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Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport traces its roots back to World War II, when the current airport facility was part of the US Army’s Camp Patrick Henry, a sprawling 1700 acre complex that was a major staging area for American troops shipping off to war in Europe. The Camp was deactivated shortly after the end of the War.
Meanwhile, in 1946, the Virginia Legislature had created the Peninsula Airport Commission (PAC) an organization that had a goal of establishing a new commercial airport to serve the cities of the Newport News, Hampton, and Warwick (now part of Newport News). PAC was searching for a suitable location on which to construct an airfield, and in 1947 reached an agreement with the US War Asset Administration whereby 924 acres from the former Camp Patrick Henry were given to the Peninsula Airport Commission as the site for the new airport.
The Peninsula Airport Commission named their new facility “Patrick Henry Airport”. The airport was assigned the designator “PHF”, representing "Patrick Henry Field”. Construction was soon begun on the initial 3500-foot Runway 2/20. A second 3500-foot Runway 6/24 (later designated as Runway 7/25) was completed shortly thereafter. Commercial airline service began with flights by Piedmont Airlines and Capital Airlines in November, 1949.
Service grew through the years and in the mid-1970’s, the airport was renamed “Patrick Henry International Airport”, and a US customs facility was added to the passenger terminal building. Airline service continued to flourish, with frequent jet nonstops to major destination such as Atlanta, New York, and Chicago.
In 1990, the Peninsula Airport Commission renamed the facility “Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport” to better position it as the airport of choice for the region.