LVIA to become first airport to install LifeAire filtration system

The $29 million terminal connector and security checkpoint where the LifeAire system will be installed is currently under construction at Lehigh Valley International Airport. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

Lehigh Valley International Airport will become the first airport to utilize the locally developed LifeAire air filtration system when it opens its new $29 million terminal connector and security checkpoint space early next year. 

Tom Stoudt, executive director of the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority, said the authority’s board of directors was in the process of designing the space when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

He said suddenly the idea of protecting against viruses and other pathogens was one of the top concerns of airports around the world, and the security checkpoint space was the area with the most contact and was the biggest risk for spreading the virus. 

“So, when we were looking at the options different airports were implementing, we saw a lot of different technology,” Stoudt said. “We wanted something that was a very robust system, something that could not just handle COVID-19 but all kinds of airborne pathogens coming down the line.” 

He said that since the LifeAire system was already used extensively in the hospital and health care industry, they knew it was a quality system. 

LifeAire was developed in the Lehigh Valley around 10 years ago by fertility specialist, Dr. Kathryn Worrilow, who wanted a superior air filtration system to keep out impurities that could negatively impact the in vitro fertilization process. It can filter out viruses as small as the Anthrax virus, which is the smallest of the viruses, even smaller than COVID-19. 

She quickly saw the possibilities the system had for more general health care uses and expanded the product line to focus on a broader range of needs. 

The LifeAire system is now being used in settings ranging from St. Luke’s University Hospital to the Mayo Clinic. 

When the pandemic hit, it drastically changed the business model. Worrilow said commercial real estate owners were reaching out to her asking if she could adapt an air filtration system to meet their desire to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. The business quickly and dramatically expanded. 

With the installation of the LifeAire system in the airport expansion, which is currently under construction, Worrilow said she hopes it will show other airports the advantages of having such a system to protect the health of passengers. 

“Their vision was so impressive,” Worrilow said. “They wanted to do the best for their employees and passengers.” 

Stoudt said he was happy to find the technology the airport needed from a local source. 

“We saw a product that checked all the boxes for us, but it also happened to be made here in the Lehigh Valley,” he said. Because the airport works so closely with many Lehigh Valley businesses, he said it is always the authority’s goal to support those local businesses. 

“Now we’re opening the door for other airports to bring this in,” he said. 

But the sky, and not the airport, may be the limit for the prospects of the LifeAire system as the world becomes more attentive to preventing the spread of viruses. 

Worrilow said that not only has the pandemic opened up commercial real estate markets, but more managers of other public spaces are looking into employing the technology. 

Currently, Worrilow said she is in talks with three major sporting venues to install LifeAire systems to make their facilities a safer place. 


LVIA hires firm to develop space for increased air cargo demand

Since 2016 Lehigh Valley International Airport has seen a 165% increase in cargo traffic — going from processing 47 million pounds of cargo to more than 126 pounds in 2019 and 210 million during the COVID-19 bump last year.

With the steady pace of air cargo growth expected to continue at the airport, the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority is looking to develop a range of facility and infrastructure, including cargo, logistics and other airport facilities to help meet the demand.

The LNNA selected Aviation Facilities Company Management LLC of Dulles, Virginia, to plan and develop portions of the airport’s property for such use.

“Developing air cargo infrastructure remains a strategic goal for the Airport Authority,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director, LNAA.  “Partnering with the AFCO team on this important initiative will allow Lehigh Valley International to better serve our current air cargo demand, while providing expansion opportunities for new and existing businesses. This partnership will increase the ability of cargo carriers to serve the growing demand in our region.”

Over the last several years, the authority has evaluated a number of alternatives and reviewed proposals focused on air cargo growth options for undeveloped land on the airfield, he said.

The Airport Authority agreed that AFCO presented a strong vision that compliments the ABE Masterplan.

He said AFCO provides an experienced team and an established communication network for coordinating projects of this scope with the various regulatory agencies associated with on-airport development.

Air travel gradually increasing at Lehigh Valley International Airport

Passenger traffic at Lehigh Valley International Airport is still down because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But it in October it did see another over month increase.

A total of 35,995 passengers traveled through LVIA last month. That’s a 53.7% decrease over October 2019, but is up about 10,000 passengers from September.

“A rise of 10,000 passengers versus last month is uplifting even as the pandemic presents new challenges with the change of seasons. It also potentially indicates the growing trust and confidence that flying from your neighborhood airport remains a very safe option,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director of the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority.

He said that air traffic is likely to continue at lower levels, but there are some indicators that it could continue an upward trend.

