The Airport: 1940-Present

Harris Field was dedicated in December 1942. There were eight barracks, a headquarters building a mess hall, PX and infirmary, as well as athletic facilities and an obstacle course to keep cadets fit. Used as a primary training base, 2,500 pilots learned to fly there. It was closed March 16, 1944.

Sept. 1940: Consolidated School of Aviation opens with three airplanes on the Barrett Cotner Farm off Highway 74.

July 15, 1942: Consolidated School of Aviation becomes a military aviation training school serving the U.S. Army and Navy. It is off Highway 74 at what becomes known as Harris Field.

Jan. 31, 1947: Harris Field is transferred to the city of Cape Girardeau by the War Assets Administration. Voters will approve a $115,000 bond issue for the development of Harris Field as a municipal airport.

June 5, 1950: William J. Kies sells Consolidated School of Aviation to John T. Seesing, John E. Godwin Jr. and James Schumacher. Name is changed to Cape Central Airways.

Jan. 9,1951: Ozark Air Lines begin first passenger air service at Cape Girardeau Airport.

Nov. 25, 1956: Early morning fire razes flight control building, destroying the office and communication operations at Cape Central Airways and Ozark Air Lines.

June 1960: The first Cape Girardeau Aviation Day is held with an open house to show off new airport terminal building.

April 5, 1965: A 50-foot radio antenna is installed to help extend the range of Cape Girardeau's Federal Aviation Agency's Flight Weather Station.

July 1, 1966: FAA approves $891,000 in federal matching funds to extend the runway to 6,500 feet long and 150 feet wide.

July 15, 1966: Lightning strike ignites World War II-era hangar at the airport, destroying eight planes and causing more than $100,000 in damage.

June 10, 1968: U.S. Navy's Blue Angels make first appearance in Cape Girardeau.

Dec. 15, 1970: U.S. House of Representatives approves bill authorizing expenditure of $216,500 for a new instrument landing system at the airport to aid pilots.

July 15, 1971: Lightning strikes another World War II-era hangar, resulting in the structure's collapse and an estimated $500,000 in losses and damage.

Jan. 5, 1973: Ozark Airlines provides security guards at airport to check passengers and their luggage in an attempt to guard against hijackings.

Feb. 27, 1977: This month marks the ninth year that Auction-Air Inc., owned by George Meikle, has operated at the airport. During this time, the company has sold 9,226 aircrafts.

March 19 1980: The last of four hangars built as part of Harris Field is demolished, leaving only one of the airfield's original 40 buildings still standing.

Aug. 3, 1981: Air traffic controllers join in nationwide strike, forcing the closure of the FAA control tower at the Cape Girardeau airport. The control tower did not reopen under the FAA until January 1985.

Aug. 4, 1989: Mark Seesing is named Cape Girardeau's first full-time airport manager. Seesing, 30, was chosen from 24 applicants.

Dec. 17, 1989: City takes over operation of the air traffic control tower.

Feb. 14, 1992: It's moving day for the remaining tenants of the airport terminal building as the city prepares for a $1.1 million renovation of the facility.

May 9, 1992: Crowds estimated between 30,000 and 35,000 attend Aviation Days at the airport, which included the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

July 23, 1993: The first Balloon Fest brings 35 hot air balloons to Cape Girardeau for three days of competition, displays and rides.

April 28, 1997: The first skydiving club is formed at the airport, with about 20 members.

Jan. 17, 1999: The airport enjoys a banner year in 1998 with record 11,745 passengers boarding. This topped the previous passenger record set in 1987.

Sept. 13, 2001: Airport manager Bruce Loy said operations will now resume after the FAA grounded all air service nationwide on Sept. 11, after two planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York and a third plane crashed into the Pentagon.

May 21, 2004: The U.S. Department of Transportation provided a $1.8 million grant to the airport for runway and taxiway improvements.

Dec. 17, 2007: Lack of passenger air service all summer hurt airport's income along with a disappointing turnout for the annual air festival. The airport showed a negative $53,604 during the first quarter of the city's fiscal year.

July 4, 2008: The first combined Libertyfest and air show is considered a success. The event featured U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, music and fireworks.

Sept. 15, 2009: Cape Air, the Massachusetts-based airline, is selected by the city council to provide passenger service at the airport. Company promises $50 fares and four flights daily to St. Louis. Service begins in November.

Jan. 22, 2010: A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held to welcome Cape Air commercial passenger service to the airport. In 72 days of operation, Cape Air has flown 633 passengers.

June 18, 2010: Six U.S. Navy Blue Angels arrived at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport on Thursday in preparation for their first performance at the Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival in 18 years.

Sept. 23, 2011: Electric-powered cars ranging from a Ford Ranger pickup truck to a Porsche compete at the Airport as part of the first Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention.

Oct. 25, 2013: Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center of St. Louis has added a dedicated pediatric air ambulance at its Cape Girardeau transport base.

May 17, 2014: American-Canadian camaraderie is strong at the Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival, where a crowd of 12,000 to 15,000 watches an afternoon of fancy flying capped by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds' nine synchronized pilots in red-and-white CT-114 Tutor jets.

July 1, 2015: The airport advisory board selects Cape Air as its first choice to provide commercial flights at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport for the next two years.

Dec. 1, 2017: Cape Girardeau enters the jet age with commercial passenger service to Chicago. Utah-based SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Express, begins round-trip passenger flights.

Nov. 5, 2918: Air Force One touches down at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport just before 8:30 p.m., bringing President Donald Trump to Cape Girardeau for a Republican Rally.

Jan. 7, 2019: Cape Girardeau airport officials celebrate the start of seven additional United Express round-trip flights weekly to Chicago. Airport manager Bruce Loy calls it "an amazing day."

Nov. 13, 2019: The Cape Girardeau Regional Airport has drawn more than 10,000 passenger boardings this calendar year, opening the door to another $1 million in federal funding for the airport, city officials say. The 10,000-boardings threshold was reached the week before for the first time in more than two decades.