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
Focus city forAllegiant Air
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
05/23 9,004 2,744 Asphalt/concrete
13/31 9,002 2,744 Asphalt
Total passengers (2021)2,167,510
Cargo (pounds) (2021)86,934,279
Airport operations (through 12/31/2021)66,320
Based aircraft (2021)105
Source: Federal Aviation Administration,[1] Des Moines International Airport[2][3]

Des Moines International Airport (IATA: DSM, ICAO: KDSM, FAA LID: DSM) is a commercial service airport 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Des Moines, the capital of Iowa.

The airport's 2,600 acre campus includes two runways, 46 buildings, 7 parking facilities, and the terminal. Six commercial airlines offer service from DSM (American, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United). The airport is managed by the Des Moines Airport Authority.

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] In 2019, DSM served 2.92 million passengers, a record for the airport.

The airport hosts the 132nd Wing 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]

In July 2021, the airport planned to become home to a base for Allegiant Air.[11]


Interior renovation work began in 2009 on the airport and concluded in 2010. The project, designed by Brooks Borg Skiles AE LLP,[12] 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 9,004 by 150 feet (2,744 x 46 m); 13/31 is 9,002 by 150 feet (2,744 x 46 m).[1][13]

In the year ending December 31, 2021, the airport had 66,320 aircraft operations, average 182 per day: 44% airline, 9% air taxi, 44% general aviation and 4% military. 105 aircraft were then based at the airport: 63 single-engine, 16 multi-engine, 23 jet, and three helicopter.[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]


Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Newark,[14] Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, Punta Gorda (FL), St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Austin,[15] Chicago–Midway,[15] Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fort Lauderdale,[16] Houston–Hobby,[17] Los Angeles, Nashville,[18] Orange County,[19] Palm Springs, Portland (OR),[17] San Diego,[17] Sarasota
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Charlotte
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington–National
Seasonal: Miami[22]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia [23]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Las Vegas[24]
Seasonal: Orlando
Southwest Airlines Denver, Las Vegas, St. Louis
Seasonal: Phoenix–Sky Harbor
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver
Seasonal: Houston–Intercontinental
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental [28]


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

Air National Guard[edit]

Airmen of the Iowa Air National Guard's 132nd Wing board a New York Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III as part of contingency operation in the summer of 2021.

The Iowa Air National Guard has occupied an area located at the end of the runway since the 1960s and has been home to the 132nd Wing.

With the increased need of RPA, Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and cyber warfare in the 21st century the U.S. Air Force transitioned the 132nd from a F-16 Falcon fighter unit to an ISR and cyber warfare unit starting in 2013. This ended the 132nd's nearly 70-year history as a fighter wing having previously flown P-51 Mustangs then the F-84 Thunderstreak, F-100 Super Sabre, A-7 Corsair II and finally transitioning to the F-16 Falcon in the 1980s.[29] Initially it had been considered to transition the wing to the A-10 Thunderbolt II in 2014 but it was felt by Iowa legislators that the ISR mission would offer more training and skills to the Airmen of the 132nd which would be applicable in the 21st century and help boost the Iowa economy.[30][31] The 132nd participated in air combat during World War II, Desert Storm, and the Iraq War.

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.[32] 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.[33]

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[34] Increase 5.4%
2015 2,365,643[35] Increase 2.0%
2016 2,483,924[5] Increase 5.0%
2017 2,578,308[36] Increase 3.8%
2018 2,773,207[37] Increase 7.6%
2019 2,919,904[38] Increase 5.3%
2020 1,295,685[5] Decrease 55.6%
2021 2,167,510[5] Increase 67.3%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic destinations from DSM
(May 2021 – April 2022)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Colorado Denver, Colorado 173,720 Frontier, Southwest, United
2 Illinois Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 161,580 American, United
3 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 107,000 American
4 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 94,070 Delta
5 Arizona Phoenix, Arizona 88,040 American
6 Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada 83,120 Allegiant, Southwest
7 North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina 71,630 American
8 Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 64,870 Delta
9 Texas Houston-Intercontinental, Texas 51,200 United
10 Michigan Detroit, Michigan 51,060 Delta

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.[40] Airframe icing was a factor in the accident.[41]

On November 25, 1985, a Rockwell Aero Commander crashed on approach due to icing and possibly wake turbulence, killing the pilot and six members of the Iowa State University women's track team.[42][43][44]

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, Delta Connection Flight 4704, an Atlanta-bound Bombardier CRJ-200 operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, 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.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for DSM PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. effective Jan 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Des Moines International Airport" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Des Moines International Airport Homepage" (PDF).
  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 d e "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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Allegiant Announces Aircraft Base in Des Moines, Bringing New Jobs and Growth Opportunities | Allegiant Travel Company".
  12. ^ "Des Moines International Airport – Terminal | BBS Architects Engineers".
  13. ^ "DSM airport data at". Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  14. ^ "Allegiant announces new routes to Florida, California, New York". March 2022.
  15. ^ a b "Allegiant Announces Largest Service Expansion In Company History With 3 New Cities And 44 Nonstop Routes". Allegiant Airlines.
  16. ^ "Allegiant's DSM base opens Thursday, four nonstop flights added". June 30, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c "Best Travel Deals, Cheap Flights, Hotel Discounts, Car Rentals and more". Allegiant Air.
  18. ^ Gilbertson, Dawn. "Allegiant adding five new nonstop routes, three to Nashville, two to Florida". USA TODAY.
  20. ^ "Allegiant Air". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  22. ^ "20 New Routes for Summer 2020".
  23. ^ "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  24. ^ "Frontier Airlines Announces 21 New Routes With Key Expansions in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas". Frontier Airlines Announces 21 New Routes With Key Expansions in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas.
  25. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  26. ^ "Flight Finder ✈ Orlando Intl (KMCO) – Des Moines Intl (KDSM)". FlightAware.
  27. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  29. ^ Magel, Todd (May 1, 2019). "KCCI takes exclusive tour with Iowa Air National Guard". KCCI.
  30. ^ "132d Wing".
  31. ^ "Iowa Air National Guard / RPA, Intel, Cyber and Wing Administration Facility".
  32. ^ Aschbrenner, William Petroski, and Joel. "Guard: Move helicopters to Des Moines". Des Moines Register.
  33. ^ "Upton, Peters bills signed by President".
  34. ^ Aschbrenner, Joel (January 13, 2014). "Des Moines Sets All Time Flier Record. Delta Now Top Airline". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  35. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  36. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  37. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  38. ^ "Statistics" (PDF).
  39. ^ "Des Moines, IA: Des Moines International (DSM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. July 2021.
  40. ^ "N41447 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  41. ^ "NTSB Identification: MKC79FA007". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  42. ^ Glover, Mike. "Authorities Probe Plane Crash that Killed Cross-Country Team Members, Coach". Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  43. ^ "Ice Accumulation Likely Cause Of 1985 Crash". Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  44. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 39384". Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  45. ^ "Plane Crashes at Des Moines Airport". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2011.


External links[edit]