Des Moines International Airport

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Des Moines International Airport
Des Moines International Airport Logo.png
Des Moines International Airport.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Des Moines
OperatorDes Moines Airport Authority
ServesDes Moines, Iowa, United States
Elevation AMSL958 ft / 292 m
Coordinates41°32′02″N 093°39′47″W / 41.53389°N 93.66306°W / 41.53389; -93.66306Coordinates: 41°32′02″N 093°39′47″W / 41.53389°N 93.66306°W / 41.53389; -93.66306
FAA diagram
FAA diagram
DSM is located in Iowa
DSM is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 9,003 2,744 Asphalt/Concrete
13/31 9,002 2,744 Asphalt
Total Passengers (2018)2,773,207
Cargo (pounds) (2018)69,993,676
Airport Operations (2017)70,118
Based Aircraft (2017)111
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1] Des Moines International Airport[2][3]

Des Moines International Airport (IATA: DSM, ICAO: KDSM, FAA LID: DSM) is a civil-military airport three miles southwest of Des Moines, in Polk County, Iowa. It has 22 connections to major airline hubs and leisure destinations.

The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021 called it a primary commercial service airport.[4] In 2016 a record 2.48 million passengers used the airport, up 5 percent from 2015.[5]

The airport hosts the 132nd Wing (132 WG) of the Iowa Air National Guard.


In the 1920s the Des Moines area had several small airports for general aviation and airmail. In 1929, the Iowa General Assembly passed a law allowing cities to sell bonds and levy assessments to build municipal airports. Over 80 sites were considered for the Des Moines Airport until a decision was made to build on 160 acres (0.65 km²) of farmland south of the city. Construction of the airport began in 1932 and was completed in 1933. The airport's first passenger terminal was built shortly after the airport was completed. It was replaced by a new terminal in 1950 that has been expanded and renovated several times. The present concourses were built in 1970, along with the remodeling of the terminal.[6] The airport itself has expanded several times from its original 160-acre (0.65 km2) site and now covers 2,625 acres (10.6 km²).

The airport was originally governed by the City of Des Moines' Parks Department. A separate Aviation Department was established by the city during the 1960s, and in 1982, a separate Aviation Policy Advisory Board was established. The airport was renamed the Des Moines International Airport in 1986 to acknowledge the presence of a United States Customs Service office at the airport.

In 2011 the City of Des Moines transferred control from the city to the Des Moines Airport Authority. The city retains ownership of the land but transfers title to all property and equipment to the public authority. In turn, the authority agreed to a 99-year lease on the land.[7]

In 2016 a record 2.48 million passengers used the airport, up 5 percent from 2015.[5] Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 919,990 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[8] 853,596 in 2009[9] and 932,828 in 2011.[10]


Interior renovation work began in 2009 on the airport and concluded in 2010. The project, designed by Brooks Borg Skiles AE LLP,[11] includes new carpets, paint, gate counters, seating, a new ceiling, signage, and a fire sprinkler system. Also included in the upgrade is a common-use project allowing any airline to use any gate at the airport. A new restroom is also being added to the C concourse to allow for future concourse expansion. The airport is modernizing baggage handling capabilities with expanded processing facilities as well.

In addition to work inside the passenger terminal, the airport is building a rental car facility and new parking facilities. It is also planning a new 5,000-foot runway (to be extended to 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in a later phase), and a new General Aviation (GA) apron. The new GA apron is partially in response to the failure of a reliever proposal in Adel, Iowa and restricted space in the current GA area.


The airport covers 2,625 acres (1,062 ha) at an elevation of 958 feet (292 m). It has two runways: 5/23 is 9,003 by 150 feet (2,744 x 46 m); 13/31 is 9,002 by 150 feet (2,744 x 46 m).[1]

In 2017 the airport had 70,118 aircraft operations, average 192 per day: 44% airline, 13% air taxi, 40% general aviation and 3% military. 111 aircraft were then based at the airport: 69 single-engine, 12 multi-engine, 27 jet, two helicopter and one military.[1]

The terminal has two concourses; concourse A with gates A1-A5 (used by Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express) and concourse C, with gates C1-C7 (used by American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, and Frontier Airlines).

The airport is home to a maintenance base for Endeavor Air.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


As of January 2018 American Airlines handled 30% of DSM passengers, followed by Delta Air Lines (23%), United Airlines (21%), Allegiant Air (10%), Southwest Airlines (10%) and Frontier Airlines (5%).[12]

Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, Punta Gorda (FL), St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Los Angeles, Nashville (begins February 13, 2020), Sarasota (begins November 23, 2019)
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix-Sky Harbor [14]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington–National [14]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City [15]
Frontier Airlines Denver
Seasonal: Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Southwest Airlines Denver (begins March 7, 2020), Las Vegas, St. Louis
Seasonal: Phoenix–Sky Harbor
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver [18]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental [18]


DSM cargo apron
FedEx Express Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Madison, Memphis
UPS Airlines Burbank, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Chicago/Rockford, Hartford, Louisville, Miami, Newark, Ontario, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Sacramento, Spokane

Air National Guard[edit]

The Air National Guard has used the airport for decades.

