Airport Timeline

  • 1918

    The first aircraft landing field in Savannah went into operation on the south side of Daffin Park. Aircraft operations continued there until 1930.

  • 1928

    A 730-acre tract of land off White Bluff Road was selected as the site for a modern airport to be developed jointly by the city and county.

  • 1929

    The Savannah Municipal Airport opened on September 20 with the inauguration of air service between New York City and Miami by Eastern Air Express.

  • 1932

    A city resolution named the airport "Hunter Field". A trolley car was used as the first terminal at Hunter Field in the mid 30's.

  • 1940

    The U.S. Army Air Corps proposed a complete takeover of Hunter Field if a war started. While commercial airlines continued to land there, a decision was made to construct a second Municipal Airport in response to the increased military presence. The City of Savannah acquired a 600-acre tract and formation of a new airfield commenced under a WPA project. Three runways were constructed.

  • 1942

    Before completion of the airfield, the U.S. Army Air Corps found it necessary to take over the new facility and start additional construction. They named the airfield "Chatham Field" and it was used until the end of World War II as a bomber and crew training base.

  • 1948

    Chatham Army Airfield was turned over to the Georgia Air National Guard, and the name was changed to "Travis Field." The War Assets Administration gave the deed to Hunter Field to the City of Savannah.

  • 1949

    The City of Savannah received a quit claim deed to Travis Field.

  • 1950

    The airport was moved from Hunter Field to Travis Field. The first commercial flight from Travis Field was made by Delta Flight 371 with eight passengers to Atlanta.

  • 1953

    Runway 9-27 was extended to a length of 8,000 feet to accommodate jet aircraft.

  • 1955

    A new Airport Commission was created by an act of the Georgia State Legislature.

  • 1960

    A new terminal building was completed and served as the passenger terminal until 1994.

  • 1983

    The airport became Savannah International Airport.

  • 1994

    A new 275,000 sq. ft. terminal opened in May with 10 gates. The $43M project included new roads, a new aircraft taxiway and parking apron, storm water ponds, landscaping and a new interchange at I-95 for entry into the airport.

  • 2001

    September 11 terrorist attacks on America completely shut down air service for the first time in history. When service resumed, new security measures set the tone for air travel for the remainder of 2001.

    Airport Ambassador program began with red-coated volunteers roaming the terminal to greet passengers.

  • 2002

    Checkpoint screeners came under the control of a Federal Security Director who works for the Department of Transportation.

    Name of airport officially became the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

  • 2003

    SAV began offering hi-speed wireless internet service throughout the terminal.

  • 2004

    Development of Southwest Quadrant began.

  • 2005

    The Federal Aviation Administration completed construction and certification of a new Air Traffic Control Tower. The Savannah Airport Commission approved design for a terminal expansion that would add five gates to the concourse.

    The airport boarded its millionth passenger.

  • 2006

    Groundbreaking Ceremony for the $35M parking garage was held on June 23, 2006.

    Gulfstream announced construction of new service center in the Southwest Quadrant and a new manufacturing plant in the Northwest Quadrant.

  • 2007

    The $14.2M terminal expansion project was completed, adding 5 departure gates to the existing 10 and 10,000 sq. ft. of additional retail and food/beverage space.

    A $6M consolidated maintenance operations center was completed.

    A new $35M, four-level parking garage opened, adding 1,690 parking spaces.

  • 2009

    A ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection General Aviation Processing Facility renovations.

  • 2010

    Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation announced $500M expansion project in the north development area.

  • 2012

    TSA installed body scanners at the Security Checkpoint.

    Savannah Airport Commission transferred governance of the Foreign Trade Zone to the World Trade Center Savannah.

    Georgia Lottery came to SAV.

  • 2013

    SAV celebrated the completion of the North Aviation Development Area and newly extended Taxiway A.

    Patrick S. Graham retired as Executive Director for the Savannah Airport Commission.

  • 2014

    Gregory B. Kelly was appointed as Executive Director of the Savannah Airport Commission.

    JetBlue launched nonstop service to New York and Boston.

    The I-95 Interchange interim improvement project was completed.

  • 2017

    Air Canada launched nonstop service from Toronto to Savannah.

    Auntie Anne’s, Stella Bar, Great American Bagel, and Leopold’s Ice Cream opened in the concourse.

2018 Year in Review


Salt Table opens new location in concourse


Winter Storm Grayson brings 2.5" of snow to Savannah


SAV launches new website


HMS Host holds Southbound Taphouse Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


New automatic doors installed at SAV terminals


Links Art Exhibit featured at SAV


SAV celebrates St. Patrick's Day


SAV receives 19th consecutive award for Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) Program


FIS Groundbreaking Ceremony


SAV receives $4.6M Facility Modification Grant from TSA for screening and baggage handling improvements


Frontier launches non-stop service to Philadelphia and Denver


New car wash opens at Thrifty rental car facility


Demolition of old terminal building completed


American Airlines launches non-stop service to Miami


Allegiant launches non-stop service to Nashville


Domicile and Cell Phone Parking Lot Expansions


SAV welcomes new Airport Police Chief Sedrick Rivers


TSA holds Precheck Enrollment Event


SAC appoints James B. Blackburn Sr. as Commission Attorney Emeritus and Mr. W. Brooks Stillwell as Commission Attorney


SAV receives $7.6M FAA Grant for Terminal Apron Expansion


SAV hosts 2018 Allegiant Airlines Airports Conference


SAC hosts 1st Annual State of the Airport Luncheon


SAC launches One Team - Customer Service Incentive Program


Team SAV volunteers at Water Station #3 at Rock 'n Roll Marathon


Hotel Site Development Stephen S. Green Drive completed


SAV hosts 5th Annual Home for the Holidays Contest, reuniting seven service members with their families


SAV hosts 22nd Annual School Music Days


Gary Sinise Foundation hosts Snowball Express


SAC approves new 401A Employee Retirement Plan


Park Assist Automated Parking Guidance System installation complete