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ABE History

ABE 1950s

History Of The Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE)

1927 – A 50 acre parcel designated by U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Aviation as an emergency landing strip for airmail pilots.

1929 – Allentown Chamber of Commerce guided the formation of the Allentown Airport Corporation. The Allentown Airport opened.

1935 – United Airlines scheduled service began with Boeing 247. The City of Allentown took title to the airport.

1937 – Wilfred M. Wiley Post, Jr., formed Lehigh Aircraft Company and operated the airport.

1938 – The City of Bethlehem joined in the Airport effort. Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College both participated in the Civilian pilot Training Program.

1946 – Lehigh Airport Authority formed, the first airport authority in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem and Lehigh County.

1948 – the city of Easton and Northampton County joined the Authority. The name of the Authority was changed to the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority. TWA began scheduled airline operations between Newark and Pittsburgh

1950 – A new $1 million passenger terminal was completed at Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport. The 38,000 sf terminal served Colonial, United and Trans World Airlines. Colonial Airlines flights operated between Montreal and Washington, DC. 18,909 passengers were handled that year.

1966 – The first scheduled jet service provided by United Air Lines was initiated.

1968 – The counties of Lehigh and Northampton assumed the sponsorship for the airport and plans for a new terminal complex began.

1975 – A new $11,000,000 terminal complex opened at the Airport.

1994 – The name of the Airport was changed to Lehigh Valley International Airport.

1997 – A $13.5 million, 33,000 square ft. addition to the terminal was completed.

1999 – Braden Airpark acquired by the Authority.

2000 – Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport acquired by the Authority.

2012 – A $15 million, 58,000 square ft. terminal expansion project was completed.

2013 – The Lehigh Valley Airshow was held. 42,000 people attended the weekend event. The Black Diamonds (L-39 jets) are the featured act. The Aviation Pioneer Exhibit is established featuring Pennsylvania aviation pioneers including John and Dorothea Leh.

2014 – The second Lehigh Valley Airshow was held.

2015 – Completed the 9-year, $24 million dollar runway 13/31 Runway Safety Area Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) Project.

2016– On May 25, Lehigh Valley International Airport became part of aviation history with the arrival of Solar Impulse 2. ABE was 1 of 7 airports in the United States to be part of their historic journey around the world.