General Mitchell International Airport

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"Mitchell Field" redirects here. For the former air base in New York, see Mitchel Field.
General Mitchell International Airport
Mitchell Field
GMIA Logo.svg
General Mitchell International Airport - Wisconsin.jpg
2006 USGS Orthophoto
IATA: MKEICAO: KMKEFAA LID: MKE
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Milwaukee County
Operator Milwaukee County Airport Department
Serves Milwaukee, WI. Chicago, IL.
Location 5300 South Howell Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 729 ft / 222 m
Coordinates 42°56′50″N 087°53′48″W / 42.94722°N 87.89667°W / 42.94722; -87.89667
Website www.MitchellAirport.com
Maps
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
KMKE is located in Wisconsin
KMKE
KMKE
Location of General Mitchell International Airport
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
01L/19R 9,990 3,045 Asphalt/Concrete
01R/19L 4,183 1,275 Asphalt/Concrete
07L/25R 4,800 1,463 Asphalt/Concrete
07R/25L 8,300 2,530 Asphalt/Concrete
13/31 5,535 1,687 Asphalt/Concrete
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 100 30 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2014)
Aircraft operations 113,248
Passengers 6,554,152
Sources: airport web site[2] and FAA[3]

General Mitchell International Airport (IATA: MKEICAO: KMKEFAA LID: MKE) is a civil-military airport five miles (8 km) south of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[3]

It is named after United States Army Air Service General Billy Mitchell, who was raised in Milwaukee and is often regarded as the father of the United States Air Force. Along with being the primary airport for Milwaukee, Mitchell International has sometimes been described as Chicago's third airport, as many travelers in the suburbs north of Chicago use it instead of Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports.[4] It is also used by travellers throughout Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. An Amtrak railway station opened at the airport in 2005; the station is served by Amtrak's Hiawatha Service running between Chicago and Milwaukee several times daily. Since March 1941, the airport's weather station has been used as the official point for Milwaukee weather observations and records by the National Weather Service,[5] whose area office is located in Sullivan.

History[edit]

The original airfield was established in 1920 as Hamilton Airport by local business owner and aviator, Thomas Hamilton. Milwaukee County purchased the land on October 19, 1926, for the Milwaukee County Airport. The first airport terminal there, the Hirschbuehl Farmhouse, opened in July 1927. That month, Northwest Airlines, Inc., began air service from Milwaukee to Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul. In August 1927, world-renowned aviator Charles Lindbergh visited the Milwaukee airport. Kohler Aviation Corporation began providing passenger service across Lake Michigan on August 31, 1929. During the late depression years (from 1938 to July 1940), a new two-story passenger terminal building was constructed by the Works Progress Administration. On March 17, 1941 the airport was renamed General Mitchell Field after Milwaukee's military airpower advocate, Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell.[6] On January 4, 1945, Mitchell Field was leased to the War Department for use as a World War II prisoner-of-war camp. Over 3,000 prisoners and 250 enlisted men stayed at the work camp. Escaped German prisoners were often surprised to find a large German American population just beyond the fence.[7] The present terminal opened on July 20, 1955, and was designed by Leigh Fisher and Associates.[8] It was renovated and expanded in 1985, designed by Miller, Meier, Kenyon, Cooper Architects and Planners Inc.[9] The "hammerhead" section of the D concourse was added in 1990. On June 19, 1986 the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors renamed Mitchell Field to General Mitchell International Airport.[6]

The airport was formerly a hub for AirTran Airways, Frontier Airlines and Midwest Airlines. On December 28, 2014, the airport became a focus city for Southwest Airlines, after finalizing their merger with AirTran Airways.

The airport is owned and operated by Milwaukee County, but some Milwaukee business leaders and politicians have advocated privatization or leasing it to a third party for financial reasons.[10]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In October 2008 a Condé Nast Traveler poll ranked Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport fourth in the nation using categories of Location and Access, Design, Customs and Baggage, Perceived Safety and Security, as well as Food, Shops and Amenities.[citation needed]

Expansion[edit]

Mitchell International has expanded the runway safety area on their runways after an accident on January 21, 2007, when Northwest Airlines Flight 1726 skidded off the runway after aborting takeoff. According to the FAA, most airports are encouraged to have a runway safety area no shorter than 1,000 feet (305 m), though many airports do not.