“Although holiday travel is projected to be down from normal levels this year, airlines at ABE are adding capacity. Delta is adding a second flight to Atlanta next month and United will begin service to Washington Dulles International Airport in December. Allegiant and American are operating at near normal schedules which certainly has your neighborhood airport positioned for success,” said Stoudt.

United reported a passenger traffic decrease of 75%, Delta dropped 71%, American declined by 50.7%, and Allegiant was down 33.3%.

Air cargo at the airport is up over last year, which it has been consistently for the past several months.

In October 16.4 million pounds of cargo passed through the airport, a 15.7% increase over October 2019 when the airport saw 14.2 million pounds of cargo.

Summer travel season ends down at LVIA

As expected, as the summer travel season at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) ended it was still down from 2019 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority reported this week that 25,116 passengers traveled out of the airport during the month of August.

That’s down 72.2% over August 2019 when there were 90,524 passengers.

“While certainly disappointing, we are keeping everything in perspective. Airport staff remain focused on serving the region proudly and maintaining our highest priority which is keeping passengers safe when using your neighborhood airport,” said Tom Stoudt, executive director of the authority.

He said the lower August numbers reflected an overall depressed summer travel season.

“During last summer (June to August), nearly 275,000 people chose ABE as their takeoff point. Just a year later, with obvious extenuating circumstances, only 78,851 people traveled through ABE during the same time period,” said Stoudt.

United reported a significant passenger traffic decrease of 94.3%, Delta dropped 83.4%, Allegiant was down 67.2%, and American declined by 59.6%.

On the horizon, however, the airport is looking forward to the October return of Delta service to Atlanta and United service to Chicago.

Cargo continues to be a strong area for the airport, but even that was down over last year.

Stoudt said 14,818,293 pounds of air cargo processed through the airport in August – a slight decrease of 5.7% from Aug 2019.

Looking ahead he said the passenger drop should be quite as dramatic.

“Higher summer travel numbers create large variances when there is a decrease. Typically, the fall season isn’t as busy at ABE, so the expectation is for a somewhat smaller divergence in the coming months,” said Stoudt.

Still, he said the future is uncertain as the pandemic remains a problem.

“There’s no crystal ball for us to foreshadow trends in passenger traffic as the landscape of this pandemic is everchanging. One of ABE’s biggest challenges remains that many of our nonstop destination states (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois) are still subject to the PA Department of Health travel recommendation which calls for a 14-day quarantine upon return,” said Stoudt.

LVIA debuts new corporate hangar, boosts competitive advantage

Hangar 11, a 54,000-square-foot corporate hangar, is now open at Lehigh Valley International Airport. PHOTO/COURTESY LNAA –


Hangar 11 is now open for business.

Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority officials cut the ribbon on a new $16.3 million Hangar 11, that will be used for corporate and general aviation.

The demand for corporate aircraft space is strong in the Northeast corridor, particularly among companies looking at places in the Valley, said Thomas Stoudt, executive director of LNAA.

With the new hangar LVIA can now compete with New Jersey airports in Teterboro and Morristown for corporate clients.

“Opening these hangar doors starts the next exciting chapter for general aviation at ABE. We are appreciative of the continual support from our regional delegation in Harrisburg. If you search the Northeast corridor, hangar space is extremely limited. We are confident that Hangar 11 delivers a competitive advantage in attracting new tenants which strengthens economic growth within the Lehigh Valley,” Stoudt said.

The hangar is equipped to accommodate the latest generation of corporate jets – up to the G-650, which is a 100,000-pound aircraft. The 54,000-square-foot hangar was funded, in part, by an $8.8 million grant from the PennDOT Bureau of Aviation.

“During very challenging times in aviation across the country, and especially in Pennsylvania due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unveiling of Hangar 11 is an encouraging story that still shows the continued strong economic growth at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. The Bureau of Aviation’s Transportation Assistance Program has provided over $8.8 million for the site development, design, and construction of the hangar, apron, and adjacent parking lot,” said Anthony J. McCloskey, director of PennDOT Bureau of Aviation.

This is the first hangar constructed at ABE since 2006.

A number of regional companies participated in the construction of Hangar 11.

Grace Industries Inc. of Bath was the general contractor.

Boro Construction of King of Prussia handled electric. Guy M. Cooper Inc. of Willow Grove handled the plumbing and Shannon A. Smith Inc. of Myerstown handled the HVAC.

LVIA will use $820K grant to help save energy, move TSA checkpoint

More changes coming to Lehigh Valley International Airport — changes aimed at improving passenger flow and saving energy.

