The Eastern Iowa Airport serves the counties of Eastern Iowa and the surrounding Midwest region. The airport is located just south of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is part of the Wright Brothers Business Park, named after Orville and Wilbur Wright, the two brothers famous for inventing and building the world's first successful airplane. It is said they were inspired to soar to lofty heights because their father gave them a mechanical helicopter toy when they were young boys. They were living in the Cedar Rapids area at the time, and the locals have not forgotten their connection with the pioneers of flight. There are several roads and businesses in the area named for the brothers, including this large industrial, transportation, and aviation center that contains the Eastern Iowa Airport.
Flights on the property began in the 1920s, when an aviator named Dan Hunter opened a private charter service and offered pilot training. By 1928, Hunter's landing field was being used for official airmail. As the airport grew and its business expanded, the field was no longer suitable, and construction began on a new and larger airport. It was around this time that the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor and thrust into World War II. The military turned part of its focus to building airports to support the war efforts, and construction on the new airport was completed in 1944. Although the military funded the construction, the airport was never used for the war. Instead, it was opened for commercial passenger air service in 1947. The airport was originally named the Cedar Rapids Municipal Airport. It still operates in the same location today, but the name was changed to Eastern Iowa Airport in 1997, a decision that reflected the growing popularity of the airport and its expanding market.
Initially, the airport only offered travel on routes from east to west and vice-versa, but eventually more airlines started service to and from Cedar Rapids, which allowed north-south routes to begin in 1957. The airport has since grown into a multi-million dollar operation, serving over 850,000 passengers per year. Part of the airport's success is due to its central location in the heart of the United States. A full third of the U.S. population can fly to Cedar Rapids within an hour.
The airport has one terminal, which was dedicated in 1986 and serves over 2000 passengers per day. The terminal has two levels with gates located on both the upper and lower level. Restaurants, retail stores, an arcade, and a business center can be accessed by passengers on the lower level.
A short-term lot is available for parking adjacent to the terminal, and valet service and skycaps are on hand to assist travelers. There is no need to travel to an off-site location for long-term parking. The long-term parking lot is just behind the short-term lot and within minutes of the terminal.
The airport functions with two commercial service runways. One is 8600 feet, and the other is 6200 feet. In addition, the airport and business park are home to several T-Hangars available for rental. These T-Hangars are very popular with smaller aircraft, making Eastern Iowa Airport the largest general aviation airport in the state of Iowa.