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Iowa Airports

Author: Amelia Wright

How Many Airports are There in Iowa?

According to the Iowa airports map, the majority of air traffic in the Iowa state is concentrated in one city—Des Moines. Every year, the three main airports in this city handle approximately 3 million people. These airports are served by the biggest U.S. airlines.

The state of Iowa is home to 121 public airports, 70 private airports, and one international one. Des Moines International Airport (DSM), the state’s busiest one, welcomes around 1.3 M passengers per year. The smallest one is Fort Dodge Regional Airport (FOD) (with less than 9 thousand passengers per year).

Most airports in Iowa work for general aviation. There are also eight commercial service airports. In addition, eight private airports are open to the public.

Top 5 Airports in Iowa

  • 1. Eastern Iowa Airport (CID). In 2020, this public-use airport had around 615 thousand passengers. The most popular destinations are Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, and Punta Gorda. Seven major airlines operate at this airport.
  • 2. Des Moines International Airport (DSM). Being the largest among all Iowa airports, it welcomed 1.2 passengers in 2020. The two busiest domestic destinations are Denver and Chicago. The airport is also a base for American ultra-low-cost airline Allegiant Air.
  • 3. Dubuque Regional Airport (DBQ). In a single calendar year, this small airport sees approximately 42 thousand passenger boardings. In 2017, it completed 50 thousand aircraft operations (138 per day). The most popular destination is Chicago–O’Hare. Most flights are served by American Eagle airlines.
  • 4. Sioux Gateway Airport (SUX). Being categorized as a primary commercial service airport, it has around 10 thousand passenger boardings and around 28 thousand passengers per year. The most popular destination is Chicago (served by the United Express airline).
  • 5. Waterloo Regional Airport (ALO). It’s used for general aviation and is served by only one airline (American Eagle). The most popular destination is Chicago. In 2019, it had 19 thousand aircraft operations (53 per day).

Airlines Flying to Iowa

The major airports in Iowa have a partnership with such airlines:

  • 1. American Airlines
  • 2. Allegiant Air
  • 3. Frontier Airlines
  • 4. Southwest Airlines
  • 5. United Airlines


Based on Internet searches, the most popular destinations at Iowa airports are the following:

  • 1. Des Moines (54%)
  • 2. Cedar Rapids (37%)
  • 3. Sioux City (3%)
  • 4. Waterloo (2%)
  • 5. Dubuque (2%)

Iowa Aviation Museum

In 1990, the Iowa Aviation Museum opened the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame. This is the only place in the state where you can learn about the aviation history of Iowa. Each year, the Hall of Fame accepts nominations. Each inductee gets a permanent tribute in the museum.

Before the appearance of the first airports in Iowa, the first flight that took place in the state was the balloon flight, performed by Professor Silar Brooks in the middle of the 19th century. The first aircraft flight in Iowa was performed by Art J. Hartman on a monoplane (1910). The museum houses aircraft models that were built before World War II, including unique and military models. They can reveal a lot about people who had a great impact on aviation in the state.