Construction of this runway safety area began at the end of summer 2009 and was completed in fall 2012.

There is also a "Master Plan" idea to increase terminal area by stretching the existing terminal (in some cases, to almost double the size) or begin construction of a separate terminal. Nearly all cases would involve major reconstruction on the airport itself, and would have a huge impact on the airport's traffic.[11] These plans were, however, drafted before Mitchell saw a significant reduction in carriers and flights. More recently, in 2012, there have been discussions of closing one concourse as a cost-cutting move.[12]

Facilities and operations[edit]

General Mitchell International Airport covers 2,180 acres (880 ha) and has five asphalt and concrete runways ranging from 4,183 to 9,990 ft (1,463 to 3,045 m). A helipad measuring 100 by 100 ft (30 x 30m) is on the south side of the airport property. The 07R/25L runway has an overpass with Wisconsin State Trunk Highway 38 (Howell Avenue locally) running underneath. In 2005 the airport had 219,114 aircraft operations, average 600 per day: 56% air taxi, 32% airline, 10% general aviation and 1% military.[3] The main building houses the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, a non-profit museum on the concession level, the usual retail outlets, including a small food court, and a branch of Renaissance Books which is believed to be the world's first used book store in an airport.[13] An observation lot along the northern edge of the airport is open to the public, and tower communications are rebroadcast using a low-power FM transmitter for visitors to tune in on their car radios. There is also a new lot on 6th Street, with a Wisconsin historical marker giving the airport's history.[14] In 2008, airport security jokingly designated an area in Concourse C following security checkpoint the "Recombobulation Area".[15]

Terminal[edit]

Interior of main terminal

General Mitchell International Airport has 48 gates and 40 jetbridges on three concourses in one terminal. All international arrivals lacking border preclearance must pass through the International Arrivals Building.

Concourse C Gates: C9-C12, C14-C15, C17-C25

Airlines: American Airlines, American Eagle, Southwest Airlines

Concourse D Gates: D27-D30, D34, D36, D38-D39, D41-D49, D51-D56

Airlines: Alaska Airlines, Aeromexico, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, OneJet, US Airways, US Airways Express

Concourse E Gates: E60-E69

Airlines: Air Canada Express, United Express

Gates per Airline[edit]

American Airlines/American Eagle: C10, C12

Southwest Airlines: C14-C15, C18-C25

Aeromexico: D51

Delta Airlines/Delta Connection: D43-D48

Frontier Airlines: D39, D41

Onejet: D27B

US Airways/US Airways Express: D52, D56

Air Canada: E61

United Express: E61-E63

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Southwest Airlines is the largest carrier at the airport. Delta Air Lines has a sizable presence.

Passenger[edit]

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Aeromexico Seasonal: Cancún, Cozumel D
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson E
Alaska Airlines
operated by SkyWest Airlines
Seattle/Tacoma (begins July 1, 2015)[16] D
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth C
American Eagle Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth C
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York LaGuardia (begins November 1, 2015)
Seasonal: Cancún, Orlando
D
Delta Connection Boston (begins June 4, 2015), Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia
Seasonal: Orlando
D
Frontier Airlines Denver
Seasonal: Cancún, Fort Myers, Montego Bay, Orlando, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana
D
OneJet
operated by Pentastar Aviation
Indianapolis,[17] Pittsburgh (begins May 4, 2015)[18] D
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas-Love, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers (ends June 6, 2015), Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York–LaGuardia, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington–National
Seasonal: Cancún, Montego Bay,[19] Punta Cana,[19] San Diego
C
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark E
US Airways
operated by American Airlines
Phoenix D
US Airways Express Charlotte, Philadelphia D

Cargo[edit]

Cargo Ramp – Mitchell International Airport
Airlines Destinations
AirNet Systems Chicago–Midway, Green Bay, St. Paul–Downtown
Berry Aviation Chicago–Executive
CSA Air Marquette, Escanaba, Iron Mountain, Rhinelander
DHL operated by ABX Air Cincinnati, Calgary
FedEx Express Appleton, Indianapolis, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Flight Line Chicago–Midway
Freight Runners Express Appleton, Bloomington/Normal, Dillon, Green Bay, Lake Delton, Madison, Marinette/Menomonie, Rhinelander, Stevens Point, Wausau, Rochester (MN)
Martinaire Iron Mountain, Ironwood
Royal Air Freight Pontiac
UPS Airlines Louisville


