The Works Progress Administration helped significantly in developing the facilities during the 1930s, and Charleston continued to run the airport until World War II.
The Charleston Airport Corporation formed in 1928 and opened a privately owned airport on August 10, 1929. In 1931 the city of Charleston arranged a $60,000 bond issue to purchase part of the property and further develop the airfield. The Works Progress Administration helped significantly in developing the facilities during the 1930s, and Charleston continued to run the airport until World War II.
In 1942 Charleston Municipal Airport became part of the nation’s defense system. The Army Air Corps maintained full control but permitted commercial flying. The army closed the base in 1946 and released its 2,050 acres and $13 million improvements back to the city. During the late 1940s the city got a new passenger terminal partly funded by a $240,000 grant from the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The terminal, the first in the Southeast to be modernized after World War II, opened in 1949.
The Korean War led to reactivation of the airport as a military air base. The city of Charleston and the U.S. Air Force agreed in 1952 on terms of control of the base and signed a new Joint Use Agreement in 1973 that transferred ownership of Charleston Municipal Airport to a newly formed airport authority. In 1979 Charleston County Aviation Airport Authority assumed control of the airport and expanded the civil aviation facilities. A 1,300-acre site adjoining the southern area was purchased from Georgia-Pacific Company for a new terminal complex that was opened in April 1985. The terminal included an international concourse to accommodate operations of the Military Airlift Command.