Dane County Regional Airport

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Dane County Regional Airport

Truax Field
Dane County Regional Airport Logo.png
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorDane County
ServesMadison, Wisconsin
Elevation AMSL887 ft / 270 m
Coordinates43°08′23″N 089°20′15″W / 43.13972°N 89.33750°W / 43.13972; -89.33750
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
MSN is located in Wisconsin
Location of airport in Wisconsin
MSN is located in the United States
MSN (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 9,006 2,745 Concrete
3/21 7,200 2,195 Concrete
14/32 5,846 1,782 Concrete
Statistics (12 months ending April 2022 except where noted)
Passenger volume1,657,000
Departing passengers829,000
Scheduled flights12,914
Cargo (lb.)54 mil
Aircraft operations (2021)73,549
Based aircraft (2022)143
Sources: airport website,[1] FAA,[2] BTS[3]

Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) (IATA: MSN, ICAO: KMSN, FAA LID: MSN), also known as Truax Field, is a civil-military airport located 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) northeast of downtown Madison,Wisconsin.[2] In the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2021–2025, it is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility.[4] It is the second busiest of eight commercial airports in Wisconsin in terms of passengers served, after Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.[3]


In 1927, the City of Madison purchased 290 acres of land for $35,380. Previously a cabbage patch for a nearby sauerkraut factory, the newly-acquired land would later become the present-day home of the Dane County Regional Airport. In January 1936, the city council voted to accept a Works Progress Administration grant for the construction of four runways and an airplane hangar. Additional grants financed the terminal and administrative building as well as electric floodlights. The development price tag was $1 million – 10% paid by the city and the remainder by the federal government (MSN Airport, 2012). In September 1938, Barnstormer Howard Morey of Chicago; Edgar Quinn; and J.J. McMannamy organized the Madison Airways Corporation.

The airport during construction, June 1937

The airport was renamed Truax Field and activated as a U.S. Army Air Corps airfield in June 1942 during World War II. During the war, it was used by the Army Air Corps Eastern Technical Training Center, a major school operating at Truax AAF for training radio operators and mechanics, and the airport later expanded to training in radar operations, control tower operations, and other communications fields for the Army Airways Communication Service. A unit established in 1943 trained radio operators and mechanics on B-29 Superfortress communications equipment. The host unit on the airfield was the 334th (later 3508th) Army Air Corps Base Unit. On September 17, 1945, the airfield's mission was changed to that of a separation center and it was closed as an active AAF airfield on November 30, 1945.

Conveyed to local civil authorities, the Madison Municipal Airport became the home to the 1st Battalion 147th Aviation Regiment. The 1-147th operates the UH-60M Blackhawk Helicopter and has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The airport is also home to the Wisconsin Air National Guard and its present-day 115th Fighter Wing (115 FW), an Air National Guard fighter wing operationally gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC). Today, the Air National Guard's F-16 Fighting Falcon still operates at the base. The 115th Fighter Wing is one of the 14 operational air defense units responsible for air defense of the eastern continental United States.

On December 15, 1966, a 31,000 square foot terminal building opened on the west side of the airfield at a cost of $2.36 million. The first scheduled jets were Northwest Orient 727s in 1965. In 1986, the airport tripled in size with a $12 million project that expanded the terminal from 32,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet, adding a second-level concourse with six boarding bridges.[5]

In 2006, the airport completed a $68 million expansion that doubled the size of the terminal, built in a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced prairie style designed by the Architectural Alliance based in Minneapolis.[6] The new terminal accommodates 13 gates with jetways, WiFi, additional restaurant and retail vendors post-security, an art court, and both business and family lounges. The airport has also continued to expand its parking options, most recently in 2014.

On February 7, 2018, the airport announced a significant terminal modernization program, including replacement of existing jet bridges and design work beginning in 2018 as well as major construction including additional jet boarding bridges beginning in 2019.[7] The county is also planning to add an 8 MW solar energy site on airport-owned land.[8]

In 2021 the airport began construction on an $85 million expansion of the terminal dubbed the South Terminal expansion. This project will add three additional gates that can accommodate larger aircraft. The new terminal will be two stories with 45,000 square feet of public space. The first floor will consist of 45,000 square feet of maintenance workshops and infrastructure. The concourse floor above will include the new gates, a restaurant, a play area for children, a nursing suite for mothers and a service animal relief area.