Airline Info[edit]

Airline Departures Destinations Gates
American 9 2 C10, C12
Southwest 41 24 C14-C15, C18-C25
US Airways 10 3 D52, D56
Frontier 3 7 D39, D41
OneJet 2 2 D27B
Delta 26 8 D43-D48
Areomexico 1 2 D51
Alaska Airlines 2 1 D-TBD
United 22 5 E61-E63
Air Canada 2 1 E61

Statistics[edit]

U.S. Department of Transportation data for 2nd Quarter 2010 showed that the average airfare out of Milwaukee dropped lower than the average at 93 other U.S. airports. Mitchell's average fare was $93 less than O'Hare's, $78 less than the nation's average and $10 less than Midway's. Out of the nation's top 100 airports, Mitchell was one of only three at which average 2nd Quarter airfares were lower in 2010 than in 2009.

Airports Council International reported that during the 2nd Quarter 2010, Mitchell was the third fastest-growing airport in the world, exceeded only by airports in Istanbul, Turkey and Moscow, Russia. Mitchell was the only U.S. airport among the top 30 fastest growing airports worldwide.[20]

The airport is owned and operated by Milwaukee County. Mitchell's 8 airlines offer over 200 daily departures. Over 30 airports are served nonstop or direct from Mitchell International. It is the largest airport in Wisconsin. The airport terminal is open 24 hours a day.[21]

Top domestic destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from MKE
(Feb 2014 - Jan 2015)
[22]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 410,000 Delta, Southwest
2 Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota 281,000 Delta, Southwest
3 Denver, Colorado 256,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
4 Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois 222,000 American, United
5 Detroit, Michigan 179,000 Delta
6 Phoenix, Arizona 178,000 Southwest, US Airways
7 New York (LaGuardia), New York 175,000 Delta, Southwest
8 Orlando, Florida 147,000 Delta, Southwest
9 Las Vegas, Nevada 139,000 Southwest
10 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 117,000 American

Top international destinations[edit]

Busiest international routes out of MKE
(Jan 2011-Dec 2011) [23]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Cancun, Mexico 55,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
2 Montego Bay, Jamaica 23,000 Frontier, Southwest
3 Toronto (Pearson), Canada 22,000 Air Canada
4 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 7,000 Southwest

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Milwaukee Airport, 1944 thru 2014[24]
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
2010 9,848,377 2000 6,076,628 1990 4,488,304 1980 3,295,509 1970 1,766,802 1960 752,079 1950 235,069
2009 7,935,124 1999 5,825,670 1989 4,308,295 1979 3,460,441 1969 1,711,777 1959 748,010 1949 225,312
2008 7,956,968 1998 5,535,921 1988 4,029,746 1978 2,991,750 1968 1,622,532 1958 683,803 1948 190,371
2007 7,712,535 1997 5,598,971 1987 3,570,340 1977 2,803,138 1967 1,378,394 1957 673,927 1947 187,672
2006 7,299,294 1996 5,452,645 1986 3,384,664 1976 2,556,720 1966 1,079,484 1956 580,657 1946 171,672
2005 7,268,000 1995 5,221,705 1985 3,062,954 1975 2,241,745 1965 966,070 1955 521,727 1945 105,058
2014 6,554,152 2004 6,661,105 1994 5,179,872 1984 2,573,239 1974 2,143,071 1964 847,958 1954 458,816 1944 37,442
2013 6,525,181 2003 6,142,124 1993 4,521,872 1983 2,923,641 1973 2,041,454 1963 777,382 1953 389,397
2012 7,515,070 2002 5,589,127 1992 4,422,089 1982 3,285,884 1972 1,917,252 1962 723,725 1952 322,180
2011 9,522,456 2001 5,600,060 1991 4,114,051 1981 3,117,883 1971 1,947,442 1961 683,503 1951 279,226

Military presence[edit]

The airport also hosts the General Mitchell Air National Guard Base on the eastern area of the airport property, home to the 128th Air Refueling Wing (128 ARW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the Wisconsin Air National Guard flying the KC-135R Stratotanker. The wing performs both Federal and State missions and consists of approximately 1000 Air National Guard personnel, both full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technicians (ART), as well as traditional part-time guardsmen, available for worldwide deployment in support of Air Mobility Command and combatant commander tasking. The wing also maintains a KC-135 flight simulator, providing training proficiency for its own crews, as well as other KC-135 flight crews in other air refueling wings and air mobility wings in the Regular U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard.