With the 2013 departure of the IA ANG's 132d Fighter Wing's F-16s, the unit that had flown manned aircraft for more than 70 years diversified its missions. expanding to include RPA, ISR and cyber warfare units.

These mission changes created some debate over the base's status as an aeronautical base, as the Des Moines Airport attempted to void the base's lease and charge 'fair market value', consistent with FAA funding rules at the time. In addition, the removal of the fighters had resulted in the disbanding of the guard's firefighting unit, forcing the airport to privatize firefighting operations which the base had previously provided. The dispute was addressed in the short term by the reassignment of Black Hawk helicopters from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, Iowa Army National Guard, from Boone, IA to the base, occupying the hangars that formerly held F-16s. [19] This issue was permanently resolved by President Obama's signature on H.R. 5944, which allowed airports continued access to FAA grant funding by classifying RPA operations as aeronautical. [20]

With the addition of the Army National Guard unit to the base, a transition to a joint base status has begun. Eventually, Air Force operations will occupy the area to the west of the main gate, while Army operations will occupy the east.


Annual traffic[edit]

Year Passenger statistics Percent change
2013 2,201,388 Increase 5.8%
2014 2,319,431[21] Increase 5.4%
2015 2,365,643[22] Increase 2.0%
2016 2,483,924[5] Increase 5.0%
2017 2,578,308[23] Increase 3.8%
2018 2,773,207[24] Increase 7.6%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic destinations from DSM
(July 2018 – June 2019)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Illinois Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 224,200 American, United
2 Colorado Denver, Colorado 161,000 Frontier, United
3 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 126,190 Delta
4 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 119,580 American
5 Arizona Phoenix, Arizona 116,460 American, Frontier, Southwest
6 Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 96,310 Delta
7 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada 76,310 Allegiant, Southwest
8 Missouri St. Louis, Missouri 69,930 Southwest
9 Michigan Detroit, Michigan 66,860 Delta
10 North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina 63,030 American

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On December 2, 1978, Douglas C-47A N41447 of SMB Stage Line crashed short of the runway while on a cargo flight from Chicago, Illinois.[26] Airframe icing was a factor in the accident.[27]

On December 1, 2007, a United Express plane carrying 44 passengers slid off a taxiway while taxiing to the runway for takeoff. No one was injured, but the airport was closed for seven hours after the incident because of the winter storm moving through the area.

On March 13, 2008, an Atlanta-bound ASA (Delta 4704) flight was delayed more than five hours when a mouse was discovered shortly before take-off from DSM. Officials delayed the flight to inspect the plane for any damage that the mouse may have caused. Maintenance crews checked wiring and components on the aircraft. The flight took off at 11:39am.

On December 18, 2010, a small red Beechcraft Bonanza crashed while performing an emergency landing at DSM. The Airport Director stated that the small craft had engine problems and turned around for the airport. The aircraft eventually lost the engine and pilot was able to glide to the end of the runway. The aircraft clipped the end of the runway fence with its landing gear, making the nose of the craft dip into the snow. Police and emergency reported only minor injuries.[28]

On March 18, 2016 an American Airlines plane made an emergency landing at the airport after reporting smoke in the cockpit. The plane carried almost 200 passengers. It was traveling from Chicago to Phoenix when it made the landing.[29]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for DSM (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. effective Jan 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "Des Moines International Airport" (PDF).
  3. ^
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Statistics" (PDF).
  6. ^ Lamberto, Nick (August 25, 1970). "'Cattle Chutes' to Be Used Longer-Airport Work Lag". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  7. ^ Pulliam, Jason. "Airport Authority Approved by City Council". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  8. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
  9. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Brooks Borg Skiles AE LLP - Government - Des Moines Airport".
  12. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  15. ^ "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  17. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  19. ^ Guard: Move helicopters to Des Moines
  20. ^ Upton, Peters bills signed by President
  21. ^ Aschbrenner, Joel (January 13, 2014). "Des Moins Sets All Time Flier Record. Delta Now Top Airline". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  22. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  23. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Des Moines, IA: Des Moines International (DSM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. June 2019.
  26. ^ "N41447 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  27. ^ "NTSB Identification: MKC79FA007". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  28. ^ "Plane Crashes at Des Moines Airport". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  29. ^ KCCI. "Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Des Moines".


External links[edit]