Wisconsin Airports

What Major Airports are There in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has many airports, with a large share of private ones. The proportion of public/private is 125/289. Besides, light aircraft and helicopters are very popular in the state. Seventeen bases for seaplanes, 105 heliports, and 7 airports for ultralight airplanes are also listed among Wisconsin airports.

Public airports are represented by a single medium hub, three small hubs, and multiple non-hub airports. Overall, there are 8 commercial ones, providing scheduled flights. In contrast, 7 airports in Wisconsin are listed as international ones. Milwaukee is the most popular destination within the state and has 2 airports. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) statistics in 2019 showed 6.8 M passengers, with 0.6% boarding the flights to or from abroad. Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (MWC) is also located in Milwaukee but mainly works for domestic flights, charter services, and general aviation operations.

The smallest airport on the list of commercial airports in Wisconsin is Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU). Its passenger traffic reached almost 24,000 travelers in 2020. In total, about 5.5 M passengers flew to and from airports located in Wisconsin in 2020. This accounts for around 0.6% of total aviation traffic in the United States.

List of Wisconsin Airports

  • 1. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE). MKE had 2,627,215 passengers in 2020, with 1.9% of international travelers. Ten domestic carriers and 1 foreign one serve flights to 44 destinations, 3 of which are located outside the U.S.
  • 2. Dane County Regional Airport (MSN). MSN, the largest regional airport on the Wisconsin airports map, welcomes about 700,000 travelers yearly. From MSN, 5 domestic airlines fly to 15 nonstop U.S. destinations, linking Wisconsin with 12 other states.
  • 3. Appleton International Airport (ATW). The airport’s passenger traffic almost halved in 2020, with 380,154 total for that year. Five U.S. carriers here offer year-round flights to 9 destinations located in 8 U.S. states.
  • 4. Green Bay—Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB). The annual passenger number of GRB is around 300,000 air travelers. Five U.S. airlines offer flights to 6 cities in 6 states on a regular basis.
  • 5. Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA). CWA is the biggest non-hub among Wisconsin airports that served approximately 145,00 passengers during the pre-pandemic period (as of 2019). Three U.S. carriers provide year-round flights from CWA to 3 major hubs located outside Wisconsin.

Airlines

The number of airlines serving flights to WI has reduced since the Covid-19 outbreak began. Among foreign carriers, only Air Canada still provides the service from MKE. As for domestic airlines flying to Wisconsin, the list is the following:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Contour Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines

Most Popular Destinations

According to online searches, the following are the most popular destinations from airports in Wisconsin:

  • Milwaukee (43% of online queries mention this city having two airports: 1 international and 1 regional)
  • Madison (mentioned in 27% of queries)
  • Green Bay (13% of online searches)
  • Appleton (has 7% of all queries)
  • Wausau (5% of searches)
  • La Crosse (mentioned in 3% of queries)

Wisconsin Aviation History

In 1909, Arthur Pratt Warner flew his aircraft, the Curtiss Pusher, for the first time in Wisconsin. Alfred W. Lawson’s construction of aircraft manufacturing operations in Milwaukee and Green Bay is the next historical milestone. The smaller enterprise for propeller manufacturing was founded by Thomas F. Hamilton in 1918 in Milwaukee.

Hamilton also established the first one among Wisconsin airports. In 1920, he built an airfield, which he called Hamilton Airport. In 1926, it was purchased by Milwaukee County and renamed it Milwaukee County Airport.

In 1941, the airport was named after General William «Billy» Mitchell. A Milwaukee resident, General Mitchell started his way in aviation as a pilot in 1908 and later served as a military pilot. During WWI, he commanded the U.S. Air Force in France and continued to develop the Air Force upon returning to the USA. It is often referred to as «father of the United States Air Force.»