Flight Blog

Our airport’s “new” terminal is almost 10 years old. It opened May 6, 2009.

Depending on your point of view, it seems like yesterday, or ages ago. Either way, the building isn’t that “new” anymore and things have changed a lot in the past ten years.

That being said, it's a good time to begin looking backwards and forwards. Over the next five weeks we’ll share photos of the airport’s historic terminals, along with the current one.

You’ll notice that there’s a constant at the airport: change. As our first director, Lester Jones, put it, “There are two kinds of airports: obsolete and those under construction.”

Begin at 5000 West Kearney Street — the location of the airport’s first and second terminal buildings.

The first photo shows the airport's first terminal building in July 1945. That’s the month the airport opened. The white frame colonial style building was meant to be temporary, but it served for 19 years! Notice how quickly it changed. Additions and annexes popped up, then a control tower, quickly followed by a radar tower.

The last photo foretells big changes. That’s Lester Jones in the middle, the airport’s first director. It’s November 1961. We’re not sure, but the trio appears to be looking at site plans for the second terminal. But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. That will have to wait until the next post!

The airport's first terminal in July 1945. Click for a bigger version.


Wildlife control in 1951. The first terminal is in the background. Click image
to see bigger version.


The airport's first terminal seen here in the 1950s. Click for bigger version.


Troop movements in the 1950s. Click image to bigger version.


Radar equipment being installed in the 1950s. Click for bigger version.


The first terminal in 1958, seen from an arriving airliner. Click for bigger version.



The first terminal, 1958. Click for bigger version.


The first terminal seen here in 1958. Check out the 23 window VW bus! Click image for 
bigger version.


November 1961. The airport's first director, Lester Jones, stands in the middle.





The federal government shutdown hasn’t had a significant impact on security checkpoint wait times at our airport — not yet.

In the past few days, the folks who run airport checkpoints (TSA) report that about 7% of the national work force hasn’t shown up for work. Compare that to 3% last year. Presumably, the uptick is due to workers not showing up because they’re not being paid.

With twice as many workers absent it seems logical that checkpoint wait times should go up dramatically. But so far, they really haven’t. Why? Probably this: at most North American airports January is the slowest month of the year. When I say slow, I mean fewer people are flying.



At our airport January passengers numbers are less than half what they are during the busiest month of the year, which is June.

Bottom line: we haven’t seen checkpoint slowdowns yet because it’s the slowest time of the year.

This doesn’t mean long lines won’t eventually form; it’s a matter of time. How long will the shutdown last — will it run into the busy time of the year? How long will TSA employees show up without a pay check? How long can they afford to show up?

Think about all that if you’re flying during the shutdown. Take a long look at the TSA folks in the checkpoint. And thank them.

And think about the workers at the Federal Aviation Administration. They staff the control towers at airports; they direct air traffic in the sky.

And let’s not forget the National Weather Service. Its weather forecasts help guide pilots through weather’s uncertainty.

And finally …

If you know a federal worker make sure they know about a loan program announced on Monday by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Multipli Credit Union. Federal workers who live or work in Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk and Webster counties are eligible for the loan program.

Click here for more information about the loan program.


Sometime this week the 1-millionth passenger of the year will use the Springfield Airport. It’s the first time in history that that many people have used the airport is a single year. Civic leaders and airport customers gathered at the airport Thursday morning to celebrate.

While we don’t know with absolute certainty that the millionth passenger of the year was here today, we know we're pretty close. The math department at Missouri State University did a statistical analysis. They narrowed it down to this week; then we picked a day to celebrate. We want to thank the community for making this day possible!


Members of the media photograph the flight arriving with the millionth passenger.


A million passengers a year is a milestone not only for the airport, but for the community. It’s a symptom of a growing region, and a strong local economy — since 2013 our passenger numbers have grown 40%.

Nationwide, air passenger growth will increase about 5.5% in 2018. Here in Springfield we'll be almost double that rate. By year's end we expect the total passenger count to be in the neighborhood of 1,063,000. We want to thank everyone for flying Springfield!

Who is the millionth passenger? We don't know for sure, but it's likely one of these people getting off American Airlines 3887.