Duluth International Airport

Coordinates: 46°50′32″N 092°11′37″W / 46.84222°N 92.19361°W / 46.84222; -92.19361
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Duluth International Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Duluth, Minnesota
OperatorDuluth Airport Authority
ServesDuluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin (Twin Ports)
LocationSt Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Opened1930 (1930)
Elevation AMSL1,428 ft / 435 m
Coordinates46°50′32″N 092°11′37″W / 46.84222°N 92.19361°W / 46.84222; -92.19361
Public transit accessBus transport Duluth Transit Authority
DLH is located in Minnesota
Location of the airport in Minnesota
DLH is located in the United States
DLH (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 10,591 3,228 Concrete
3/21 5,719 1,743 Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Total passengers (2021)219,579
Aircraft operations61,302
Based aircraft89
Sources: Airport website,[1] FAA[2]
For the United States Air Force use of this facility, see Duluth Air National Guard Base.

Duluth International Airport (IATA: DLH, ICAO: KDLH, FAA LID: DLH) is a city-owned public-use joint civil-military airport located five nautical miles (9 km) northwest of the central business district of Duluth, a city in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States.[2] It serves the Twin Ports area, including Superior, Wisconsin. Mostly used for general aviation but also served by three airlines, it is Minnesota's third-busiest airport, behind Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Rochester International Airport.[3]

The Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing, equipped with F-16C Fighting Falcons, is based at Duluth Air National Guard Base, which is located on the grounds of the airport. Aircraft manufacturing company Cirrus is also based on the airport grounds, where it has its main manufacturing facility and headquarters.


The City of Duluth purchased the original property for the airport in 1929 from Saint Louis County. The airport was constructed on 640 acres (2.6 km2) of land with two 2,650-foot (810 m) sod runways. In 1930, the airfield was dedicated as Williamson–Johnson Municipal Airport.

In 1940, Northwest Airlines began the first regularly scheduled air service to Duluth. Two years later, operations were temporarily halted by World War II.[4]

In 1942, three runways were paved. Each runway was 4,000 feet (1,200 m) long, 150 feet (46 m) wide, and at nearly equal angles from each other, 30, 90, and 130 degrees. They were identified as runways 3–21, 9–27, and 13–31, respectively. The Corps of Engineers extended Runways 9–27 and 3–21 to 5,699 feet (1,737 m) in 1945. In 1951, the USAF extended Runway 9–27 to 9,000 feet (2,700 m) with a 1,000-foot (300 m) overrun and the control tower was built. Runway 9–27 was rebuilt in 1956 and extended in 1966 to 10,152 feet (3,094 m) in length.

The original terminal building was built in 1954, south of Runway 9–27 and west of Runway 3–21. The terminal floor area was 14,200 square feet (1,320 m2) with 280 parking spaces. It would serve the airport for nearly 20 years.

In 1961, the Duluth Airport Authority Board renamed the facility Duluth International Airport.

In 1973, a new Terminal Building and U.S. Customs, International Arrivals Building, were completed east of Runway 13–31 and opened for operation. Runway 13–31 was shortened to 2,578 feet (786 m) to accommodate construction of an addition to the International Arrivals building. This resulted in Runway 13–31 being closed as a runway due to obstructions. Runway 13–31 was re-striped in 1980, decreasing its width to 75 feet (23 m), for use as a taxiway. In 1989, the newer terminal building and the adjacent structures were connected to form one enclosure. The original terminal building was then converted for use as offices for general aviation, the FAA, and the U.S. Weather Bureau.

Since 2001, Minnesota's largest airshow, the Duluth Air & Aviation Expo, takes place each year on the grounds of Duluth International Airport.[5]

In 2013, a new passenger terminal was built directly in front of the 1973 terminal (with the 1973 terminal building having its last flight take place on January 13, 2013). This new building solved several problems of the previous terminal building, including that the tails of parked airplanes extended too close to the runway due to FAA airspace changes made after the building's completion. This terminal building has restrooms and concessions beyond the TSA security checkpoint, something the previous terminal lost when screening processes were put in place after 9/11. The first flight to leave the new terminal was on January 14: United Express Flight 5292 to Chicago O'Hare.

On October 30, 2015, the new terminal was named for the late U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar, who represented the congressional district in which the airport lies from 1975 to 2011 and helped secure funding for the facility before its 2013 opening.[6][7]

A 370-stall parking ramp with skywalk connection to the terminal was completed in fall 2014.[8]

On May 23, 2019, American Airlines began twice-daily service to Chicago O'Hare International Airport.[9] American ceased operations into Duluth in April 2020, citing lackluster demand.[10]

In 2020, the airport received a $5,246,844 federal grant via the CARES Act.[11][12]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Duluth International Airport covers an area of 3,020 acres (1,220 ha) at an elevation of 1,428 feet (435 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways: 9/27 is 10,591 by 150 feet (3,228 m × 46 m) with a concrete surface and 3/21 is 5,719 by 150 feet (1,743 m × 46 m) with an asphalt surface.[2]

For the year ending December 31, 2022, the airport had 61,302 aircraft operations, an average of 168 per day: 78% general aviation, 7% military, 11% air taxi and 3% scheduled commercial. At that time, there were 89 aircraft based at this airport: 49 single-engine, 10 multi-engine, 4 jet, 4 helicopter and 22 military.[2]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Delta Air Lines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Minneapolis/St. Paul[13]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Fort Myers, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [14]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare[15]

Ground transportation[edit]

The Duluth Transit Authority operates two bus routes from the airport, including Route 8 on weekdays and Route 5 on weekends.[16]


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from DLH
(December 2021 - November 2022)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Minnesota Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota 74,000 Delta
2 Illinois Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 35,000 United
3 Florida Fort Myers, Florida 5,000 Sun Country
3 Arizona Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona 5,000 Sun Country


  • On May 31, 1954, a USAF Douglas C-47 crashed in a gravel pit in heavy fog at then Duluth-Williamson-Johnson Municipal Airport. Eleven of the 14 occupants on board were killed.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Airline Statistics + Airport Financials". July 10, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for DLH PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. effective September 7, 2023.
  3. ^ "OST_R | BTS | Transtats". www.transtats.bts.gov.
  4. ^ "About". July 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "U.S. Navy Blue Angels | Show Information".
  6. ^ http://duluthairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/for-media-distribution-Oberstar-PR-for-dedication-2-3.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ "News | Duluth News Tribune". Archived from the original on January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Renalls, Candace (January 2, 2018). "Duluth airport's new parking garage opens Friday". www.duluthnewstribune.com.
  9. ^ Jan 23rd 2019 - 5pm, Adelie Bergstrom | (January 23, 2019). "American Airlines comes to Duluth with nonstop service to Chicago". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved June 17, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "American Airlines ending its Duluth-Chicago flights". MPR News. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  11. ^ Uren, Adam (April 15, 2020). "97 Minnesota airports receive federal bailout cash, here's how much they got". Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces $10 Billion in Relief for America's Airports". April 14, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  13. ^ "Delta Route Map". Delta Air Lines. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  14. ^ Painter, Kristen. "Sun Country adds 18 new routes, expanding just as some pandemic vouchers near expiration". Star Tribune. Star Tribune. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  15. ^ "United Route Timetables". United Airlines. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "Bus Service". Duluth International Airport. July 14, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  17. ^ "Duluth, MN: Duluth International (DLH)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  18. ^ Accident description for 43-48097 at the Aviation Safety Network

External links[edit]

Media related to Duluth International Airport at Wikimedia Commons