The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority has been approved for an $820,958 state grant to move its TSA checkpoint to a new location between two existing airport buildings to create a more efficient passenger flow. The grant will go towards the $27 million to $30 million cost of the entire project.

The funds are coming from the Alternative and Clean Energy Program (ACE), which helps fund activities to promote the utilization, development, and construction of alternative and clean energy projects,

The program, administered jointly by the state departments of Community and Economic Development and Environmental Protection, is under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

With the funding, the airport authority will renovate the subterranean connector corridor and construct a new elevated passenger bridge to connect with the ticketing building. The project includes the installation of high efficiency LED lighting, a variable refrigerant flow cooling system and energy efficient heating boilers.

“This funding will allow LVIA to undertake an important project that will be constructed in a manner that’s mindful of our environment and ensures a more efficient passenger flow for those utilizing the facility,” said state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh. “Additionally, the immediate construction will enhance our economy and have a long-term benefit of strengthening and improving our communities here in Lehigh County.”

Window glazing will also be installed for better insulation and solar heat rejection. The 37,456-square-foot building will reduce the airport’s electricity usage by 96,935 kWh annually, a savings of 17%. The building will also reduce annual natural gas consumption by 886 MMBtu, or 60%. The installation of a 168kW solar array will generate an additional 90,000 kWh, and water saving fixtures will reduce water usage by 38%.

The project will achieve USGBC LEED Gold certification.

“We are extremely appreciative of the strong support from our Lehigh Valley delegation in Harrisburg. They remain a critical component to ensuring the aviation system within the Lehigh Valley delivers the highest levels of safety and service,” said Tom Stoudt, executive director of the airport authority. “From our initial concept, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority was committed to constructing a sustainable and energy efficient terminal connector and TSA checkpoint at Lehigh Valley International Airport. Focused on being mindful of the environment, this Alternative & Clean Energy Program grant helps the LNAA stay on its mission to meet LEED gold certification.”

Trump visits Upper Macungie PPE distribution center of Owens & Minor today

President Donald Trump on a 2019 visit to Hershey. PHOTO/FILE –

President Donald Trump is scheduled to be in the Lehigh Valley today for a brief visit to a personal protection equipment distributor, Owens & Minor in Upper Macungie Township.

The president will arrive at the Lehigh Valley International Airport just after 1 p.m. and will head to the facility for a tour that is set to begin at 1:45 p.m. The tour is private and the public is not invited. He is expected to talk about the PPE supply chain and other issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and shut down.

After the tour, the president will give remarks and is expected leave the Lehigh Valley by 3:30 p.m. to return to Washington, D.C.

The distribution center, which handles such items as N-95 face masks, has been working with the White House on obtaining PPE gear needed in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

According to its website, Owens & Minor is a member of White House COVID-19 Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force, which is working with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide healthcare customers with PPE.

It was one of five manufacturers awarded a portion of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ recent purchase order that will supply the U.S. with approximately 600 million N95 respirator masks over the next 18 months. Trump is expected to talk about the U.S. medical supply chain.

The Richmond, Virginia-based company has made no public statement about the president’s tour of its Lehigh Valley distribution Center.

LVIA passenger traffic falls 42% from COVID-19 travel restrictions

Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. PHOTO/FILE –

As expected, passenger traffic at Lehigh Valley International Airport dropped dramatically in March, breaking a 29-month streak of month-over-month growth at the airport.

Thomas Stoudt, executive director of the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority, said the nearly 42 percent drop in passenger traffic was reflective of what most airports of LVIA’s size were experiencing across the country as the nation limited non-essential travel and implemented social distancing protocol to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Certainly, it’s not a surprise to see the numbers here. I hate to say it, but we’re about average. This is pretty consistent with what we all saw.”

Passenger traffic was 44,478 for March 2020 as compared to 75,612 in March of 2019.

Stoudt said most of the drop off in traffic was in the second two weeks of the month, but traffic had already begun to decline earlier in the month after a strong February.

Stoudt said the airport, in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, was anticipating the downturn and had been in talks since January on what they should expect. He said staff is also keeping an eye out for what kinds of passenger traffic the airport can expect for the next few months.

“With restrictions and social distancing, this is foreshadowing what is coming in April and certainly May,” Stoudt said.

By looking at the number of people coming through the gates, he is already anticipating the passenger traffic decrease to double from March into April, and expects decreased traffic through at least June. United Airlines has already informed the airport that it would be operating on a reduced schedule in June.

