Philadelphia say “GA, go away!”

By Rebecca Lougheed

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KPHL/Philadelphia have brought in a ban on international GA traffic. Here’s the info.

Why they don’t want you there.

KPHL/Philadelphia is a busy airport. It served nearly 20 million passengers in 2021 making it the 21st busiest airport in the US. Which doesn’t sound that busy until you remember there are about 20,000 airports in the country, and  over 150 international ones.

The airport handles around 500 daily departures for a whole load of international airlines… and it just doesn’t have the room for general aviation traffic right now. Or rather, Customs don’t.

It isn’t forever though.

They are working on a new Customs Facility and once ready, will welcome you back with open arms. Or wings. Or maybe passport stamps? I’m not sure the best analogy here. Anyway, they are spending a rumoured $1.4 million on it so it isn’t that they don’t want you, it’s just that they can’t really fit you in right now.

And the airport is also going through a big cargo expansion so expect some big changes here in 2023.

They can still accept emergency traffic of course so don’t count them out if you really need them…

The contact info for customs (GA approvals) at KPHL is +1 215 863 4272 and the Philadelphia area CBP page can be found here with contacts for a whole load of helpful folk in the area.

Where else can you go?

If you need to get into the Philly area then here are the options available to you for the foreseeable future:

International options.

KTTN/Trenton Mercer

KTTN has 2 runways – 06/24 which is 6006′ and  16/34 which is 4800′. You have an ILS 6 or various RNP options (GPS and AR).

Customs is available, and you can contact Officer Mariani by telephone on +1-215-852-2641.

You also have 2 FBO options – FlightServ Email fbo@flightserv.net / Tel +1-609-583-4705 or Signature Email ttn@signatureflight.com / Tel +1-609-771-9500

KPNE/Northeast Philadelphia

KPNE also offers 2 runways – 06/24 at 7000′ and 15/33 at 5000′. Runway 24 has an ILS, but otherwise you’re looking at an RNAV (GPS) approach.

They have customs, but it is by PPR only. The airport is also closed to Part 121 and Part 135 operators. So check in advance that they can accept you seems to be the story here.

Atlantic Aviation are the FBO to know, and you can get hold of them via Tel +1-215-698-3100 / Email Steven.Polansky@atlanticaviation.com

KILG/Wilmington

Runways 09/27 and 01/19 are both over 7000′ and they have a shorter third runway 14/32 offering only 4602′. Runway 1 is the only runway with an ILS, the rest are RNAV only.

Atlantic Aviation can look after you here as well  (mark.anderson@atlanticaviation.com is your man), or try Fly Advanced on Tel +1-3-2-324-9970 / Email ilgfrontdesk@flyadvanced.com

This is another PPR for customs airport so get in touch in advance to arrange.

KEWR/Newark

A bit further afield, but it’s there if you need it. And we’re sure you have all the info on Newark already, and the many other New York are airports that you have as options if you don’t mind taking a train after.

KACY/Atlantic City

If you’re looking for a longer runway then KACY’s 13/31 offers you 10,000′ and an ILS, so a good option for the bigger aircraft.

Signature will sort you out here if you want to head in. Tel +1-609-383-3993 / Email ACY@signatureflight.com


If you know a better alternative then drop it in the comments and let everyone know!

And of course, there are a whole bunch of very decent regional airports to consider if you’re local to the US.

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Rebecca Lougheed

Rebecca Lougheed

I am an OPSGROUP team member, an A340/A380 pilot, and interested in all things flight ops, cats and beer related. Based near an undisclosed airfield in England. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

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