MBS International Airport

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MBS International Airport
MBS International Airport Logo.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerBay County, Michigan,
Midland, Michigan,
Saginaw, Michigan
ServesSaginaw, Michigan
Midland, Michigan
Bay City, Michigan
LocationFreeland, MI, United States
Elevation AMSL668 ft / 204 m
Coordinates43°31′58″N 084°04′47″W / 43.53278°N 84.07972°W / 43.53278; -84.07972Coordinates: 43°31′58″N 084°04′47″W / 43.53278°N 84.07972°W / 43.53278; -84.07972
MBS is located in Michigan
Location of airport in Michigan
MBS is located in the United States
MBS (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 8,002 2,439 Asphalt
14/32 6,400 1,951 Asphalt
Total passengers (2016)241,748
Aircraft operations (2014)22,291
Based aircraft (2016)27

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.[1] 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.[3]

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, [4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]


MBS International Airport covers 3,200 acres (13 km2) and has two runways:[1]

  • 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.

In December 2017, there were 23 aircraft based at this airport: 5 single-engine, 7 multi-engine, 11 jet and 1 helicopter.[1]


Current Terminal boarding concourse

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.[8] 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.[9]

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[edit]

Ticketing Area of the former terminal

The 1980s and 1990s saw a lot of growth at MBS. During this time, airline service expanded and many airlines began serving MBS.

Current Operations[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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[edit]


Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
United Express Chicago–O'Hare

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest Routes From MBS (August 2018 – July 2019)[12]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Detroit, Michigan 81,670 Delta
2 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 37,550 United
3 Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota 12,220 Delta

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for MBS (Form 5010 PDF), effective Nov 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation. Measures of Michigan Air Carrier Demand Archived January 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Michigan.gov, Retrieved January 24, 2014
  3. ^ "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). FAA.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. October 21, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  4. ^ IATA Codes. https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/IATA_Codes/IATA_Code_M.htm. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Simpson-Mersha, Isis (May 4, 2017). "MBS set to demolish old terminal building". mlive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  7. ^ News, Jon BeckerFor the Daily (December 24, 2018). "MBS enjoys robust 2018 as passenger numbers soar". Midland Daily News. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Lynch-Morin, Kathryn. By the numbers: New MBS International Airport passenger terminal, The Saginaw News via MLive, October 26, 2012
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Mid-Michigan, Amy L. Payne Booth. "Non-stop flights from MBS to New York begin in February". MLive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "MBS to LGA 2018: Saginaw to New York Flights | Flights.com". www.flights.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  12. ^ City/Midland, MI: MBS International&carrier=FACTS "Saginaw/Bay City/Midland International (MBS) Summary Statistics" Check |url= value (help).
  13. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
  14. ^ http://www.wnem.com/story/32096185/httpwwwwnemcomstory32095858families-veterans-honor-those-who-died-for-our-freedom

External links[edit]