“People are listening. They’re not flying unless essential travel is included,” Stoudt said. “It sounds odd, but it’s encouraging that people are doing the right thing and staying home and staying safe.”

But with less passenger traffic comes less revenue. Stoudt said the authority has had to cut operating expenses, and postponed some non-critical infrastructure work and has opted to finance rather than pay cash for other projects it had planned.

The authority has not furloughed any staff so far, he said, noting that many operations at the airport are safety-related and must be performed regardless of the number of flights. There have been some furloughs of roughly 60 staff who volunteered to take leave or needed to stay home during the crisis.

The authority employs about 280.

The authority anticipates about $6.2 million in relief from the federal government through the CARES Act for COVID-19 related costs and losses. Some of that money will pay for planned infrastructure projects, and provide about a two-month bridge of revenue that will help with payroll, maintenance, operational expenses and debt service.

Meanwhile there is a bright spot for the authority. While passenger traffic is up, cargo traffic remains strong.

“And I think that will continue to remain strong,” Stoudt said.

The pandemic has led to a sharp uptick in online ordering, a consumer habits that was already trending upward, and airline cargo has been trending higher as a result.

Stoudt said he knows there are some difficult times ahead at the airport, but he said the authority has seen tough times before and he expect to weather this tough time as well.

“We know how to tighten our belts,” he said.

Lehigh Valley International Airport reports 28 months of passenger growth

Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. PHOTO/FILE –

While the first two months of the year generally trend lower for travel, Lehigh Valley International Airport  is reporting an increase in passenger traffic for January.

The airport, in Hanover Township, Lehigh County saw an 11.7% increase in travel over January of the prior year with 61,309 passengers traveling through the airport as compared to 54,895 in January 2019.

The authority noted that it was the 28th consecutive month of passenger traffic growth.

“Previous travel trends at ABE demonstrated a slowdown in passenger traffic during January and February, but the momentum we’ve sustained for over two years isn’t showing signs of slowing down,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.

Recent additions to the airport include Allegiant Travel Co. opening a $50 million aircraft base there. A number of new destinations were also added over the course of the past year, which contributed to the growth.

Allegiant reported a significant passenger traffic increase of 31%, while American jumped 9% and United was up 4%. Meanwhile, Delta slightly declined in traffic for the month by 4.1%

LVIA lauds $50M investment, arrival of more than 60 new workers

Allegiant Travel Co. cemented its presence in the valley with the opening of its $50 million aircraft base at Lehigh Valley International Airport on Wednesday, bringing new routes for air travelers and more than 60 new employees.

Officials celebrated the launch of Allegiant’s 18th aircraft base with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Hanover Township, Lehigh County-based airport, framing the Las Vegas-based company’s decision to locate its newest base as a way to offer more air travel options for everyone in the region while boosting the local economy.

Officials celebrate the opening of Allegiant’s new aircraft base at Lehigh Valley International Airport. (PHOTO/BRIAN PEDERSEN) –

From LVIA, Allegiant already offers non-stop flights to Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Punta Gorda, Orlando/Sanford, Sarasota/Bradenton, and Savannah/Hilton Head. In May, it will begin offering flights to Chicago Midway International Airport.

The new base of operations houses two Airbus aircraft and operational/airline services.

Allegiant has demonstrated a strong commitment to the airport, with more than 60 employees living in the community, said Thomas Stoudt, executive director of Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.

Allegiant has hired about 66 employees and Stoudt said he is grateful that Allegiant’s pilots, flight attendants and mechanics will be working at the airport. He thought it was particularly helpful that mechanics would be on hand for any maintenance or repair work.

“I think that’s a really great feature of the base,” Stoudt said. “They can have easy access to the gate area and aircraft.”

Furthermore, the start of operations of Allegiant’s aircraft base could prompt more travelers outside the area to seek out the Lehigh Valley as a destination, he added.

“I think it’s certainly a possibility,” Stoudt said. “We have early morning departures, which is a huge selling point. I think we are going to see more activity.”

Sen. Pat Browne described Allegiant’s aircraft base as a direct investment in the community that will make other regions stronger.

In addition, Don Cunningham, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. spoke about how the Lehigh Valley has been growing economically. At one time, the airport had about 600,000 passengers traveling through it, but this year, the airport could see more than one million passengers.

Allegiant’s aircraft base will likely contribute to that growth.

Leading up to Allegiant’s aircraft base opening, the airport has begun seeing an increase in passenger traffic, creating the need for more parking.

Last year, the airport added 250 spaces to its long-term parking lot but it still needs a solution beyond overflow parking, Stoudt said.

