Rochester International Airport

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For the airport in New York, see Greater Rochester International Airport.
Rochester International Airport


RST is located in Minnesota
Location of the Airport in Minnesota
Airport type Public
Operator City of Rochester
Location Rochester, Minnesota
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 1,317 ft / 401.4 m
Coordinates 43°54′30″N 92°30′00″W / 43.90833°N 92.50000°W / 43.90833; -92.50000
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 9,033 2,753 Concrete
2/20 7,300 2,225 Concrete
Statistics (2014[1])
Number of Passengers 235,000

Rochester International Airport (IATA: RSTICAO: KRST) is a nonhub primary airport located seven miles (11 km) southwest of the central business district of Rochester, a city in Olmsted County, Minnesota, United States. It is the second busiest airport in Minnesota, however it is the third busiest airport for commercial airlines in Minnesota, behind Duluth International Airport[citation needed]. It used to be called "Rochester Municipal Airport", which was its name before adding customs and immigration facilities specifically for Mayo Clinic purposes in 1995 [2].

The airport covers 2,400 acres (971 ha) and has two runways: a 9,033 x 150 ft (2,743 x 46 m) concrete primary runway (13–31) and a 7,300 x 150 ft (2,225 x 46 m) concrete secondary runway (02-20).

Commercial air service is provided by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and Allegiant Air. The airport also has a large FedEx Express terminal, a small ABX Air station, as well as a general aviation terminal.


The original Rochester International Airport was founded in 1928 by the Mayo Foundation as a way to get patients from far-flung locations to the Mayo Clinic. It originally was located in what is now southeast Rochester and occupied 285 acres (1.2 km²). The following year, 'Rochester Airport' was officially dedicated, and the Rochester Airport Company was founded as a subsidiary of the Mayo Foundation. Northwest Airlines began running Ford Trimotors to Rochester from its hub in St. Paul. Rochester was one of the first destinations from the Twin Cities in Northwest Airlines history, behind Chicago, Winnipeg, Green Bay, and Fargo.

In 1940, the existing runways were paved, and additional land was acquired, bringing the airport's total area to 370 acres (1.5 km²). During World War II, the Army Air Corps conducted training operations from the airport. In 1945, the Mayo Foundation gave the airport to the city of Rochester, but the Rochester Airport Company continued to operate the field under an agreement with the city. The airport was renamed Lobb Field in 1952. In the 1940s through the 1960s, the airport was served by Braniff Airways, North Central Airlines, Ozark Airlines, and other small air carriers in addition to Northwest.

In 1960 it was decided to replace Lobb Field with a new airport southwest of the town because it could not be expanded to accommodate the larger airliners & was too close to the urban area of Rochester. The original Rochester Airport was closed in 1961.

In 1960, Rochester Municipal Airport opened at its current location 8 miles (13 km) south of downtown Rochester. American Airlines began service to Chicago O'Hare in 1991. 1995 saw the addition of a US Customs post and it became the Rochester International Airport. TWA operated flights to St. Louis in early 2001, but these routes were dropped very soon due to the merger with American Airlines. On September 15, 2005, the primary runway was lengthened from 7,533' to 9,033' following a three-month closure for renovations. At the same time, runway centerline and touchdown zone lighting were both added. The change was made primarily to accommodate Saudi Arabian Airlines' 747s, which were heavily weight-restricted upon departure prior to the extension.[citation needed]


  • Mn/DOT and ROCOG are currently planning a new runway and terminal. The new runway, 13R/31L, parallel to the airport's primary runway, is planned on being created about 2500' southwest of the primary runway. The new midfield terminal will be built between the two runways and just east of runway 2/20.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit (ends April 9, 2015), Minneapolis/St. Paul

Airport directors from the airport are attempting to get more air service into Rochester. The airport directors have recently contacted the current providers, American and Delta, about adding more destinations, and have also contacted United, Frontier, and Allegiant to bring new nonstop destinations to the airport.[2]

In August 2012, just days after Allegiant Air announced flights between Rochester and Phoenix, the United States Department of Transportation gave the airport $500,000 and the city of Rochester gave the airport $250,000 to help recruit more airlines and non-stop destinations.[3] Frontier Airlines stated that the airline would be interested in bringing service to Rochester once the airport received the grant.[4]

Top destinations[edit]

Top ten domestic routes out of RST
(Dec 2013 – Nov 2014)[1]
Rank City Passengers Carrier
1 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 52,000 Delta
1 Chicago, IL 52,000 American
3 Phoenix/Mesa, AZ 6,000 Allegiant
4 Atlanta, GA 5,000 Delta
5 Detroit, MI 3,000 Delta
6 Laughlin/Bullhead City, AZ 1,000 Sun Country

Cargo destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
AirNet Express Des Moines, Fort Dodge (IA), Mason City (IA), Milwaukee, Omaha, St. Paul-Downtown
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Memphis, Salt Lake City
FedEx Feeder operated by CSA Air Brainerd, Duluth, Wausau
Freight Runners Express Milwaukee

AirMed International[edit]

AirMed, an international medical airline, uses Rochester International Airport as one of three primary hubs.

General Aviation Facilities[edit]

Rochester Aviation is the general aviation terminal at the airport. It is owned and operated by Hiawatha Aviation, Inc. The terminal provides line services, refueling services, and caters largely towards business aviation. RARE Aircraft, Ltd. provided flight instruction and aircraft rental up through August 2006. On April 1, 2006, the ownership of Rochester Aviation was passed onto Regent Aviation of St. Paul. In November 2007, Regent Aviation in turn sold its ownership stake in Rochester's general aviation terminal to Signature Flight Support, a worldwide fixed base operator provider. Also as of November 2007, aircraft rental and flight instruction at RST was available through Legacy Aviation, operating two Cessna 172 aircraft with a group of Certified Flight Instructors. Legacy, however, folded in late 2009 and Rochester once again lacks a publicly accessible flight training solution. The airport is also home to the Southeastern Minnesota Flying Club, which has had a presence at both RST and its predecessor Lobb Field for over 50 years.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On June 17, 2010, a small aircraft crashed a half-mile north of the runway, killing all three passengers.

A five passenger plane en route to Rochester crashed in Lake Michigan, killing the four passengers, but the pilot did survive.

A bomb scare occurred on March 30, 2011. The airport was evacuated and all commercial traffic in and out of the airport was stopped. A bomb squad from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area was called in. The item, however, turned out to be harmless.


Transportation to Rochester International Airport is available from downtown Rochester via taxi or a shuttle service. Rochester Yellow Cab and Rochester Taxi service the airport, as well as the shared ride service GO Rochester Direct.


  1. ^ a b,%20MN:%20Rochester%20International&carrier=FACTS
  2. ^ RST Airside Times – Airport Director's Update Rochester International Airport. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  3. ^ Rochester Airport gets ,00K for more air service KTTC. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  4. ^ [1] Post-Bulletin. Retrieved August 28, 2012.

External links[edit]