MBS International Airport
MBS International Airport
|Owner||Bay County, Michigan,|
Bay City, Michigan
|Location||Freeland, MI, United States|
|Elevation AMSL||668 ft / 204 m|
MBS International Airport (IATA: MBS, ICAO: KMBS, FAA LID: MBS), located in Freeland, Michigan, is a commercial and general aviation airport serving the nearby cities of Midland, Bay City, and Saginaw. It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a non-hub primary commercial service facility.
MBS was formerly named Tri-City Airport or Freeland Tri-City Airport. The airport was renamed MBS International Airport in 1994 (representative of its IATA airport code) to prevent confusion with other airports named "Tri-City Airport" across the United States. While owned by three municipalities, the IATA and FAA city name associated with the airport is Saginaw,  i.e. the control tower is known to pilots as "Saginaw Tower".
The commercial airport is a special municipal body owned by Bay County and the cities of Midland and Saginaw. The airport's name is an initialism formed from the names of these three communities and it is governed by a nine-member commission made up of three members from each of them.
In October 2012, MBS opened a brand new $55 million new 6-gate terminal to replace the old 3 gate terminal which was built in 1965. The construction on this project was completed nearly a year ahead of schedule.
The old terminal, which sat empty since Oct 2012, was demolished in 2017.
MBS International Airport enjoyed a robust 2018 with passenger numbers up 13 percent, and the airport is poised to embark on a major rehabilitation of its main runway to ring in the New Year.
MBS International Airport covers 3,200 acres (13 km2) and has two runways:
- Runway 5/23: 8,002 ft × 150 ft (2,439 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
- Runway 14/32: 6,400 ft × 150 ft (1,951 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2017, the airport had 20,358 aircraft operations, an average of 77 per day.
During World War II, it was used to hold prisoners of war. Civilian control of the airport resumed in the mid-1940s.
The current terminal on the north side of the air field opened on October 31, 2012. The 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) terminal, which replaced an older terminal on the west side of the air field, was designed by RS&H and cost $55 million. The Airport Commission approved plans for the construction of the state-of-the-art passenger terminal in 2006, with construction beginning in 2008. Airport officials hope the terminal will bring more airlines and more competition to MBS.
Air Force One landed at the airport two times during the 2004 United States Election for nearby rallies in support of George W. Bush (Air Force One also visited the airport in 1974 when then President Richard M. Nixon made a speech at the airport and arrived to give endorsement to James Sparling, a Congressional candidate).
Former Airline Service
The 1980s and 1990s saw a lot of growth at MBS. During this time, airline service expanded and many airlines began serving MBS.
- Air Canada (Operated by Air Ontario) served MBS with its only International destination, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Allegiant Airlines served MBS in the early 2010s with weekly MD-80 service to Orlando-Sanford, but the route was dropped a few months later when Allegiant announced they would operate from Flint.
- American Eagle Airlines operated Shorts 360 turboprop aircraft to Chicago O'Hare, as well as Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Traverse City. American left MBS in the late 1980s.
- Chicago Express Airlines, the now-defunct ATA Airlines carrier, served MBS in the early 1990s with daily service to Chicago Midway Airport using the Jetstream 31 turboprop aircraft.
- Delta Connection carrier Comair briefly linked MBS with Cincinnati, Ohio using Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, a 30-seat turboprop. Comair left MBS and started service in Flint. Delta returned to MBS in 2010 after their merger with Northwest Airlines.
- Continental Airlines provided mainline service in the 1980s to Cleveland, Ohio using McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and Boeing 737 aircraft. Mainline service was downgraded to Continental Express service in the late 1980s using Beechcraft 1900 turboprop aircraft. Service to Flint and Chicago Midway also existed in 1992. The airline left MBS in the mid-1990s and returned in 2002. Service was dropped to Cleveland again in 2003.
- Northwest Airlines was a major player at MBS during the late 1980s until their merger with Delta in 2008. In their 20+ years at MBS, Northwest served Detroit & Minneapolis with a fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9 series aircraft along with the Boeing 727 and Airbus 319 & 320. Northwest Airlink linked MBS to Flint, Lansing and Alpena throughout the 1980s with turboprop aircraft and eventually supported mainline Northwest with CRJ service to Detroit, Minneapolis and in 2008, operated a once daily nonstop to New York's LaGuardia airport in New York City using a CRJ-200 regional jet.
