PhILS banner
Agency level banner

Commerce, Department of / Aviation Division

[Record group 64-8]
Agency home page.
Agency Function
The Commerce Department's Division of Aviation (DOA) operates the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Philadelphia Northeast Airport (PNE). The Director of Aviation, assisted by the Deputy Directors of Administration and Finance, Operation and Maintenance, Planning and Development, and Public Affairs and Marketing is responsible for the management and operation of the Philadelphia Airport System ("the Airport"), which is owned by the City of Philadelphia. It is the mission of "the Airport" to improve, operate, and develop premier air transportation facilities to serve the Greater Philadelphia region that deliver superior standards of customer service and excellence while maintaining the highest levels of safety, security, convenience, and efficiancy. According to the Home Rule Charter the Division may perform these functions itself or it may contract them out. The Division of Aviation operates "the Airport" as a self-sustaining entity and is therefore responsible for the granting of all leases and licenses in the operation and use of its facilities.

Current information on the Philadelphia Airport is available on the Internet at

Administrative Subunits
Director of Aviation
The Director is responsible for the administration, operation and capital development of an air transportation facility committed to secure and maintain the highest levels of customer service and excellent standards at both PHL and PNE, as well as governmental affairs and representation at all city, state, and federal levels.
Operations and Maintenance
Areas of responsibility include safety, security, maintenance, repair, operations, snow removal, landscaping, communications, of both airside and landside operations, as well as warehouse, procurement, and custodial.
Planning and Development
Areas of responsibility include engineering, implementation of planning and development of all construction related issues, environmental regulation, toxic and hazardous wastes, noise abatement, authorization of FAA grant sponsor assurances mandating operating and capital revenues generated for uses and abilities, and signage.
Administration and Finance
Areas of responsibility include administrative and financial services including budget, taxes, accounts payable/receivable, insurance and bonds for both airlines and operating business, contractual accountability on all tenants, all personnel activities, and management of information services and telecommunications.
Marketing and Public Affairs
Areas of responsibility include public relations and tours, information booth services, availability of statistical reports, bilingual operators and services, development of nonstop international air service routes and trans-continental service to the West Coast, sponsoring of events and speeches, encouragement of new entrant airlines and stimulation of a competitive air fare on domestic routes, response to surveys and consumer service needs.

Agency History
The Bureau of Aeronautics of the Department of Public Works was created as part of the 1946 Budget for the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia International Airport was established in 1938 as Municipal Airport, then became S. Davis Wilson Airport, Municipal Airport (again), and Southwest Airport before assuming its current name (PHL). The Northeast Airport was established in 1944, first known as Muncipal Airport, Northeast Airport, North Philadelphia Airport and currently Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The Bureau of Aeronautics was designated as the Division of Aviation, an original division of the Department of Commerce under the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter of 1951.

The existing "Airport" boundaries contain approximately 2,000 acres at PHL and 1,260 acres of land at PNE. PHL serves primarily origin-destination passengers, and is the 24th largest origin-destination airport in the United States. PHL offered nonstop flights to 84 cities from Philadelphia, serving approximately 9.3 million passengers in 1995. Air cargo traffic at PHL has increased dramatically in development with a growth rate of 47% between 1992 and 1995, or 320,000 tons to 470,000 tons. PNE provides facilities for general aviation, air taxi, and corporate as well as occasional military use.

Financial operations of the "Airports" are accounted for in the Aviation Fund, a separate City enterprise fund. All Airport rentals and fees collected from airlines and other tenants are credited to the fund; all Airport-related City expenditures are charged to the fund. Aviation Operating and Capital Accounts are maintained by the City separate and apart from the Consolidated Cash Account. Two of the Airport's cost centers, the Outside Terminal Area (OTA) and the International Terminal, can generate profits or losses which under contractual agreements with the Scheduled Airlines are shared between the City and the Scheduled Airlines.

Archival Records
No holdings

Current Records

Click on a folder or file to return to that level...
PhILS Home
City Agencies
Current Agency Information Sheet. (Text-only version of this page)

Send your comments to
Last updated on November 8, 2000