Monday, November 30, 2020

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP) tunnel gains a runway

The local airport’s director wanted a passenger tunnel with flair — with a bit of takeoff, so to speak.

So Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport maintenance staff painted the tunnel floor to match the appearance of 4-22, the airport’s 7,501-foot main runway.

Now, before travelers jet off to their destinations on a real runway, they stroll over its baby cousin.

“I’ve never seen it in another airport,” airport Director Carl Beardsley Jr. said. “In fact, not only do we have a runway, but we have runway lights on either side.”

Business travelers who fly out of the airport know the above-ground tunnel especially well. It connects the garage and lot where they park to an escalator that climbs into the terminal where they check their luggage.

“We’re always looking at ways of improving the customer experience at the airport,” Beardsley said. “We’ve had this tunnel to the terminal building … and although it’s very functional, it’s never really been something that is pleasing to the eye. So working with our airport maintenance department, we came up with an idea to paint a runway on the floor of the tunnel … It’s exactly what the runway would look like to scale from the airfield at the airport.”

Beardsley said he’s seen children put their arms out and run through the tunnel like they’re taking off. Near the baggage claim, the airport keeps a mobile mini-airplane that it offers for local parades. Some kids ask about taking that plane into the tunnel, Beardsley said.

“And there’s been talk of seeing whether or not it’ll fit in there, (maybe) take some pictures of it taxiing down the runway,” he said.

The indoor runway adds to a series of features the airport has incorporated to distinguish itself the past few years. Others include a lactation room for nursing mothers, an updated meditation room meant for nervous travelers or worried waiting families and a military waiting room.

Beardsley promises others.

“We haven’t put our finger on it as of yet,” he said. “But we’ll have some more tricks for you down the road.”

Agnes Huff, who owns a Los Angeles, California-based marketing and public relations firm that serves the aviation industry, said touches like the tunnel runway make people smile and get more comfortable in an airport and potentially create a memory.

At Heathrow Airport in London, she said, she walked along a path with no stairs to reach an upper level with walls covered with “these amazing airplane pictures and travel pictures throughout that whole area.”

“I mean if you’re talking about millennials and social media opportunities and Instagram, and if you’re standing there and you’re having your selfie taken or a picture taken, that highlights your trip, your experience,” she said.


  1. What an absolute waste of tax payer money!
    That is a county owned airport. It’s been circling the drain for years. Should have used that money and tried to get a carrier oh there.
    Shame on you AVPA