Dane County Regional Airport

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Dane County Regional Airport

Truax Field
Dane County Regional Airport Logo.png
Logo as of 2013
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorDane County
ServesMadison, Wisconsin
LocationMadison, 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
Aircraft operations (2018)84,742
Based aircraft (2019)156
Departing Passengers (12 months ending August 2019)1,128,000
Sources: airport web site[1] and FAA[2]
For the Air National Guard use of this facility, see Truax Field Air National Guard Base.

Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) (IATA: MSN, ICAO: KMSN, FAA LID: MSN) (Truax Field) is a civil-military airport located six miles northeast of downtown Madison, the capital of Wisconsin.[2] In the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2019–2023, it is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility.[3] It is the second busiest of eight commercial airports in Wisconsin in terms of passengers served.


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 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 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 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 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.[4]

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.[5] 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, and major construction including additional jet boarding bridges beginning in 2019.[6] The county is also planning to add an 8 MW solar energy site on airport-owned land.[7]



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,[8] which leased the assets of the former FBO, Four Lakes Aviation and Coldstream Aviation, in 1994.

As of November 2019, there were 156 aircraft based at the airport: 75 single-engine, 18 multi-engine, 26 jet, 1 helicopter and 36 various military aircraft.[2]

The airport during construction, June 1937


The terminal currently has 13 gates on one concourse.[9]

The interior of the airport boasts five restaurants for patrons to choose from, along with four shops.

Ground transportation[edit]

Taxi service and Transportation Network Company drivers (e.g. Uber and Lyft) is available outside the terminal. Rental car counters are located across from the baggage claim area. In addition, 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.[10]

Both short and long-term parking is available in a large parking structure and in several adjacent lots.[11]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth [12]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul [13]
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City, Washington–National [13]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Las Vegas
Seasonal: Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Boston (begins May 7, 2020),[15] Fort Myers, Las Vegas (begins December 19, 2019), Nashville (begins May 7, 2020), Newark (begins May 8, 2020), Orlando (begins December 19, 2019), Portland (OR) (begins June 3, 2020), Seattle/Tacoma (begins May 8, 2020), Tampa [16]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver [17]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco [17]


Air Cargo Carriers Milwaukee, Louisville, Traverse City
FedEx Express Appleton, 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 (September 2018 – August 2019)[18]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Delta Air Lines 544,000 24.17%
2 SkyWest Airlines 386,000 17.15%
3 United Airlines 314,000 13.97%
4 Envoy Air 256,000 11.37%
5 Frontier Airlines 159,000 7.07%
6 Other 591,000 26.28%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from MSN (September 2018 – August 2019)[18]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 227,430 American, United
2 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 152,520 Delta
3 Detroit, Michigan 142,230 Delta
4 Denver, Colorado 131,880 Frontier, United
5 Atlanta, Georgia 122,640 Delta
6 Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas 66,660 American
7 Charlotte, North Carolina 42,410 American
8 New York–La Guardia, New York 41,010 Delta
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 35,430 American
10 Newark, New Jersey 29,240 United


  1. ^ Dane County Regional Airport, official web site
  2. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for MSN (Form 5010 PDF), effective November 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "NPIAS Report 2019-2023 Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  4. ^ History Of The Dane County Regional Airport Archived 2012-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Dane County Regional Airport Opens to Rave Reviews". Archalliance.com. Archived from the original on 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  6. ^ "After Busiest Year In Its History, Airport Plans for Terminal Modernization". www.msnairport.com. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  7. ^ Journal, Bill Novak | Wisconsin State. "Massive solar energy site to provide power to Dane County Regional Airport". madison.com. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  8. ^ Wisconsin Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator (FBO)
  9. ^ "Terminal Layout / Hours of Operation". Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Route 20 - Metro Transit - City of Madison, Wisconsin". www.cityofmadison.com. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  11. ^ "Parking & Transportation". www.msnairport.com. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  12. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  13. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  15. ^ Gilbertson, Dawn. "Sun Country adds 12 nonstop routes, including new flights from Baltimore, Cleveland". USA Today. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Route Map & Flight Schedule". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  18. ^ a b "RITA BTS Transtats - MSN". www.transtats.bts.gov. Bureau Of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved 22 October 2019.

External links[edit]