DSM serves as the gateway to Des Moines and to the beautiful State of Iowa. As the largest airport in Iowa, located in the capital city, DSM welcomes people from across the country and beyond.
DSM is an economic engine with an impact of $644 million to the local economy. We proudly generate more than 7,100 jobs for our region and state. And we facilitate incredible opportunities for businesses in the region.
Board Leadership Board Meeting Minutes
The Des Moines International Airport was established in 1933. The terminal was replaced in 1948 which is the facility we use to this day. The airport and the number of passengers have grown throughout the years. This is our story.
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 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 1948 that has been expanded and renovated several times. The present concourses were built in 1970, along with the remodeling of the terminal. The facility currently houses two coffee shops, three restaurants, a bodega style to-go shop, and two Hudson stores. The airport campus has expanded several times from its original 160-acres as well. The current campus expands 2600 acres and includes: two runways, 46 buildings, 7 parking facilities, and the terminal.
The airport was originally governed by the City of Des Moines' Parks Department. The City established a separate Aviation Department 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 transferred the title to all property and equipment to the public authority. In turn, the Authority agreed to a 99-year lease on the land. The organizational structure consists of a Board of five Des Moines citizens appointed by the Mayor of Des Moines and approved by the Des Moines City Council. The Airport Authority Executive team is led by an Executive Director, Director of Engineering & Planning, Director of Finance, and a Director of Operations. The terminal has two concourses: concourse A and C that American Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines use to serve the traveling public.
The Coronavirus pandemic had significant impacts on the Des Moines International Airport in 2020. DSM closed the year, serving 1,295,685 passengers in 2020, a fraction of the passengers served in 2019. A record number of passengers came through the airport in 2019, with 2,919,904 people flying through DSM. The growth represented an increase of 5.3% from 2018. Although the airport experienced flight capacity changes in 2020, the airport celebrated a record number of nonstop destinations closing the year, having served 24 cities with nonstop service.