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MBS International Airport

MBS International Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Bay County, Michigan, Midland, Michigan, Saginaw, Michigan
Serves Saginaw, Michigan
Midland, Michigan
Bay City, Michigan
Location Freeland, MI
Elevation AMSL 668 ft / 204 m
MBS is located in Michigan
Location of KMBS
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 8,002 2,439 Asphalt
14/32 6,400 1,951 Asphalt
Total enplanements 120,689 (2,013)
Aircraft operations (2014) 22,291
Based aircraft (2015) 27 (13 single-engine, five multi-engine, nine jet-engine)
Sources: FAA,[1] Michigan DOT[2]

MBS International Airport (ICAO: KMBSFAA LID: MBS) is located in Freeland, Michigan, serving the nearby cities of Midland, Bay City, and Saginaw. It was formerly named Tri City Airport or Freeland Tri-City Airport. The airport was renamed MBS International Airport in 1994 (representative of its IATA airport code) to prevent confusion with other airports named "Tri City Airport" across the United States.

The commercial airport is a special municipal body owned by Bay County and the cities of Midland and Saginaw. The airport's name is an initialism formed from the names of these three communities and it is governed by a nine-member commission made up of three members from each of them.


  • Facilities 1
  • History 2
    • Former Airline Service 2.1
  • Current Operations 3
  • Airlines and Destination 4
  • Top domestic destinations 5
  • Accidents and Incidents 6
  • See Also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


MBS International Airport covers 3,200 acres (13 km2) and has two runways:

  • Runway 5/23: 8,002 ft × 150 ft (2,439 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 14/32: 6,400 ft × 150 ft (1,951 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2012, the airport had 25,810 aircraft operations (down from 28,162 in 2010 and 50,254 in 2006), an average of 71 per day: 62% general aviation, 35% air taxi, 1% scheduled commercial, and 2% military. There are 25 aircraft based at this airport: 36% single-engine, 20% multi-engine, and 44% jet.[1]


Current Terminal boarding concourse

During World War II, it was used to hold prisoners of war. Civilian control of the airport resumed in the mid-1940s.

The current terminal on the north side of the air field opened on October 31, 2012. The 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) terminal, which replaced an older terminal on the west side of the air field, was designed by RS&H and cost $55 million.[3] The Airport Commission approved plans for the construction of the state-of-the-art passenger terminal in 2006, with construction beginning in 2008. Airport officials hope the terminal will bring more airlines and more competition to MBS.[4]

Richard M. Nixon made a speech at the airport and arrived to give endorsement to James Sparling, a Congressional candidate).

Former Airline Service

Ticketing Area of the former terminal

The 1980s and 1990s saw a lot of growth at MBS. During this time, airline service expanded and many airlines began serving MBS.

Current Operations

Once the third busiest airport in Michigan, MBS has fallen in air service and passenger numbers. One major reason for this is the low-cost competition at nearby Bishop International Airport in Flint, which offers more flights to more destinations and often cheaper fares.

Air Wisconsin runs ground services for United Express.

Until October 1, 2009, Mesaba Airlines ran ground services for Delta Connection.

Compass Airlines, Comair, and Mesaba Airlines ground handling merged into one service called Regional Elite Airline Services. Regional Elite is 100% owned by Delta Air Lines.

DAL Global Services operates ground handling duties for Delta and Delta Connection at MBS.

Airlines and Destination

Airlines Destinations
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seasonal: Atlanta[5]
United Express Chicago-O'Hare

Top domestic destinations

Busiest domestic routes from MBS (Aug 2014 - Jul 2015)[6]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Detroit, Michigan 69,000 Delta Connection
2 Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois 39,000 United Express
3 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 12,000 Delta Connection
4 Atlanta, Georgia 1,000 Delta Connection

Accidents and Incidents

  • On April 6, 1958, Vickers Viscount N7437, operating Capital Airlines Flight 67, stalled and crashed on approach. All 47 on board were killed. The cause was attributed to ice accretion on the horizontal stabilizer.[7]

See Also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for MBS (Form 5010 PDF), effective December 12, 2013
  2. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation. Measures of Michigan Air Carrier Demand,, Retrieved January 24, 2014
  3. ^ Lynch-Morin, Kathryn. By the numbers: New MBS International Airport passenger terminal, The Saginaw News via MLive, October 26, 2012
  4. ^ Stanton, Ryan J. Plans reach high with federal funds, The Bay City Times via MLive, December 26, 2007
  5. ^ Delta beginning non-stop service from MBS to Atlanta, Midland Daily News, November 24, 2013, retrieved November 25, 2013
  6. ^ cite web |title=Saginaw/Bay City/Midland International (MBS) Summary Statistics|url= City/Midland, MI: MBS International&carrier=FACTS
  7. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics
  • Resources for this airport:
    • AirNav airport information for KMBS
    • ASN accident history for MBS
    • FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KMBS
    • FAA current MBS delay information
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