Dane County Regional Airport covers 3,500 acres (1,416 ha) with a field elevation of 887 feet (270 m) above mean sea level. It has three concrete runways: 18/36 is 9,006 by 150 feet (2,745 x 46 m); 3/21 is 7,200 by 150 feet (2,195 x 46 m); 14/32 is 5,846 by 150 feet (1,782 x 46 m).[2]

The fixed-base operator (FBO) is Wisconsin Aviation,[9] which leased the assets of the former FBO, Four Lakes Aviation and Coldstream Aviation, in 1994.

In July 2022, there were 143 aircraft based at this airport: 81 single-engine, 10 multi-engine, 15 jet and 37 various military aircraft.[2]


The terminal currently has 13 gates on one concourse.[10] Upon the completion of the South Terminal Expansion this will expand to 16 gates.

Pre-security amenities include a Coffee Shop and Gift Shop. The post-security side of the terminal includes two restaurants a coffee shop and two travel markets. The South Terminal expansion when complete will add an additional restaurant, a lactation room and a new post-security pet relief area. [11]

Ground transportation[edit]

Taxi service and Transportation Network Company drivers (e.g. Uber and Lyft) are available outside the terminal. Rental car counters are located across from the baggage claim area. Many local hotels provide courtesy shuttle service to and from the airport.

Madison Metro serves the airport with Route 20 to the North Transfer Point or Madison Area Technical College / East Towne Mall.[12]

Both short and long-term parking are available in a large parking structure and in several adjacent lots.[13]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [14]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Miami
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul [15]
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia,[16] Washington–National [15]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Las Vegas
Seasonal: Orlando
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Fort Myers, Las Vegas (begins September 9, 2022),[18] Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor[19] [20]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver [21]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Newark


Air Cargo Carriers Milwaukee, Louisville, Traverse City
FedEx Express Appleton, Bloomington/Normal, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Memphis, Mosinee, Sioux Falls
Freight Runners Express Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells


Airline market share[edit]

Largest airlines at MSN (May 2021 – April 2022)[3]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 SkyWest 268,000 16.16%
2 Delta 263,000 15.84%
3 United Airlines 214,000 12.90%
4 American Airlines 162,000 9.80%
5 PSA Airlines 146,000 8.80%
Other 605,000 36.50%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from MSN (May 2021 – April 2022)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 160,900 American, United
2 Denver, Colorado 108,210 Frontier, United
3 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 99,090 Delta, Sun Country
4 Atlanta, Georgia 97,190 Delta
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 81,230 American
6 Detroit, Michigan 78,360 Delta
7 Charlotte, North Carolina 56,130 American
8 Phoenix, Arizona 49,580 American, Sun Country
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 23,010 American
10 New York–LaGuardia, New York 21,050 Delta

Passenger development[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at MSN airport. See source Wikidata query.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dane County Regional Airport, official website
  2. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for MSN PDF, effective July 14, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "RITA BTS Transtats - MSN". Bureau Of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  4. ^ "NPIAS Report 2021-2025 Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. September 30, 2020. p. 110. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  5. ^ History Of The Dane County Regional Airport Archived May 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Dane County Regional Airport Opens to Rave Reviews". Archalliance.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "After Busiest Year In Its History, Airport Plans for Terminal Modernization". www.msnairport.com. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Journal, Bill Novak | Wisconsin State. "Massive solar energy site to provide power to Dane County Regional Airport". madison.com. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Wisconsin Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator (FBO)
  10. ^ "Terminal Layout / Hours of Operation". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "Dane County Regional Airport's $85M expansion to pave way for more flights, passengers".
  12. ^ "Route 20 - Metro Transit - City of Madison, Wisconsin". www.cityofmadison.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "Parking & Transportation". www.msnairport.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "Delta Airlines to offer direct flights to New York from Madison".
  17. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Karp, Aaron. "Sun Country To Launch Minneapolis-Reno Route". Routesonline. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  19. ^ "Sun Country Airlines Announces 18 New Nonstop Routes" (PDF) (Press release). April 27, 2021.
  20. ^ "Route Map & Flight Schedule". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  21. ^ "Timetable". Retrieved June 19, 2019.

External links[edit]