Prior to 2007, a second military installation on the southwestern portion of the airport property was known as "General Mitchell Air Reserve Station" and was home to the 440th Airlift Wing (440 AW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) flying the C-130H Hercules. While based at General Mitchell ARS, the 440 AW numbered in excess of 1500 full-time AGR, ART and part-time traditional reservists. Pursuant to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 action, the 440 AW relocated to Pope AFB, North Carolina, in 2007 and the former AFRC facilities were turned over to the Air National Guard, resulting in the installation's renaming.


Ground transportation[edit]

The Milwaukee Airport Rail Station provides service to Milwaukee as well as Chicago.
  • Badger Coach has frequent trips between Mitchell Airport, Downtown Milwaukee, Madison, Johnson Creek, and Goerkes Corners.[25]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On August 4, 1968, a Convair CV-580, flying as North Central Airlines flight 261, collided in mid-air with a privately owned Cessna 150. The Cessna cabin remained attached to the Convair's forward baggage compartment. The Convair made a safe emergency landing at Milwaukee. The three Cessna occupants were killed. The Cessna was on a VFR flight from Lombard, Illinois to Sheboygan County Memorial Airport in Sheboygan Falls. It was determined that the inability of the Convair 580 flight crew to detect the Cessna 150 visually in sufficient time to take evasive action, despite having been provided with three radar traffic advisories, caused the crash. Visual detection capabilities were reduced by the heavy accumulation of insect smears on the windows of the Convair. Visibility was further reduced by haze, smoke and sunglare, and by the inconspicuous colour and lack of relative motion of the Cessna.
  • On September 6, 1985, Midwest Express Flight 105, Midwest's first and only fatal accident, crashed upon takeoff from Milwaukee. One of the airline's Douglas DC-9s crashed while taking off, bound for Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport. According to NTSB reports, the crash was caused by improper pilot reaction when the plane's right engine failed due to stress corrosion cracking. The improper flight control inputs caused an uncommanded roll and accelerated stall. The 31 people on board died.[31]
  • On December 10, 1993, a Wisconsin Air National Guard KC-135 blew up on the ground. Six maintenance personnel died.
  • On August 31, 2005, a Midwest Airlines Boeing 717 bumped a weed spraying truck and damaged the plane's left wing. No one was hurt in the incident.
  • On January 21, 2007, a Northwest Airlines DC-9, Northwest Airlines Flight 1726 skidded 400 feet (120 m) off the end of a snowy runway at Milwaukee International Airport. The accident was due to an explosion in one of the engines, forcing the pilot to abort takeoff. The aircraft was headed for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and was to continue on to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Amongst the 104 people aboard, only one back injury was reported.[32][33]
  • On January 23, 2007, two Freight Runners Express cargo planes collided and burned on a taxiway. Both pilots were able to escape without injury. The planes were a Cessna 402 and a Beech 99.[34] An NTSB investigation determined both pilots and air traffic control were at fault for the accident.[35]
  • On June 4, 2007, a Cessna Citation II crashed after reporting a runaway trim tab. The pilot issued a distress signal within five minutes after taking off. The plane then crashed into Lake Michigan two miles (3 km) off shore. The plane was carrying an organ transplant team from the University of Michigan back to Willow Run Airport. There was a crew of two and four passengers aboard. All six died.
  • On November 13, 2007, a Midwest Connect flight from Milwaukee bound for Dayton was in a near-miss situation with a United Express jet heading to Chicago O'Hare International Airport from Greensboro while flying over northern Indiana. Air traffic controllers with Chicago Center directed the Midwest Connect flight to begin its descent while traveling head-on towards the United Express CRJ a few thousand feet below. The planes came as close as 1.3 miles (2.1 km) apart horizontally and 600 feet (183 m) vertically.[36] The Midwest Connect Dornier 328JET was just above the United Express aircraft and descending while they were closing in on each other. An audible TCAS alarm in the Midwest Connect cockpit alerted the pilots of the proximity, allowing them to pull up in time.
  • On April 22, 2008, a Chautauqua Airlines flight from St. Louis to Milwaukee experienced engine failure and landed safely at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. Of the 32 passengers on board, none were injured.[37]
