Des Moines International Airport
The Des Moines International Airport is located just minutes from the city of Des Moines, Iowa. The airport services not only the metropolitan area of the city, but also the entire Central Iowa region. It is popular with air cargo carriers for its central location in the U.S. Midwest, and its proximity to Iowa State University and the downtown business district of Des Moines drives the demand for commercial traffic and charter aviation.
History of the Airport
Construction was completed on the original airport in 1933, with the commercial terminal opening shortly thereafter. The airport features two concourses for commercial flights. Both are located on the upper level of the airport’s single terminal. Shopping and dining are available to passengers on both levels. The lower level is used for security, check-in, ticket sales, rental cars, and baggage claim.
The Des Moines International Airport started with 160 acres of property, but it has since grown to 2,300 acres. It is one of the top 100 most active commercial airports in the United States, with approximately two million passengers coming through its gates every year.
Des Moines Airport Operations
A little over half of the airport’s flights are scheduled commercial routes, but the large capacity of the airport for general aviation allows it to also house single-engine planes, multi-engines, jets, and helicopters. In addition, the airport is host to the Iowa Air National Guard, so a percentage of the traffic from Des Moines International Airport is military. There are two runways at Des Moines International, both around 9000 feet. Usage of the runways is shared among the commercial, general aviation and military customers.
There are actually no international flights connecting directly into or out of Des Moines International Airport. The name of the airport was changed to include the word “International” in 1986 when a United States Customs Services office opened within the airport.
Airport Parking & Transportation
Passengers have many options when parking at Des Moines International. The short-term parking is conveniently located adjacent to the terminal for ticket purchase, airport business, or pick-up and drop-off of passengers. There are long-term parking lots also located in close proximity to the terminal. Passengers may also use any of the three economy lots for long-term parking. These lots are located on the airport property within minutes of the terminal. Shuttle service is provided for passengers around the clock, and the airport has constructed covered enclosures for passengers waiting for the shuttle. In addition, the airport provides a cell-phone lot for those waiting to pick up passengers upon arrival.
Getting to or from the airport is easy. Rental cars are plentiful at the terminal, and taxis are readily available just outside the baggage claim area. The metro transit system of the city of Des Moines includes the airport in its routes, and there is regional bus transit for all counties surrounding the Polk County area where the airport is located. In addition, a shuttle service operates for airport transportation for local residents, those living in the Central Iowa region, and residents living north between Des Moines and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Inter-state bus routes are available through well-known carriers such as Greyhound and Trailways.
Airlines Serving Des Moines Airport
Airlines at Des Moines International Airport provide passenger flights and destinations that include American Airlines to Dallas Fort Worth; Delta Airlines to Atlanta; Frontier Airlines to Denver; United Airlines to Chicago O’Hare/Denver; American Eagle to Chicago O’Hare and Dallas Fort Worth; United Express/Mesa Airlines to Chicago O’Hare and US Airways to Phoenix. Many smaller airlines operate out of Des Moines including Shuttle America, PSA Airlines, Republic Airlines, Compass Airlines, and Apple Vacations. Most of the major airlines use the smaller services for connecting flights.
Des Moines International’s 2,500-acre airport has two terminals: Concourse A and Concourse B. Concourse A has 6 gates and Concourse B has eight gates. Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, Mesa Airlines, and SkyWest use Concourse A. American Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, American Eagle and Express Jet use Concourse B. United Airlines, which uses Des Moines as its main hub, makes up 32% of passengers, followed by Delta Airlines, American Eagle, Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Air, US Airways, and Air Tran.
The top ten domestic flights out of Des Moines include Chicago-O’Hare, by American and United; Denver, by Frontier and United; Dallas, by American; Minneapolis/St. Paul, by United; Atlanta, by Delta; Detroit, by Delta; Milwaukee, by Air Tran; Memphis, by Delta; Phoenix, by US Airways; and Las Vegas, by Allegiant.
Cargo flights are provided by Air Net, with destinations to Denver, Omaha, and Rochester; FedEx Express, with flights to Memphis and Madison; Flight Express, with destinations to Waterloo, St. Louis, Fort Dodge, and Kansas City, and UPS Airlines, with destinations to Burbank, Cedar Rapids, Spokane, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Louisville, and Rockford. Carriers with the most arrivals and departures include American Eagle, with 310,000; Mesaba, with 227,000; United, with 222,000; SkyWest, with 160,000; Allegiant, with 141,000, and the other airlines have a combined total of 738,000.