Transportation Planning Board

Air Service

The Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) in Madison is the second largest airport in the state, providing service to commercial air passenger and air cargo carriers, and for general aviation and the military. The airport is served by four commercial air carriers with close to 100 scheduled departures and arrivals per day, and by one air freight airline. Non-stop service is provided to 13 major destinations:  Chicago (O’Hare), Minneapolis-St. Paul, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Salt Lake City, New York (LaGuardia), Newark, Washington, D.C., Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, and Orlando.

Airport Photo

There were around 82,800 aircraft landing and take-off operations (55% general aviation, 38% commercial, 7% military) in 2012, a decrease of 0.6% compared to 2011. In 2012, commercial aircraft movements and general aviation movements decreased 3.5% and 0.6%, respectively, while military aircraft activity increased 19%. 


The total number of passengers using the airport in 2012 was 1.62 million, a 6.3 % increase from 2011. The number of passengers peaked in 2004 at 1.68 million and decreased each year until 2009. The decrease in passengers from 2005 to 2008 was due in part to fluctuating fuel prices and the reduction of available seats by airlines. In 2009 there were several mergers and changes in airlines that led to changes in service and available seats. 14.16 million pounds of cargo (freight) were shipped from the airport in 2011, a 5% increase from 2011. 10.54 million pounds of cargo were delivered to the airport, an increase of 2.2% from 2011.

The DCRA has the capability for expanding ground facilities to accommodate growth of air cargo operations to meet potential future needs. Recent and ongoing improvements to the airport’s runways and taxiways serve not only air passenger growth, but air cargo carriers as well.


A major terminal expansion and remodeling project was completed in 2005. A new three-level parking ramp was completed in 2008 that added nearly 1,300 spaces, increasing the capacity to 4,450. A 2,000 square foot exit plaza and parking administration building were also added in early 2009. The airfield ramp areas at the north and south ends of the terminal were expanded in 2009 to allow for better aircraft maneuvering and to increase the size of the overnight aircraft parking area from 14 spaces to 21 spaces. This also allows the airport to accept more diverted aircraft when necessary. The airport also constructed a "mobile phone lot" just south of the terminal in 2009. This allows drivers who are picking up passengers at the terminal building to park temporarily and wait for a call from the person they are meeting and then proceed to the terminal curbside. In 2011, in-seat power stations that can accommodate power cords and USB cables were added to the upper concourse to allow passengers to power phones and computers before their flights.

Direct Metro bus service to the airport is provided from the North Transfer Point with 30-minute service on weekdays and 60-minute service on weekends and holidays.  

In addition to the DCRA, the county is served by the City of Middleton Airport and Blackhawk Airfield in the Village of Cottage Grove. Both are general aviation airports serving smaller aircraft used for business and charter flying and for personal reasons.