Dane County Regional Airport

Last updated

Dane County Regional Airport

Truax Field
Dane County Regional Airport Logo.png
Airport typePublic
Owner/Operator Dane County
Serves Madison, Wisconsin
Elevation  AMSL 887 ft / 270 m
Coordinates 43°08′23″N089°20′15″W / 43.13972°N 89.33750°W / 43.13972; -89.33750
Website msnairport.com
KMSN FAA Airport Diagram 19283.svg
FAA airport diagram
USA Wisconsin relief location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
Location of airport in Wisconsin, United States
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Airplane silhouette.svg
MSN (the United States)
Direction LengthSurface
Passenger volume (12 months ending March 2020)2,252,000
Departing passengers (12 months ending March 2020)1,126,000
Scheduled flights17,251
Cargo (lb.)58 mil
Aircraft operations (2020)46,268
Based aircraft (2021)158
Sources: airport website, [1] FAA, [2] BTS [3]

Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) ( IATA : MSN, ICAO : KMSN, FAA LID : MSN), also known as Truax Field, is a civil-military airport located 6 nautical miles (11  km ; 6.9  mi ) northeast of Downtown Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. [2] In the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2021–2025, it is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility. [4] It is the second busiest of eight commercial airports in Wisconsin in terms of passengers served after Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. [3]



In 1927, the City of Madison purchased 290 acres of land for $35,380. Previously a cabbage patch for a nearby sauerkraut factory, the newly acquired land would later become the present day home of the Dane County Regional Airport. In January 1936, the city council voted to accept a Works Progress Administration grant for the construction of four runways and an airplane hangar. Additional grants financed the terminal and administrative building as well as electric floodlights. The development price tag was $1 million – 10% paid by the city and the remainder by the federal government (MSN Airport, 2012). In September 1938, Barnstormer Howard Morey of Chicago, Edgar Quinn, and J.J. McMannamy organized the Madison Airways Corporation.

The airport during construction, June 1937 Dane6271937 5-389 7x9.jpg
The airport during construction, June 1937

The airport was renamed Truax Field and activated as a U.S. Army Air Corps airfield in June 1942 during World War II. During the war, it was used by the Army Air Corps Eastern Technical Training Center, a major school operating at Truax AAF for training radio operators and mechanics, and later expanded to training in radar operations, control tower operations, and other communications fields for the Army Airways Communication Service. A unit established in 1943 trained radio operators and mechanics on B-29 Superfortress communications equipment. The host unit on the airfield was the 334th (later 3508th) Army Air Corps Base Unit. On September 17, 1945, the airfield's mission was changed to that of a separation center and it was closed as an active AAF airfield on November 30, 1945.

Conveyed to local civil authorities, the Madison Municipal Airport became the home to the 1st Battalion 147th Aviation Regiment. The 1-147th operates the UH-60M Blackhawk Helicopter and has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The airport is also home to the Wisconsin Air National Guard and its present-day 115th Fighter Wing (115 FW), an Air National Guard fighter wing operationally-gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC). Today, the Air National Guard's F-16 Fighting Falcon still operates at the base. The 115th Fighter Wing is one of the 14 operational air defense units responsible for air defense of the eastern continental United States.

On December 15, 1966, a 31,000 square foot terminal building opened on the west side of the airfield at a cost of $2.36 million. The first scheduled jets were Northwest Orient 727s in 1965. In 1986, the airport tripled in size with a $12 million project that expanded the terminal from 32,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet, adding a second level concourse with six boarding bridges. [5]

In 2006, the airport completed a $68 million expansion that doubled the size of the terminal, built in a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced prairie style designed by the Architectural Alliance based in Minneapolis. [6] The new terminal accommodates 13 gates with jetways, WiFi, additional restaurant and retail vendors post-security, an art court, and both business and family lounges. The airport has also continued to expand its parking options, most recently in 2014.

