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Southeastern Wisconsin's commercial and general aviation airports connect the Region to other parts of the country and to the rest of the world. These airports help support the Region's economy by accommodating business and leisure travelers, as well as facilitating the movement of air cargo. Although the Commission does not directly engage in aviation planning, VISION 2050's surface transportation system recommendations are designed to facilitate the movement of people and goods to and from the Region's various airports. The Commission does, on occasion, assist in aviation-related planning efforts, such as Aerotropolis Milwaukee, and the Commission monitors aviation activity in the Region, as shown in the charts provided below.


There are ten public-use airports currently operating in Southeastern Wisconsin, with Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport being by far the largest airport. The primary agency responsible for planning support to these airports is the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which has prepared Wisconsin State Airport System Plan 2030. This plan includes a map of all the public-use airports in the State.



Air Carrier Enplaning and Deplaning Passengers at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport: 2004-2019

The number of passengers flying to and from Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport increased by 48% between 2004 and 2010. This increase was largely driven by increased service offered by Midwest Airlines and Airtran, and the arrival of Southwest Airlines, which began serving the airport in 2010.


The number of passengers then decreased by 34% between 2010 and 2013. This decline was largely driven by airlines cutting service in response to high fuel costs and the economic recession that occurred during the late 2000s, as well as a significant reduction in service offered by Midwest Airlines, which merged with Frontier Airlines in 2010.


Since 2013, the number of passengers has slowly increased by about 6%.

Milwaukee County, WisDOT, and SEWRPC

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Air Carrier and Military Aircraft Operations at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport: 2004-2019

Source: Milwaukee County, WisDOT, and SEWRPC

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Annual scheduled air carrier and military aircraft operations (aircraft takeoffs and landings) at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport declined by 18% between 2004 and 2009, largely due to airlines operating more efficiently in response to rising fuel prices.

Commercial aircraft operations spiked in 2010 as Airtran added the airport as a second hub, and Southwest Airlines began serving the airport. Commercial airline operations then declined by 43% between 2010 and 2014 as airlines continued to cut service in response to high fuel prices. In particular, Midwest Airlines reduced service to Milwaukee in 2010 and 2011 following its merger with Frontier Airlines.

The 128th Air Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard (128th ARW) operates out of Milwaukee MItchell International Airport. The 128th ARW conducts a range of missions in support of military and disaster response activities.

General Aviation Aircraft Operations at Airports in Southeastern Wisconsin with Control Towers: 2004-2019

Four airports in the Region have Federally sponsored control towers that allow general aviation operations to be tracked. Between 2004 and 2017, the total annual number of general aviation aircraft operations at those four airports declined by 54%.


Between 2017 and 2019, the total number of general aviation aircraft operations increased by 27%, largely due to a 41% increase in general aviation operations at Kenosha Regional Airport.

Source: Milwaukee County, WisDOT, and SEWRPC

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