Des Moines International Airport

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Des Moines International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner City of Des Moines
Operator Des Moines Airport Authority
Serves Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Elevation AMSL 958 ft / 292 m
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
FAA diagram
FAA diagram
DSM is located in Iowa
Location in Iowa
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 9,003 2,744 Asphalt/Concrete
13/31 9,002 2,744 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Aircraft operations 85,712
Based aircraft 135

Des Moines International Airport (IATA: DSMICAO: KDSMFAA LID: DSM) is three miles southwest of Des Moines, in Polk County, Iowa. It has 19 connections to major airline hubs.

The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 called it a primary commercial service airport.[2] In 2014, a record 2.3 million passengers used the airport, up 5.4 percent from 2013.[3]

The airport hosts the Des Moines Air National Guard Base and 132d Fighter Wing (132 FW) of the Iowa Air National Guard.


During the 1920s the Des Moines area had several small private 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 160 acres (0.65 km²) of farmland south of the city was chosen. Construction 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.[4] The airport itself has expanded several times from its original 160-acre (0.65 km2) site and now covers 2,300 acres (9.3 km²) of land.

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.[5]

In 2014, a record 2.3 million passengers used the airport, up 5.4 percent from 2013.[3] Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 919,990 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[6] 853,596 in 2009[7] and 932,828 in 2011.[8]


Interior renovation work began in 2009 on the airport and concluded in 2010. The project, designed by Brooks Borg Skiles AE LLP,[9] 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 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) asphalt/concrete; 13/31 is 9,002 by 150 feet (2,744 x 46 m) asphalt.[1]

In 2010 the airport had 83,744 aircraft operations, average 229 per day: 56% airline, 39% general aviation, and 5% military. 125 aircraft were then based at this airport: 45% single-engine, 22% multi-engine, 18% jet, 1% helicopter, and 14% military.[1]

Airlines and destinations


In March 2014 American Airlines handled 29% of DSM passengers, followed by Delta Air Lines (24%), United Airlines (21%), Allegiant Air (11%), Southwest Airlines (11%) and Frontier Airlines (3%).[10]

The Des Moines Terminal has 2 concourses; concourse A with gates A1-A5, and concourse C, with gates C1-C7.

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Allegiant Air Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Los Angeles
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix C
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, Washington–National C
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal: Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City C
Frontier Airlines Denver C
Southwest Airlines Chicago–Midway (ends April 11, 2016),[11] Las Vegas, St. Louis (begins April 12, 2016)[12] A
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver A
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark A


Year Passenger Statistics Percent Change
2012 1,951,016 Increase 9.15%
2013 2,201,388 Increase 5.8%
2014 2,319,431[13] Increase 5.4%

Top Destinations

Top 10 destinations (Oct 2014 – Sep 2015)[14]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 215,000 American, United
2 Denver, Colorado 135,000 Frontier, United
3 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 118,000 American
4 Atlanta, Georgia 108,000 Delta
5 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 103,000 Delta
6 Las Vegas, Nevada 81,000 Allegiant, Southwest
7 Phoenix, Arizona 73,000 US Airways
8 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 66,000 Southwest
9 Detroit, Michigan 52,000 Delta
9 Charlotte, North Carolina 50,000 US Airways


File:Dsm cargo (2).JPG
DSM Cargo Apron
Airlines Destinations
AirNet Express Denver-Centennial, DuPage, Omaha, Rochester (MN)
FedEx Express Cedar Rapids, Madison, Memphis
Flight Express Waterloo, St. Louis-Cahokia, Fort Dodge, Kansas City
UPS Airlines Burbank, Cedar Rapids, Hartford/Springfield, Newark, Spokane, Sacramento, Portland (OR), Philadelphia, Louisville, Chicago/Rockford

Accidents and incidents

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.[15] Airframe icing was a factor in the accident.[16]

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.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FAA Airport Master Record for DSM (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective August 25, 2011.
  2. "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. Lamberto, Nick (August 25, 1970). "'Cattle Chutes' to Be Used Longer-Airport Work Lag". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved June 27, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Pulliam, Jason. "Airport Authority Approved by City Council". Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 1, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Enplanements for CY 2010" (PDF, 189 KB). Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Brooks Borg Skiles AE LLP – Des Moines Airport
  13. Aschbrenner, Joel (January 13, 2014). "Des Moins Sets All Time Flier Record. Delta Now Top Airline". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved January 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Des Moines, IA: Des Moines International (DSM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "N41447 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved August 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "NTSB Identification: MKC79FA007". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 2, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Plane Crashes at Des Moines Airport". Retrieved August 22, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links