Area 51 – The World’s Most Secretive Airport?

Everyone’s heard of Area 51, but what actually happens there? With perhaps the world’s least broadcast and most inaccessible airfield on its grounds, is this the most secretive airport on the planet?

N288DP, Janet Airlines
What is Homey Airport and which airlines us it? Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Wikimedia Commons

What is Area 51?

Area 51 has long been associated with supposed sightings of an extraterrestrial nature. The rumors are at least 30 years old. However, there is yet to be confirmed proof. Despite that, there are some things we know for sure about what happens behind the gated doors in the Nevada desert.

Area 51 is owned by the United States Air Force who acquired the site in 1955. It is located 83 miles from Las Vegas in the Nevada Desert. Surrounded by massive dunes and mountains is Homey Airport and Groom Lake, the official names for Area 51.

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Homey Airport is an airfield with the following identification code: KXTA. That said, the airport will not come up when you’re booking your next Southwest Airlines flight. In fact, after a demand was made for information on the site, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) declassified some records and formally recognized Homey Airport. That happened on June 25th 2013, eight years after the Freedom Of Information request was submitted.

Homey Airport aerial view
Area 51 is made up of Groom Lake salt flat and Homey Airport. Photo: Getty Images

Who flies out of Homey Airport?

To the best of our knowledge, Homey Airport is not the Beijing Daxing International Airport of the extraterrestrial world. In fact, only two aircraft have ever been reported to fly out of Homey Airport, and both have been owned by the United States Air Force’s airline Janet.

The first known activity at the site was when the Lockheed U-2 was tested in 1955. At that time, the United States was looking for a secret location to develop a reconnaissance aircraft, or spy plane, to help intelligence efforts during the Cold War.

Capable of reaching 70,000 feet in altitude, the aircraft was able to fly above Soviet planes and managed to perform intelligence reports in Asia. It covered airspace including:

  • China;
  • Vietnam; and
  • the Soviet Union.
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2 carried out flights from Homey Airport from 1955. Photo: Steve Lynes via Flickr

Perhaps that was all Homey Airport was ever intended for, but with the demise of the Lockheed U-2, the US Air Force needed another project. In 1960, the Lockheed was shot over Cuba, killing the pilot, resulting in the development of the A-12 reconnaissance aircraft by the CIA.

After its production, 2,850 A-12 flights were recorded from Homey Airport. Due to the speed of the aircraft, the A-12 is thought to be the reason for alien rumors at the site. (That, and the 1989 interview from Robert Lazar who claimed to have worked at the plant and seen aliens.)

How is Homey Airport currently used?

Those there is no longer an international war afoot, Homey Airport is still in use. Though for what it is not clear. Janet Airlines continues to operate from the site and can be identified from the white body and single thick, red stripe through the center of the fuselage.

737-600, Janet
Janet Airlines still operates from Area 51. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons

It became apparent that top-secret operations were still going on in Area 51 in 2018 when a job listing appeared for a pilot at the airport. A first officer was required to conduct trips from Las Vegas International Airport into Homey Airport. No more about the position is known as that.

As it was before, it’s likely that we won’t know the precise details of Area 51 activity until reports are declassified.

What do you think happens at Homey Airport? Have you ever seen a Janet Airlines aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.