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BNA Balloon Build Day Celebrates 75th Anniversary

BNA Balloon Build Day Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Local balloon artists to create sculpted balloon model


NASHVILLE, Tenn. The Nashville community is invited to attend the BNA Balloon Build Day—a special event at the Nashville International Airport (BNA) in celebration of its 75th anniversary on June 17 from 1–4 p.m. Patrons at the free event can watch the building of a half-scale sculpted balloon model of a DC-3 aircraft, the first plane to land at BNA, made completely out of environmentally friendly balloons. The sculpture will be lifted into the terminal on June 19 and will remain afloat for about one month.

Visitors are asked to park in the Short Term garage and bring their parking stub inside to be validated for free parking. The event will also include balloon artists, face painting for children, live music and more.

WHO: The Nashville community, family-friendly event

WHAT: Balloon artists, face painting, snacks

WHEN: June 17, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Nashville International Airport, terminal lobby

Driving Directions:

                  · From I-40 West, take Exit 216A.

                  · Follow signs to Short Term parking.

                  · Enter the gate into the Long Term A / Short Term parking lot, continue straight to the garage.

                  · Enter and park inside the garage.

                  · Bring your parking ticket to the terminal ticketing lobby to be validated.


History of BNA

The Nashville International Airport opened in June 1937. Originally constructed as a federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the airport was named Berry Field in honor of Colonel Harry S. Berry, state administrator of the WPA. The three-letter identifier, BNA, stands for Berry Field Nashville. In 1937, the new airport consisted of a terminal building, two hangars, a 4,000-foot concrete runway and a flashing beacon. American and Eastern airlines were the first air carriers to serve Nashville, and within the year, 189,000 passengers had enjoyed the facilities.

Berry Field became the military base for the 4th Ferrying Command during World War II. The federal government added additional acreage for its military operations, and in 1946 after the war ended, the military returned a 1,500-acre airport to the city of Nashville.

With the rapid growth of air transportation, Berry Field's facilities became obsolete. A new 145,900-square-foot passenger terminal opened in 1961, a year after the inaugural flight of Nashville's first jet-powered service. In the late 1960s, a group of city planners and community leaders wanted to establish a system of governance for the airport that would be self-financing and ensure a safe, efficient and modern airport for the future. In 1970, the Metropolitan Council passed a resolution creating the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) to own and operate the airport. The Airport Authority was a prototype organization in the aviation industry and continues to serve as a national model for other communities.

Realizing that further expansion would be needed to meet accelerating passenger demand, the MNAA updated its Master Plan in 1980 and began an environmental assessment for a new terminal. In 1987, the airport dedicated the new 750,000-square-foot passenger terminal. The airport's name was changed to Nashville International Airport in 1988 to reflect present and future international air service goals.

In a Nashville Banner newspaper article dated June 13, 1937, the WPA declared, “the field in Nashville is regarded as a model for the nation.” BNA has been propelling Nashville forward since. Today, 9.4 million people travel through the airport annually. BNA has an average of 380 daily arriving and departing flights traveling to 70 locations (50 nonstop) in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Jamaica.