- Republic Airlines began service to MBS in the 1960s linking MBS with Detroit using the DC-9 aircraft. During this time, Republic Express provided turboprop service to Flint, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City. Republic merged with Northwest Airlines in the 1980s, who subsequently merged with Delta Air Lines in 2010. Delta still serves MBS today.
- Skyway Airlines (The Midwest Express Connection) served MBS in the 1990s with service to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, using the Beechcraft 1900 turboprop aircraft. Skyway also tried service to Toronto, Flint, and Grand Rapids in the late 1990s. The airline pulled out in the late 1990s.
- United Airlines provided MBS with mainline service since commercial service was started. In the 1980s and 1990s, United linked MBS with Chicago using Boeing 737 and 727 aircraft. Service to Denver, Colorado, also existed in the 1980s. Mainline United left MBS in the late 1990s, and was replaced with United Express, which still serves MBS with service to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport using the 50 seat Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) aircraft.
- US Airways began service to MBS in 1996, operating Fokker 100 and Boeing 737 aircraft to its former hub in Pittsburgh. Mainline service ended soon after, and US Airways Express assumed the Pittsburgh flights using the Beech 1900 and Saab 340 aircraft. US Airways suspended service to MBS just two days after entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2002. At the time it was the only city for US Airways to drop. Eventually, US Airways also left Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids, leaving Detroit as the only Michigan destination served by US Airways.
Once the third busiest airport in Michigan, MBS has fallen in air service and passenger numbers. One major reason for this is the low-cost competition at nearby Bishop International Airport in Flint, which offers more flights to more destinations and often cheaper fares.
SkyWest Airlines runs ground services for United Express, and all air service to Chicago is operated at-risk by SkyWest, whereas they set the schedules and receive all revenues for the flights instead of United.
DAL Global Services operates ground handling duties for Delta Connection at MBS.
Airlines and destinations
|Delta Connection||Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul|
|3||Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota||12,220||Delta|
Accidents and incidents
- On April 6, 1958, Vickers Viscount N7437, operating Capital Airlines Flight 67, stalled and crashed on approach. All 47 on board were killed. The cause was attributed to ice accretion on the horizontal stabilizer.
- On August 16, 1987, a Northwest Airlines MD-80, Northwest Airlines Flight 255, originated at MBS. After departing MBS, the flight dropped off and picked up passengers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport before crashing on takeoff en route to Phoenix, Arizona, killing 148 passengers and 6 crew members.
- May 23, 2016, a single-engine Cessna 170 flipped over due to unknown causes. All 3 people in the plane survived with no injuries.
- FAA Airport Master Record for MBS ( PDF), effective Nov 10, 2016.
- Michigan Department of Transportation. Measures of Michigan Air Carrier Demand Archived January 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Michigan.gov, Retrieved January 24, 2014
- "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). FAA.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. October 21, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
- IATA Codes. https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/IATA_Codes/IATA_Code_M.htm. Missing or empty
- Lynch-Morin, Kathryn (October 27, 2012). "Visitors to the new MBS International Airport terminal like the bright, open design". mlive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- Simpson-Mersha, Isis (May 4, 2017). "MBS set to demolish old terminal building". mlive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- News, Jon BeckerFor the Daily (December 24, 2018). "MBS enjoys robust 2018 as passenger numbers soar". Midland Daily News. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- Lynch-Morin, Kathryn. By the numbers: New MBS International Airport passenger terminal, The Saginaw News via MLive, October 26, 2012
- Stanton, Ryan J. Plans reach high with federal funds Archived May 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Bay City Times via MLive, December 26, 2007
- Mid-Michigan, Amy L. Payne Booth. "Non-stop flights from MBS to New York begin in February". MLive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- "MBS to LGA 2018: Saginaw to New York Flights | Flights.com". www.flights.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- City/Midland, MI: MBS International&carrier=FACTS "Saginaw/Bay City/Midland International (MBS) Summary Statistics" Check
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to MBS International Airport.|
- Official website
- Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics
- Resources for this airport: