Lifting the DSM Experience 

The Des Moines Airport Authority is committed to growing alongside the community to meet unprecedented passenger growth and evolving travel needs. Lift DSM is a new construction and renovation plan to meet these needs. 

With a focus on the needs of the future, the Des Moines Airport Authority Board voted to move forward with planning and development for a new terminal. The project aims to lift the passenger experience by modernizing and streamlining the travel journey while supporting the local economy by elevating the region through air service connectivity. Authority leadership is working to secure funding to turn the Lift DSM terminal project development plans into a reality.

Lift DSM projects are interconnected; they are capital improvement projects that improve the safety and experience of passengers traveling through the Des Moines International Airport while also improving the operational efficiency of employees.  Each Lift project will aid one or more strategic areas for long-term benefits to the region and state. The strategic areas include airport experience, growth, and efficiency.

Lift Projects to Fuel Economic Development

As the Central Iowa region has grown, so has the number of residents opting to fly for business and pleasure.  With nearly 3 million passengers passing through the terminal each year, DSM surpasses acceptable adequacy levels of vital operating facilities.  Wait times are growing longer, and aircraft gates are at capacity, which limits the ability to add additional air service in the market.  New and existing routes aid in the community's ability to attract businesses and talent to Central Iowa.  Connectivity is a vital piece of the economic development engine. 

The Des Moines Airport Authority has bold ideas for modernizing and enhancing the experience for residents and visitors traversing the airport campus. Project Lift DSM will culminate with a new terminal building, which is one of the largest capital expansion projects in the United States for small hub airports like DSM to take on.

With fiscal responsibility at the core of decision-making, the Authority aims to build a new terminal in three phases, alleviating the existing capacity constraints while positioning the Authority to expand the terminal over time. The first phase, Phase 1A, will encompass the main passenger processing areas, including ticketing, baggage handling, the TSA security checkpoint, as well as five new aircraft gates. Phase 1A will connect into the existing C Concourse via a skywalk allowing the airlines to utilize the existing gates on both the A and C Concourses. Phase 1B and Phase 1C will be completed as funds are secured, and growth necessitates additional expansion. No local property tax dollars are being used to finance any of the Lift projects included in the Lift DSM program. These projects will be paid for with federal and state grants, gifts from local contributors, bonds issued by the airport, and airport revenues.


All Lift DSM capital improvement projects will yield positive outcomes that immediately improve the passenger journey, lifting the entire airport experience while accommodating the anticipated growth at Iowa's largest airport. Some Lift projects may cause temporary disruptions to the typical traveler experience; however, the result will dramatically improve the overall journey for years to come. 

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Lift DSM projects will aid in creating opportunities to welcome new airlines to the state and increase flight destinations and frequencies, improving connectivity for traveling residents and visitors alike. These projects will also enhance development opportunities on the airport campus, elevating the speed of business in the region. 



Lift DSM projects will culminate with the building of a new terminal.  The need for the new terminal hinges on the low operational efficiency that staff and tenants must overcome in the existing facility.  Safety is the foundation of all we do at the Des Moines Airport Authority, and improving safety through upgraded technologies and enhancements remains at the forefront of all expansion projects. 


Lift DSM’s new terminal building will allow Des Moines International Airport to support the anticipated exponential passenger growth over the next 5+ years and the overall economic health of our region and state. The new terminal will boost the passenger experience, elevate growth opportunities, and improve operational safety and efficiency for airport Lift projects and airline operations.

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Finished Lift Terminal Project to Feature Expanded Capabilities

Upon opening, the new Des Moines International Airport terminal will feature:

  • Expanded central security screening checkpoints with eight screening lanes.
  • Fifteen aircraft gates and additional remote parking positions enhancing opportunities for air service (new routes, new airlines, increased flight frequencies).
  • Updated and more efficient baggage handling systems.
  • Upgraded technologies and infrastructure.
  • Improved sustainability and green technology.
  • Elevated dining and retail options.
  • A new look featuring natural light and compelling airfield views.

Follow Along with the Progress of Lift DSM!

At the completion of Lift DSM projects, travelers will encounter a more pleasurable, convenient, and satisfying experience. Locals will benefit from a modern and accessible airport poised for growth, and the state will be lifted up by the unequivocal economic impact.

Learn more about various projects by clicking into each focus area in the left navigation.  


The Des Moines Airport Authority is grateful to each financial contributor who understand the economic vitality of the Des Moines International Airport and have pledged funds to assist with the construction of the new terminal building. This group of contributors will have the unique opportunity to provide input on the new terminal design so that the facility represents the varying communities in which it serves and lifts the economy and quality of life locally. 

City of Des Moines ● Polk County ● City of Ankeny ● City of West Des Moines ● City of Urbandale ●  City of Waukee ● City of Altoona ● City of Clive ● City of Johnston ● City of Indianola ● City of Norwalk ● City of Grimes ● City of Pleasant Hill ● City of Newton ● City of Bondurant ● City of Polk City ● City of Windsor Heights ● City of Mitchellville ● Warren County ● City of Alleman ● Prairie Meadows Casino & Hotel