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As Airport Authority Celebrates 10 Years, the Next 10 are Poised for Growth

Des Moines International Airport 2021 Updates

October 28, 2021

On Monday, Nov. 1, the Des Moines Airport Authority will celebrate its 10th anniversary as an entity. It is incredible to think about how much growth has happened at Des Moines International Airport over the past decade.

Airport Updates

During the past 10 years, Des Moines International Airport has celebrated significant growth under the Airport Authority’s leadership. Air service has grown with 11 new destinations in the last 10 years, in addition to increased connectivity and frequency of flights. The airport has enhanced its parking facilities including increasing the number of parking stalls as well as installing the Indect Parking System which provides real-time parking availability onsite and online. The airport offers improved concessions to enhance the experience of flyers. Additionally, the entire campus has expanded with a new FedEx facility, the relocation of Des Moines Flying Service to make way for the new terminal and the new entrance road which is also part of new terminal programing. The Des Moines Airport Authority team has worked diligently to make travel to and from Iowa convenient and pleasurable while safety has remained their top priority.

Airport Projections

Passenger data is again trending in a positive direction following the pandemic. In September of 2020, less than 89,000 passengers traveled in and out of the airport. In September 2021, that number more than doubled to more than 197,000 passengers. The September 2021 numbers had nearly recovered to pre-pandemic activity. This is in alignment with projections of continued growth. Airport officials expect to pass the 3 million passenger threshold by 2024 or 2025, by which point the current terminal facility will exceed acceptable capacity for efficient operations.

The airport is a front door to our region for many travelers, which includes prospective residents. A strong, modernized airport is critical for our region’s growth, which is why the Greater Des Moines Partnership continues to work closely with Des Moines Airport Authority to advance efforts to build the new terminal. Recently, a group of Partnership volunteer leaders, including Brian Mulcahy, director of finance for Des Moines International Airport, joined Partnership team members on a trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the airport terminal expansion project as one of The Partnership’s featured federal policy priorities.

The young, diverse talent pool we are seeking to attract expects a modern airport design that is focused on providing a safe and comfortable travel experience. Business leaders interested in expanding or relocating their operations in DSM need an airport that will ensure smooth business travel. The new terminal will help address these needs.

Our region has continued to invest in major projects that will lead to future growth, including the Iowa Confluence (ICON) Water Trails, the Lauridsen Skatepark, the Pro Iowa Stadium and Global Plaza, the Des Moines Industrial Transloading Facility, the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex, the new Des Moines Buccaneers hockey arena and many more. The new terminal project is another on this list that will lead to growth in DSM, and we encourage business and organizational leaders to continue to advocate for this project. The Partnership will continue to work closely with the Airport Authority and team to secure federal, state and local funding for the project.

We have seen the service at Des Moines International Airport grow by impressive amounts in the past 10 years in terms of number of passengers served and number of flights and destinations. As we look forward to the next 10 years and beyond, our region will continue to grow. We must ensure our airport grows with it.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

Fred Buie

Fred Buie is president of Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company and serves as the Greater Des Moines Partnership's 2021 board chair.