The airport is working on a parking study with one of the authority’s consultant teams and it should get the results of their findings within the next few weeks, Stoudt said. That could mean building some type of parking garage or structure, he added.

Airport authority seeks FAA approval on nearly 300-acre development

This image shows the flight path property that Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority is planning to develop in Hanover Township, Northampton County. The authority chose Majestic Realty to build a potential business park on farmland at the corner of Airport and Schoenersville roads. The authority owns the land and wants to enter into a long-term lease. (Submitted) –

After negotiating for about two years, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority and Bethlehem developer Majestic Realty have reached an agreement on the development of a business park.

Since late 2017, the two parties have been negotiating on plans to develop nearly 300 acres across from Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. The airport authority, which owns the land, had been seeking a developer to lease the space and create a business park on the site.

On Tuesday, the authority approved the terms of the agreement with Majestic and will submit those documents to the Federal Aviation Administration for their approval. If the FFA approves, however, several more approvals will be needed before construction can begin.

“Now it gives us the opportunity to go to the FAA and discuss those terms and submit them for review,” said Thomas Stoudt, executive director of the LNAA. “This gives us an opportunity to work through those discussions.”

The site is comprised of 297 acres east of Race Street along Airport Road near the intersection with Schoenersville Road in Hanover Township, Northampton County.

With the airport authority board’s sign off on the material terms of the agreement, Stoudt said the authority would reach out to FAA to schedule a discussion that would allow the staff to start that process.

If FAA grants its approval, construction on the site could potentially start next year.

“Because there are so many variables, I think we are safe to say, next year, for sure, but it’s really going to depend on FAA’s approval,” Stoudt said. “We will be working individually with the developer to identify what that development will look like.”

The land’s zoning addresses noise sensitive uses, height restrictions and other uses the township was comfortable with, Stoudt said. In addition, the township changed the zoning in the past so that it would be favorable to both the airport and the township, he added.

Stoudt declined to provide a cost estimate of how much the authority would collect if the FAA approves the deal.

“We will be working through the timing of those things and that’s all going to factor into the numbers,” Stoudt said.

Flying High: LVIA 2019 passenger traffic highest in 15 years

Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County had the highest passenger traffic in 2019 in 15 years. (File photo) –


911,970 — That’s the number of passengers that flew out of Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County last year.

It’s 15 percent higher than 2018 and it’s the highest number of passengers since 2004 when the airport saw 1.25 million passengers through its gates.

Traffic at the airport began dropping in the mid-2000s when major airlines restructured their flight patterns that left many airports such as LVIA, out of the loop.

Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, said he doesn’t believe the demand ever went away for flights out of the airport, just the availability of flights to the places the public wanted to go.

“One of the reasons [for the increase in traffic] is the airlines are adding that capacity to the airport. The demand, I think, has always been there, but now there’s flights.” he said.

Stoudt noted that last year American Airlines added flights to Chicago and Allegiant Airlines added three new destinations: Nashville, Savannah/Hilton Head and Sarasota, which significantly added to the passenger increase.

Besides the new flights, highlights during the year included the addition of four air service additions. In addition Allegiant chose LVIA as it 18th aircraft base and plans were introduced for a $22 million TSA checkpoint expansion and terminal connector.

High Hopes

911,970 is also a number that’s giving those who run the airport hope that passenger traffic could exceed 1 million again for 2020.

“Can we get there in 2020?” Stoudt asked. “It’s a possibility, but there are plenty of factors beyond our control. We just want to express our thanks and appreciation to every passenger, stakeholders, and staff for an amazing year.”

The airport authority is planning for future growth.

“We just have to make sure we have the facilities to meet the demand,” Stoudt said.

Late last year, the authority introduced a master plan update to meet the expected demand and improve the customer experience at the airport to help give it a competitive edge. The plan is a multi-year and multi-phase project.

Phase one is the Main Terminal TSA Checkpoint, Connector, and Vertical Circulation upgrades which has an expected project duration of approximately three years with a total cost of approximately $22 million.

Future Path

Stoudt said the authority also has a wish list of flight destinations it would like to add in the future to further the airport’s growth. One destination mentioned by the authority before is Puerto Rico.

“San Juan is certainly still on the radar. For us, it’s finding the right airline partner. When I look at this region I certainly see a demand for the service,” Stoudt said.

Other destinations on the wish list are the Washington, D.C. area, Boston and an airport farther west, perhaps in Texas.

“We just need to find the right airline partners that can offer an attractive fare structure,” he said.