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Our History

Get to Know GSP

The seeds were planted for GSP more than 50 years ago.

Until that time, air traffic in the region was serviced by separate downtown airports in Greenville and Spartanburg. Larger aircrafts were being built and with the coming of the Jet Age, smaller airports were becoming inadequate.

So a group of Upstate business leaders, led by Roger Milliken and Charlie Daniel, organized an effort to build a new, modern airport. They quickly determined that a local community called Flatwood, with long stretches of flat land between Greenville and Spartanburg, was ideally situated to serve as the site of a regional airport.

The process of acquiring the land began in late 1958, and construction began in 1961. The first commercial flight, Eastern Airlines flight 580, arrived at GSP on October 15, 1962 at 7:33 a.m. In the following years, GSP earned and has maintained a reputation for safety. This record of safety combined with an innovative vision has propelled GSP into one of the finest airports in the country. The story continues.


History and Timeline of the GSP International Airport

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1958
Proposal presented to the legislative delegations of Greenville and Spartanburg Counties to build a $5,500,000 airport.

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1961
Ground-breaking ceremony held at 11:00 AM on July 7th.

 

1962
Airport opened on October 15th becoming the first non-military airport to have a runway centerline lighting system.

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1970

  • Air freight building constructed providing facilities for air cargo and cargo brokers.
  • United States Customs Office established.
 

1973-75

  • Rental car service center constructed, allowing quicker turnaround for rental cars and increasing number of cars available to the public.
  • South concourse extended to include additional passenger waiting area.
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1977
Runway strengthened to accommodate larger aircraft.

 

1980
Airfreight building expanded to 40,000 square feet and cargo road added.

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1983

  • South concourse extended by 500 feet for airline operations.
  • Airline passenger area expanded by 1,800 square feet and three gate positions added.
 

1984-1985

  • New parking lot added, increasing total parking to 1,500.
  • Delta Air Lines and American Airlines begin service to GSP
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1986
Airport fire station expanded.

 

1987
Air carrier apron expanded by 234,750 square feet, making space available for additional gate positions.

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1988
Parking garage built, adding 1,600 new parking spaces. Total parking now exceeds 3,000 spaces.

 

1989

  • Expansion project increased airport terminal and passenger waiting area by 140,000 square feet.
  • Boarding bridges added for passenger access.
  • New lounge and dining facilities added. A travel agency is located inside the terminal building.
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1994
The National Weather Service office located at GSP upgraded with a $3.5 Million NEXRAD Doppler Radar Center. The NWS is responsible for weather forecast and storm warnings for forty-six surrounding counties in the Upstate, Georgia, and Western North Carolina.

 

1995

  • Runway extended from 7,600 feet to 9,000 feet.
  • The airport’s name changed to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. The airport has international status because it houses two Federal Inspection Stations (FIS) consisting of Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture. 250 international passengers per hour can be cleared through Customs at GSP.
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1998
Second parking garage built, adding 1,500 new parking spaces bringing the total number of parking spaces to 4,500.

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1999
Second runway expansion project completed, making it 11,001 feet long, enough to accommodate any aircraft in operation today.

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2001

  • Opened 13,000 square feet of new terminal space. This area was constructed in 1990 but was not needed until 2001 due to airline expansion. The new space increased the available number of boarding gates to 13.
  • Completed ramp and taxi lane rehabilitation and expansion.
  • Built a new 110,000 square foot FedEx facility.
  • Constructed five new rental car service facilities.
 

2002

  • Expanded the South Cargo apron by approximately 35,000 square yards to accommodate additional cargo and passenger airlines. This brings the total amount of aircraft parking on this ramp to 56,000 square yards.
  • The GSP Airport District and the Transportation Security Administration installed explosive detection equipment to screen all baggage prior to it being loaded on board aircraft.
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2003
Constructed five new rental car service facilities. These facilities were constructed to accommodate the need by the rental car companies to service and maintain their ever-increasing fleet of rental vehicles.

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2004

  • Expanded and upgraded the security fencing and access control equipment in order to improve access control to the airfield and passenger loading areas.
  • Purchased and installed two new passenger-boarding bridges, which were needed to accommodate additional airlines. The airport now has a total of eleven passenger-boarding bridges.
  • The airfield was named after Roger Milliken, the founder and Chairman of the Airport Commission, until his passing on December 30, 2010. Mr. Milliken’s vision and dedication to GSP International Airport has made it one of the best and safest airports in the nation.
 

2005
Widened the airport entrance road to accommodate additional vehicle traffic. This project was advanced several years in order to take advantage of the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s decision to close and improve the airport interchange from Interstate 85.

 

2010

  • Purchased approximately 10 acres of land along I-85 for the future construction of an overpass bridge to northbound traffic on the Interstate.
  • Completed roadway overlay on public roadway in front of the terminal building, which was showing signs of deterioration. The overlay extended from the entrance to the airport at Highway 14 to the general aviation area and the roadway in front of the terminal building. New curb, gutter, and some sidewalks were also added. 
  • Completed overlay of the long term parking lot.
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2012
Launched WINGSPAN, a four-year, $125 million terminal improvement program that marks the most substantial wave of renovations in the airport's history. WINGSPAN is designed to increase capacity, improve efficiency, incorporate safety processes, integrate sustainable practices, and impact the economic landscape.

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2013

  • Relocated the Rental Car Customer counters and offices to Garage A Levels 1 and 2. 
  • Added new luggage cart rental dispensers in the Economy Parking Lot and Baggage Claim.
 

2015

  • Opened Facilities Administration Building
  • GSP Police equipped with body cameras
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2016

Launched Cerulean Aviation as the new brand identity for the Aviation Services Department.

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2016

Established a partnership with Senator International to begin regularly scheduled international cargo service.

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2017

Cerulean officially becomes the Fixed Based Operator at GSP International Airport. 

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2017

Completed the WINGSPAN Terminal Renovation Program.