4):
Colorado Springs has long runways as well,

I would think altitude also plays in to that doesn't it?

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 15):
The most expensive and least used runway that I can think of is STL. In 1998, STL spent 1.1 Billion on a new runway and bulldozed communities to do it. That is right about the same time that TWA was in a tail spin and declining when STL went from a major hub and 8th busiest airport in the country to a small spoke in the network. The runway now is barely ever used and there have been talks of closing it down and selling off the land.

I actually took off from that runway and remember told what a rarity it was. Admittedly this was 8 years ago but I don't think traffic has really picked up at STL has it?

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:55 pm
by 727LOVER
Quoting a380787 (Reply 29):
For JFK, I read somewhere that due to the congest ATC allocation, usually only 2 runways are in use instead of all 4, seriously dampening its potential.

How would they b able to use 4 at once? That is a LOT of widebody runway crossing.

Now 3, I could see 4-22s plus takeoffs on 31L beyond the intersection of 4L-22R

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:57 pm
by p201055r
Quoting RRTrent (Reply 12):
Quoting RRTrent (Reply 12):

I certainly recall EIDW's 30/12 being in use before it was re-designated 29/11, though usually to facilitate Regional/Commutter type flights and general aviation needs. The 29 or 30 approach was, if I'm not mistaken, based on a visual to 28 (or 35, when the old 24 was the principal runway), with a break off at about three miles. I can't recall many landings on 12, 30 seems to have been favoured for some reason.
I may have notched up a landing on that strip as a pax in a Saab 340, but I'd have to check. I have some recollection of an ATR42 using it for a departure to Sligo, too, so that probably isn't more than 10 years back and the designator would probably have been 29.
Can't recall when the runway designator changed, or when it ceased to be usable, but the three big X marks (visible on most satellite views from the regular suppliers of such) have been there quite a few years now and indicate it can't be used any longer.
When/if the political/planning/financial masters give the "nod" for a 28R/10L one might expect some of the "soil" of 2911 to be upgraded and returned to service.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:02 pm
by Revelation
Quoting mmo (Reply 9):
Former military base

SWF and PSM come to mind as big honking ex-SAC/TAC runways near big cities (NYC, BOS) with not much use.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:03 pm
by speedbird707
[quote=cyow,reply=17]Most recently the South Florida media has reported that Dade county aviation director Emilio Gonzalez said that his department is now studying a plan to convert the 23,840-acre facility into a cargo airport, as cargo and passenger volume continues to climb at MIA. see http://www.thenextmiami.com/dade-jet...could-be-opened-for-cargo-flights/

I had also heard a year or so ago that the environmentalist movement were giving birth to full size cows over the thought of an active airport there. They used the standard what "if" questions etc. It will be a hard slog to do it...I was out there two years ago and tried to get in to have a look around but security appeared rather quickly.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:11 pm
by atwinstructor
Quoting washingtonflyer (Reply 32):
Speaking of head scratcher.... how about Rwy 8/26 at PHL. I've never seen a plane land on it....

8 is used mainly only for takeoffs due to the approach path coming directly over the terminal. 26 is used for landings on a fairly regular basis as well, i've done both in a CRJ on multiple occasions.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:11 pm
by vw
With regard to 8/26 at PHL it doesn't see nearly the volume of 18/36 but is used regularly by the CRJ200,Dash-8, and General Aviation. I was a co-pilot for Air Wisconsin, when PHL is departing off the 9's we would run the performance for an 8 departure. Flights to the Northeast all were able to use 8 for departure, also if light 26 was available to land on. With the location of the terminals, 26 takeoffs, or 08 landings, are not an option.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:15 pm
by Moose135
Quoting Beatyair (Reply 1):
I have no idea why Huntsville (I used to live there) has two parallel runways and one was just extended. Passenger service is minimal, Cargo is pretty good, and Delta practices touch and goes there, but you don't need two runways.

Huntsville saw significant airline traffic in the 1960s and 70s during the height of the space age, which is probably why it originally had the two runways.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:43 pm
by a380787
Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 36):

How would they b able to use 4 at once? That is a LOT of widebody runway crossing.

Now 3, I could see 4-22s plus takeoffs on 31L beyond the intersection of 4L-22R

Look at the SFO model for guidance. During non-fog regular ops, the longer runways are used for landing, with approach coming in from south bay, landing in pairs. The shorter cross-section pair is used for domestic departures, usually heading out to the bay towards Oakland.

Most long-haul widebody departures also use the longer runways, departing northwest towards SSF/DalyCity.

SFO distributes the departures and arrivals well across all 4 runways. I don't really recall any one of them being neglected.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:50 pm
by UltimateDelta
Quoting BN727227Ultra (Reply 28):
it's so quiet over there!

Go check it out the last weekend in April/first weekend in May!  

Simply out of curiosity, what's up with runway 17/35 in SLC? I've certainly seen it used, but not very much compared to the 16/34s.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:55 pm
by Gazdon121
Campbeltown airport here in the UK is massively underused has a very long runway, I believe concord used it for training many many years ago

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:01 pm
by MUWarriors
Quoting badgervor (Reply 16):

That one gets used if the 19R/1L and 7R/25L intersection is under construction. I've landed on that one on a number of occasions, think I only took off on it once. It seems to have a fair number of landings in the early morning.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:01 pm
by zkncj
IUE (Niue) has an 2335m runway that is only used twice an by an NZ A320 doing an AKL-IUE-AKL service.

Other than that Niue is cut of from the world, for the rest of the week.

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:11 pm
by PatrickZ80
I remember when MST still had runway 07/25. It was short and hardly ever used, even GA traffic mostly used the longer runway 03/21. It was later removed to make room for a new cargo terminal.

A similar situation exists at GRQ, altough over there runway 01/19 still exists. However, I've never seen an aircraft land or take off from there. They all seem to use 05/23.

[Edited 2016-02-05 11:15:09]

RE: Best, Least-used Runways?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:15 pm
by VS4ever
Quoting HALtheAI (Reply 30):
VS4ever's post got me thinking; are there any runways that are used almost exclusively for taxiing instead of take-offs/landings?

LGW North Runway 8L/26R is probably the prime example, as it's too close to 8R/26L to be used at the same time, it is pretty much exclusively used as a taxiway unless maintenance etc.