Mason City Municipal Airport

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Mason City Municipal Airport
Mason City Municipal Airport Logo.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Mason City
Serves Mason City, Iowa
Elevation AMSL 1,214 ft / 370 m
Coordinates 43°09′28″N 093°19′52″W / 43.15778°N 93.33111°W / 43.15778; -93.33111Coordinates: 43°09′28″N 093°19′52″W / 43.15778°N 93.33111°W / 43.15778; -93.33111
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
MCW is located in Iowa
Location of airport in Iowa
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 6,501 1,982 Asphalt
12/30 5,502 1,677 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations 33,368
Based aircraft 55

Mason City Municipal Airport (IATA: MCW[2]ICAO: KMCWFAA LID: MCW) is a city owned, public use airport located five nautical miles (9 km) west of the central business district of Mason City, in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States.[1] Located in the northern part of Lake Township, the airport is just northeast of the city of Clear Lake. It is used for general aviation, although it previously had commercial service subsidized through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.

As per the Federal Aviation Administration, this airport had 11,678 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[3] 11,076 in 2009, and 13,852 in 2010.[4] The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport.[5]


The airport was founded in 1927 by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce and the Clausen-Worden Post of the American Legion, hence its airport code "MCW".

In the early morning hours of February 3, 1959, following a concert at the Surf Ballroom in nearby Clear Lake, musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, along with pilot Roger Peterson, died in a plane crash after taking off from the Mason City Municipal Airport. This event is not commemorated anywhere on the airport grounds.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Mason City Municipal Airport covers an area of 1,103 acres (446 ha) at an elevation of 1,214 feet (370 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 18/36 is 6,501 by 150 feet (1,982 x 46 m) and 12/30 is 5,502 by 150 feet (1,677 x 46 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending July 31, 2011, the airport had 33,368 aircraft operations, an average of 91 per day: 90% general aviation, 5% scheduled commercial, 5% air taxi, and <1% military. At that time there were 55 aircraft based at this airport: 82% single-engine, 16% multi-engine, and 2% jet.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Mason City lost all commercial service following the pullout of Great Lakes Airlines on January 31, 2014.[6][7]

Delta Connection (operated by Great Lakes Airlines) formerly provided service from Mason City to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Great Lakes Airlines previously served the airport without funding from the EAS program and the airline flew direct to Chicago O'Hare up until October 28, 1998. They pulled out service due to being unable to compete with Mesaba Airlines, which then offered six daily flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Air Choice One plans to start service from Mason City to Chicago-O'Hare starting early November 2014 after the airline was awarded EIS contract.[8]

Airlines Destinations
Air Choice One Chicago-O'Hare[9]


Carrier shares: July 2013 - June 2014[10]
Carrier   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Great Lakes
Top domestic destinations: July 2013 - June 2014[10]
Rank City Airport name & IATA code Passengers
1 Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis-Saint Paul International (MSP) 2,000



Other sources[edit]

  • Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-2001-10684) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
    • Order 2005-6-13 (June 20, 2005): selecting Mesaba Aviation, Inc. d/b/a Northwest Airlink, an affiliate of Northwest Airlines, to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) for the two-year period beginning June 1, 2005, at an annual subsidy of $777,709 for Thief River Falls and a combined annual subsidy of $2,160,770 for Fort Dodge and Mason City.
    • Order 2007-6-3 (June 11, 2007): re-selecting Mesaba Aviation Inc., d/b/a Northwest Airlink (Mesaba), to continue to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at Fort Dodge and Mason City, Iowa, and Thief River Falls, Minnesota, for the two-year period beginning June 1, 2007. Service will consist of 18 round trips per week at Fort Dodge and Mason City, routed Fort Dodge-Mason City-Minneapolis/St. Paul, at the combined annual subsidy rate of $21,113,865. Service at Thief River Falls will consist of 12 one-stop round trips per week to Minneapolis/St. Paul at the annual subsidy rate of $1,065,639. All service will be provided with 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft as Northwest Airlink.
    • Order 2009-4-20 (April 27, 2009): re-selecting Mesaba Aviation, Inc., d/b/a Delta Connection (Mesaba), to continue providing subsidized essential air service (EAS) at Fort Dodge and Mason City, IA, and Thief River Falls, MN, for the two-year period beginning June 1, 2009, at the annual subsidy rates of $2,225,213 for Fort Dodge and Mason City, and $1,230,322 for Thief River Falls.
    • Order 2011-6-7 (June 8, 2011): re-selecting Mesaba Aviation, Inc., d/b/a Delta Connection (Mesaba), to provide essential air service (EAS) at Fort Dodge and Mason City, Iowa, at annual subsidy rates of $1,910,995 and $1,017,545 at Mason City, respectively, for the five-month period June 1, 2011, through October 31, 2011.
    • Order 2011-11-30 (November 23, 2011): selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., to provide essential air service (EAS) at six communities at the following annual subsidy rates: Brainerd, Minnesota, $959,865; Fort Dodge, $1,798,693; Iron Mountain, $1,707,841; Mason City, $1,174,468; Thief River Falls, Minnesota, $1,881,815; and Watertown, $1,710,324, for the two-year period beginning when Great Lakes inaugurates full EAS at all six communities
    • Great Lakes Airlines press release (January 27, 2014): Effective February 1, 2014, Great Lakes Airlines will be suspending service from Devils Lake and Jamestown, ND; Fort Dodge and Mason City, IA; Ironwood, MI; and Thief River Falls, MN due to the severe industry-wide pilot shortage and its relative acute impact on Great Lakes.
    • Order 2014-1-20 (January 31, 2014): requesting proposals from carriers interested in providing Essential Air Service (EAS) at Fort Dodge and/or Mason City, Iowa. The communities will be without air service effective February 1, 2014.

External links[edit]