Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport drops ‘General’
Over 7 million passengers in 2018

By Freeman Staff

Feb. 6, 2019

General Mitchell International Airport dropped 'General' from its name and added Milwaukee on Monday, making the airport hub now called Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.'
File photo

MILWAUKEE — To be more reflective of its geographical location, General Mitchell International Airport dropped “General” from its name and added “Milwaukee” on Monday, making the airport hub now called Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

For the third time since the airport was started in 1919, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport had more than 7 million passengers in 2018.

A total of 7,097,627 people chose MKE airport in 2018, compared to 6,904,670 in 2017, which is a 2.8 percent increase.

MKE offers nonstop flight to more than 40 destinations and 160 international destinations with just one connection. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee county executive and the County Board of Supervisors.

When the airport opened in 1919, it was called Butler Airport and was located where James Currie Park and Golf Course are now located. Later it was renamed Milwaukee County Airport, and then in 1941, the name was changed to General Mitchell Field after Milwaukee’s military aviation advocate, Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell. The word “international” was added in 1986.

General William Mitchell was born to a prominent Milwaukee family on Dec. 29, 1879. He enlisted in the military at the start of the Spanish-American War in 1898 and rose through the ranks.

According to history posted on the airport’s website, Mitchell recognized the importance of aviation in war when Europe was in the first World War in 1916. Mitchell learned how to fly at his own expense and was promoted to major and was appointed the head of the Army’s aviation section. He was then sent to Europe, where he became a leader in establishing a United States aviation force. Mitchell was promoted again, this time to the rank of colonel, and was appointed chief of Air Service of the First Army. In the Battle of St. Mihiel, he was given command of more than 1,500 British, French, and American aircraft units, which was the largest air force ever assembled to that date. For Mitchell’s action, he was promoted to brigadier general and made chief of Air Service of the Group of Armies, the top aviation command.