Dane County Regional Airport

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Dane County Regional Airport

Truax Field
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorDane County
ServesMadison, Wisconsin
Elevation AMSL887 ft / 270 m
Coordinates43°08′23″N 089°20′15″W / 43.13972°N 89.33750°W / 43.13972; -89.33750
Public transit accessBus interchange Madison Metro
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
MSN is located in Wisconsin
Location of airport in Wisconsin
MSN is located in the United States
MSN (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 9,006 2,745 Concrete
3/21 7,200 2,195 Concrete
14/32 5,846 1,782 Concrete
Statistics (12 months ending August 2023 except where noted)
Passenger volume1,989,000
Departing passengers995,000
Scheduled flights12,308
Cargo (lb.)35 mil
Aircraft operations (2022)76,218
Based aircraft (2023)163
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, Wisconsin.[2] In the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2023–2027, it is one of 2 airports in Wisconsin that is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility; the other is Appleton International Airport.[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.[5] 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

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 the airport 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 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II 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.[6]

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.[7] 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 as well as major construction including additional jet boarding bridges beginning in 2019.[8] The county is also planning to add an 8 MW solar energy site on airport-owned land.[9]

In 2021, the airport began construction on an $85 million expansion of the terminal dubbed the South Terminal expansion. This project will add three additional gates that can accommodate larger aircraft. The new terminal will be two stories with 45,000 square feet of public space. The first floor will consist of 45,000 square feet of maintenance workshops and infrastructure. The concourse floor above will include the new gates, a restaurant, a play area for children, a nursing suite for mothers and a service animal relief area.[10][11][12] The south terminal expansion was completed, and formally opened, in June 2023.[13] As part of this expansion, three new gates were added to the airport. In addition to this expansion, development has begun on three additional gates.[14]

Control tower


Parking garage


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][15]

The fixed-base operator (FBO) is Wisconsin Aviation,[16] which leased the assets of the former FBO, Four Lakes Aviation and Coldstream Aviation, in 1994.

In November 2023, there were 163 aircraft based at this airport: 92 single-engine, 7 multi-engine, 28 jet, 1 helicopter and 35 various military aircraft.[2]


Panorama of terminal at Dane County Regional Airport, 2015

The terminal currently has 16 gates on one concourse.[17]

Pre-security amenities include a Coffee Shop and Gift Shop. The post-security side of the terminal includes two restaurants a coffee shop and two travel markets. The South Terminal expansion when complete will add an additional restaurant, a lactation room and a new post-security pet relief area.[10]

Ground transportation[edit]

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 via Route D2 which offers direct service every 30 minutes to Downtown Madison including, the Capitol Square, State Street, the UW Campus and other points west.[18]

Both short and long-term parking are available in a large parking structure and in several adjacent lots.[19]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [20]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington–National[21]
Seasonal: Miami
Breeze Airways Tampa (begins February 7, 2024)[22]
Seasonal: Orlando (begins February 14, 2024)[23]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul [25]
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia,[26] Washington–National [25]
Frontier Airlines Denver
Seasonal: Orlando
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Fort Myers, Las Vegas,[28] Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor[29] [30]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Newark [31]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver


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


Airline market share[edit]

Largest airlines at MSN (September 2022 – August 2023)[3]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 American 458,000 23.06%
2 United 427,000 21.46%
3 Delta 366,000 18.42%
4 SkyWest 236,000 11.87%
5 Republic 107,000 5.36%
Other 394,000 19.84%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from MSN (September 2022 – August 2023)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 188,780 American, United
2 Denver, Colorado 135,420 Frontier, United
3 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 112,610 American
4 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 101,700 Delta, Sun Country
5 Atlanta, Georgia 96,950 Delta
6 Detroit, Michigan 96,130 Delta
7 Charlotte, North Carolina 89,020 American
8 Phoenix, Arizona 43,320 American, Sun Country
9 Newark, New Jersey 34,300 United
10 New York–LaGuardia, New York 24,220 Delta

Passenger development[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at MSN airport. See Wikidata query.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dane County Regional Airport Archived July 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, official website
  2. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for MSN PDF, effective November 30, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "RITA BTS Transtats - MSN". Bureau Of Transportation Statistics. Archived from the original on February 20, 2023. Retrieved November 14, 2023.
  4. ^ "NPIAS Report 2023-2027 Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. October 6, 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 4, 2022. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  5. ^ Ginsberg, Maggie (July 12, 2022). "History lesson: flight lessons". Madison Magazine. Channel3000.com. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  6. ^ History Of The Dane County Regional Airport Archived May 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Dane County Regional Airport Opens to Rave Reviews". Architectural Alliance. November 2006. Archived from the original on November 13, 2009.
  8. ^ Kyzer-McHenry, Brent S. (February 7, 2018). "After Busiest Year In Its History, Airport Plans for Terminal Modernization". County of Dane. Archived from the original on January 4, 2022. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  9. ^ Novak, Bill (March 6, 2018). "Massive solar energy site to provide power to Dane County Regional Airport". Wisconsin State Journal. Archived from the original on November 20, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Hamer, Emily (June 9, 2021). "Dane County Regional Airport's $85M expansion to pave way for more flights, passengers". Wisconsin State Journal. Archived from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  11. ^ "Press Releases | Dane County, Wisconsin". countyofdane.com. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  12. ^ "MSN Airport on Instagram: "We're almost ready to open up the new South Terminal to passengers! Here's a sneak peek to tide you over. #MSNAirport #ModernizingMSN #SouthTerminal"". Instagram. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  13. ^ https://www.countyofdane.com/PressDetail/11256
  14. ^ https://captimes.com/news/government/dane-county-airport-opens-three-new-gates-three-more-to-come/article_9cb45c9e-8ae0-5a50-a06f-689b93d1a5ea.html
  15. ^ "MSN airport data at skyvector.com". skyvector.com. Archived from the original on September 4, 2022. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  16. ^ Wisconsin Aviation Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, the airport's fixed-base operator (FBO)
  17. ^ "Terminal Layout / Hours of Operation". Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "Route D | Metro Transit, City of Madison, Wisconsin".
  19. ^ "Parking & Transportation". www.msnairport.com. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  21. ^ Viviani, Nick (January 26, 2023). "American to offer daily, non-stop flights to D.C." WMTV NBC 15. Archived from the original on January 26, 2023. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  22. ^ "Breeze Airways to offer new nonstop service from Tampa to Vermont, adds 4 total routes". FOX13TampaBay. November 8, 2023. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  23. ^ "Breeze Airways announces 5 new routes from Orlando". WFTV9. November 8, 2023. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  24. ^ "Breeze Airways Destinations". Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  26. ^ Heidemann, Emile (October 5, 2021). "Delta Airlines to offer direct flights to New York from Madison". Wisconsin State Journal. Archived from the original on October 4, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  27. ^ "Frontier". Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  28. ^ Karp, Aaron. "Sun Country To Launch Minneapolis-Reno Route". Routesonline. Archived from the original on March 9, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  29. ^ "Sun Country Airlines Announces 18 New Nonstop Routes" (PDF) (Press release). April 27, 2021. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  30. ^ "Route Map & Flight Schedule". Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  31. ^ "Timetable". Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2019.

External links[edit]