On February 7, 2018, the airport announced a significant terminal modernization program, including replacement of existing jet bridges and design work beginning in 2018, and major construction including additional jet boarding bridges beginning in 2019. [7] The county is also planning to add an 8 MW solar energy site on airport-owned land. [8]



Dane County Regional Airport covers 3,500 acres (1,416 ha) with a field elevation of 887 feet (270 m) above mean sea level. It has three concrete runways: 18/36 is 9,006 by 150 feet (2,745 x 46 m); 3/21 is 7,200 by 150 feet (2,195 x 46 m); 14/32 is 5,846 by 150 feet (1,782 x 46 m). [2]

The fixed-base operator (FBO) is Wisconsin Aviation, [9] which leased the assets of the former FBO, Four Lakes Aviation and Coldstream Aviation, in 1994.

In January 2021, there were 158 aircraft based at the airport: 75 single-engine, 18 multi-engine, 27 jet, 2 helicopter and 36 various military aircraft. [2]


The terminal currently has 13 gates on one concourse. [10]

The interior of the airport includes five restaurants and four shops.

Ground transportation

Taxi service and Transportation Network Company drivers (e.g. Uber and Lyft) are available outside the terminal. Rental car counters are located across from the baggage claim area. Many local hotels provide courtesy shuttle service to and from the airport.

Madison Metro serves the airport with Route 20, to the North Transfer Point or Madison Area Technical College / East Towne Mall. [11]

Both short and long-term parking are available in a large parking structure and in several adjacent lots. [12]

Airlines and destinations


American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth [13]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [13]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul [14]
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City, Washington–National [14]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Las Vegas
Seasonal: Orlando, Philadelphia
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Boston, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Newark, Orlando, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa [16]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver
Seasonal: San Francisco
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles [17]


Air Cargo Carriers Milwaukee, Louisville, Traverse City
FedEx Express Appleton, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Memphis, Mosinee, Sioux Falls
Freight Runners Express Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells


Airline market share

Largest airlines at MSN (April 2019 – March 2020) [3]
1 Delta Air Lines 506,00022.47%
2 SkyWest Airlines 464,00020.6%
3 United Airlines 287,00012.74%
4 Envoy Air 190,0008.44%
5 PSA Airlines 153,0006.81%

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from MSN (November 2019 – October 2020) [3]
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 110,630American, United
2 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 64,290Delta, Sun Country
3 Denver, Colorado 62,220Frontier, United
4 Detroit, Michigan 56,550Delta
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 49,830American
6 Atlanta, Georgia 49,090Delta
7 Charlotte, North Carolina 38,690American
8 New York–La Guardia, New York 15,790Delta
9 Phoenix, Arizona 13,380American
10 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12,960American

Passenger development

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  1. Dane County Regional Airport, official website
  2. 1 2 3 4 FAA Airport Form 5010 for MSN PDF , effective January 28, 2021.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "RITA BTS Transtats - MSN". www.transtats.bts.gov. Bureau Of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  4. "NPIAS Report 2021-2025 Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration . September 30, 2020. p. 110. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  5. History Of The Dane County Regional Airport Archived May 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Dane County Regional Airport Opens to Rave Reviews". Archalliance.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  7. "After Busiest Year In Its History, Airport Plans for Terminal Modernization". www.msnairport.com. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  8. Journal, Bill Novak | Wisconsin State. "Massive solar energy site to provide power to Dane County Regional Airport". madison.com. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  9. Wisconsin Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator (FBO)
  10. "Terminal Layout / Hours of Operation" . Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  11. "Route 20 - Metro Transit - City of Madison, Wisconsin". www.cityofmadison.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  12. "Parking & Transportation". www.msnairport.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  13. 1 2 "Flight schedules and notifications" . Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  14. 1 2 "FLIGHT SCHEDULES" . Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  15. "Frontier" . Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  16. "Route Map & Flight Schedule" . Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  17. 1 2 "Timetable" . Retrieved June 19, 2019.