General Mitchell International Airport is located 8km south of the central business district of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is spread over an area of 2,180 acres.

The airport is owned and operated by Milwaukee County. It acts as a hub for AirTran Airways, Frontier Airlines, Freight Runners Express and Great Lakes Airlines. It handles about nine million passengers annually.

The airport was known as Hamilton Airport when it was first established in 1920. It was taken over by Milwaukee County in October 1926. In March 1941, it was renamed as General Mitchell Field in the honour of General Billy Mitchell who is regarded as the father of US Air Force.

The existing terminal was constructed in 1955. In the same year, three-concourse structures were built at a cost of $3.2m. In June 1986, the airport was officially renamed as General Mitchell International Airport.

There are plans to construct either a new terminal or expand the existing one in the future.

"The airport is owned and operated by Milwaukee County."

Master plan

The master plan adopted for the airport was drafted in 1993. In order to accommodate the growing passenger traffic at the airport, an updated master plan was proposed. The new 20 year master plan has envisioned expansions to several existing airport facilities.

The proposals in the update include improvements to two runways (7R-25L and 1L19R), extension of runway 7R, terminal modernisation, new air cargo facilities, expansion of the parking garage, construction of separate remote parking garages for employees and passengers, addition of new concourses F and G, and construction of new taxiways apart from several other airport maintenance works.

The master plan is proposed to be implemented through a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) in three phases between 2008 and 2022.

Expansion

The terminal expansion works at the airport started in 1984. In 1990, the parking was expanded by adding 2,250 spaces. In 1999, 16 gates were added to concourse D and a 425ft walkway was constructed from the concourse to gate area. The parking lot was expanded again in 2002 by adding 3,000 spaces.

In July 2007, 10 gates were added to concourse C and new ramp side boarding gates to concourse D were built.

The expansion of the runway safety area was started in 2009. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

In September 2010, the Transportation Security Administration has provided a grant of $20.3m towards construction of a new modernised baggage handling system.

Terminal

General Mitchell Airport has a single terminal building covering an area of 777,000ft². It is categorised into lower and upper levels. The lower level is dedicated to arrivals and departures. The upper level features concourses C, D and E which together feature 48 gates and 40 jet bridges.

Concourse C features an international arrival terminal of area approximately 5,000ft², an administrative building, and an airport satellite maintenance facility. It also has phone and fax facilities, parcel delivery services and postage stamp machines.

Concourse E accommodates corporate hangars, a maintenance building and a fire station. ATMs are situated near the entrance to concourse E.

Eateries and shopping outlets are located throughout the terminal. Baby care rooms are featured near the entrance to the walkway link towards the main car park. Information desks and business facilities are located on the upper level.

In August 2010, a new advanced imaging technology was installed at the terminal to screen metallic and non-metallic objects.

Runways

The airport has five runways designated 01L/19R, 01R/19L, 07L/25R, 07R/25L and 13/31. The runways are 2,954m, 1,275m, 1,463m, 2,442m and 1,789m-long respectively. All the runways are surfaced with asphalt and concrete.

Parking

The airport has a multi-storied car park covering an area of 35 acres. It offers 9,000 parking spaces consisting of short term or hourly and long term or daily parking.

"General Mitchell Airport has a single terminal building covering an area of 777,000ft²."

Surface and remote parking lots are located towards south of the parking facility. The surface and remote lots offer 699 and 1,750 parking spaces respectively. In October 2005, a short term cell phone waiting area with 15 spaces was opened inside the surface lot.

The parking area is connected to the main terminal through walkways. A space-control system indicates space availability in the parking lot.

Each floor of the parking is further categorised into three areas to help passengers find space for parking.

Parking facility for disabled passengers is also available. A shuttle service operates between the car parks and terminal building.

Ground transportation

There are numerous shuttles, taxis, limousines and buses operating to and from the airport. Public transportation is also available. An Amtrak railway station opened in 2005 provides services to passengers to reach the airport. Free shuttle buses operate between the train station and the baggage claim area.

Air traffic control

A 200ft control tower at the airport has been operational since 1986. It is located on the west of the parking facility and is operated by FAA.