  • On September 12, 2008, at 7:13 PM, a Cirrus SR22 heading from Milwaukee bound for Lakeland Airport in Vilas County crashed half of a mile southwest of the airport. All three people on board died.[38]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ http://m.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/print-edition/2012/12/21/re-routed-diminished-airline-service.html?page=all&r=full
  2. ^ General Mitchell International Airport, official web site
  3. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for MKE (Form 5010 PDF), effective December 20, 2007
  4. ^ "Mitchell Offers Delay-Weary Chicago Travelers Timely Alternative". Mitchell Memo. Mitchell International Airport. September 2004. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b "Historic Markers – General Mitchell Field WI221". Milwaukee County Historical Society. 1978. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2006. 
  7. ^ Cowley, Betty (2002). Stalag Wisconsin: Inside WW II prisoner-of-war camps. Oregon, Wisconsin: Badger Books. ISBN 1-878569-83-X. OCLC 48998212. 
  8. ^ "Here's the Program". Milwaukee Journal. July 21, 1955. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ Jesen, Dean (July 25, 1985). "Airport Terminal to Open Sunday". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  10. ^ Kirchen, Rich (September 21, 2008). "Lubar: Sell Airport to Eliminate Milwaukee County Deficit". Milwaukee Business Journal (Bizjournals.com). Retrieved October 9, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Master Plan Update" (PDF). General Mitchell International Airport. July 28, 2006. Retrieved February 11, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Mitchell proposes closing one concourse". Milwaukee Business Journal. October 5, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Challenge of Airport Bookselling", Publishers Weekly, July 13, 1984
  14. ^ "State Historical marker #221" (PDF). Wisconsin History. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  15. ^ Durhams, Sharif (July 9, 2008). "Airport Draws Smiles with 'Recombobulation Area'". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  16. ^ http://splash.alaskasworld.com/Newsroom/ASNews/ASstories/AS_20141125_045610.asp
  17. ^ OneJet, retrieved 2015-03-15
  18. ^ http://www.flypittsburgh.com/acaa-announces-new-carrier-new-nonstop-service-to-indianapolis-and-milwaukee-from-pit
  19. ^ a b http://airlineroute.net/2014/09/15/wn-mke-jan15/
  20. ^ "County Executive Holloway Announces A Record Number of November Passengers". General Mitchell International Airport. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Mitchell Airport Stats". General Mitchell International Airport. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  22. ^ RITA | BTS | Transtats. Transtats.bts.gov (2013). Retrieved on 04-15
  23. ^ [2] Retrieved on 03-15
  24. ^ Enplaned and Deplaned Passengers. Retrieved on Apr 2, 2015.
  25. ^ "Wisconsin Bus Charters". Badger Coaches. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  26. ^ "MKE Airport Connection". Airport Connection. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  27. ^ "MCTS". Milwaukee County Transit System. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Milwaukee Airport Station". Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT). Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Wisconsin Coach service". Coach USA. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  30. ^ "Lamers Connect". Lamers Bus Lines. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105". National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  32. ^ Johnson, Mark; Kissinger, Meg (January 22, 2007). "'Scared to Death'". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  33. ^ Sandler, Larry (January 22, 2007). "Safety Won't Come Easy – 3 Mitchell Runways Don't Meet Federal Standards, but Compliance by 2015 Means Navigating Multiple Obstacles". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved September 28, 2008.  (republished by Hall & Associates)
  34. ^ "Cargo Planes Collide, Burn at Milwaukee Airport". FOX News. January 24, 2007. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  35. ^ [3][dead link]
  36. ^ "FAA: Error Nearly Led to Jets Colliding". ABC News. Associated Press. November 17, 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2008. [dead link]
  37. ^ [4][dead link]
  38. ^ "Three People Killed in Plane Crash". WISN (Milwaukee). September 12, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2008. [dead link]
  • "Midwest Airlines, Virgin's GlobalFlyer". Airliners (Miami: World Transport Press) (94). July–August 2005. ISSN 0896-6575. OCLC 17241224. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]