Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit City Airport

Detroit City Airport, now known as Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport, was the region’s primary airport for over 20 years. In 1922, city officials conducted a search for an airport site, eventually settling on a 263-acre location near Conner Creek on the city’s east side. Five years later, the Detroit City Airport Terminal was formally dedicated, with the first aircraft landing at the airport on October 14, 1927. In 1929, the first hangar was erected and by the 1930s Detroit City Airport was the premiere airport in the Detroit area. It remained Detroit’s primary airport until 1947 when almost all airlines transitioned their flights to Willow Run Airport, followed by Wayne County Metropolitan Airport. Detroit City Airport transitioned into a center of pilot training and one of the most concentrated locations for private and corporate aviation in the country, though it still maintained some commercial flights until 2000.

Because of the airport’s location next to Gethsemane Cemetery, the City of Detroit was unable to add a runway safety zone to accommodate larger aircraft, causing the remaining airlines to discontinue all commercial flights. Since 2000, the City of Detroit has discontinued staffing the fire station at the airport, has not invested in major improvements to the buildings, and has not offered long-term leases to corporate aviation companies. Options regarding the airport’s future range from investment to closure.

Detroit City Airport remains home to many private and corporate jets. The airport saw an almost 40% increase in usage in 2017 with the increase in business downtown and the opening of Little Caesar’s Arena.



Detroit City Airport photograph, 1972

Detroit City Airport photo, 1937 - 2012.022.019

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