Airport History

Established in 1928 with 1.02 acres of land. The first runway was what is now Taxiway Charley. The Airport expanded dramatically in January, 1958 when the John D. Winters’ family donated approximately 240 acres to the City to be used as an airport. This acreage comprises the approximate footprint of the main runway. Most areas were dirt and few if any services were available.

In the 1960’s, the Carson City Sheriff’s Aero Squadron paved and improved a portion of the ramp on the south side of the runway and has conducted operations from that location for over 40 years. The Airport is also used as a fire fighting base of operations for former military aircraft being operated under contract to the U.S. Forrest Service and the Nevada Division of Forestry. FBO’s, who had been operating on the Airport for many years began to expand during this period, offering a wide variety of services such as aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, flight instruction, and charter operations. As these activities increased, the Airport footprint began to grow as well. Today, it’s over twice its original size.

During the 1970’s, Carson City designated land north of the main runway as the Carson City Industrial Airpark and began offering low cost 99 year leases in order to attract clean, high quality manufacturing businesses to the area. These parcels were eventually sold, however, the “industrial airpark zone” remains to this day. Per NRS 844, two of the CCAA board members come from this zone.

Following the 1970’s and over the course of the last twenty to thirty years, Carson City and the CCAA have looked for ways to increase the economic viability of the Airport and to make it a more productive member of the tax base while, at the same time, improving safety and keeping the negatives associated with growth and development to a minimum. Today, this vision has evolved into a joint effort between Carson City and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In 2001, the FAA accepted the CCAA’s Master Plan for the Airport and agreed to provide approximately 95% of our funding through the Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP) over a phased, multi-year period. In 2009-2010, Carson City received well in excess of $9 million from the FAA to fund infrastructure  improvement programs such as construction of a new, lengthened and realigned main runway, associated taxiways, state-of-the-art weather reporting equipment, and many other upgrades. These improvements and additions not only dramatically enhance safety and operability, but act as catalyst for the Airport to provide a vastly more robust contribution to Carson City’s tax base.

The Carson City Airport is owned by Carson City and operated by the Carson City Airport Authority (CCAA). The CCAA was created by the legislature in 1989 and its board members are appointed by the Carson City Board of Supervisors to serve four year terms.  It’s members consist of one city official, one citizen-at-large, one pilot, two manufacturers, and two fixed base operators (FBO’s).

The Carson City Airport provides general aviation services to tenants and transient aircraft operators. The Carson City Airport is completely self-sustaining and retains one third of the tax revenue it generates from fuel flowage fees, personal property tax from aircraft and property taxes from hangars. The airport retains approximately 30% of the tax revenue generated and the remainder goes to Carson City to be used for education and public safety.

While boasting of the lowest fuel prices in the region, its enhanced and modernized infrastructure, and its close proximity to Lake Tahoe, Reno and other destinations, the Carson City Airport has securely been established as the “Heart of the Sierras”.