Columbia Metropolitan Airport

1940 –

During World War II, the U.S. War Department acquired the Lexington County field and expanded runways, hangars, roads, and buildings. In early 1942 the heralded Doolittle Raiders trained at the base for their carrier-based raid on Tokyo. After the war, the field reverted to peacetime use and airline operations were moved there from Owens Field.

The airport, which serves Midlands South Carolina, is located on a small knoll in Lexington County at an elevation of 235 feet. The Lexington County Airport, a landing area, was established at the site about 1940. Prior to World War II, passenger flights in Columbia used Owens Field, which was first served by Eastern Airlines in 1932. During World War II, the U.S. War Department acquired the Lexington County field and expanded runways, hangars, roads, and buildings. In early 1942 the heralded Doolittle Raiders trained at the base for their carrier-based raid on Tokyo.

After the war, the field reverted to peacetime use and airline operations were moved there from Owens Field. The city of Columbia established a terminal, which burned but was quickly replaced. A new terminal was opened in 1965 and underwent a $50 million renovation in 1997. Since 1962 the Richland-Lexington Airport District has operated the airport. The governing board was the twelve-member Richland-Lexington Airport Commission, which represented a breakthrough in relations between often-hostile Lexington and Richland Counties. Members represent both counties and the city of Columbia. In 2004 the airport had a 108-acre foreign-trade (duty-free) zone and served more than 1.2 million passengers annually.

Maxey, Russell. Airports of Columbia: A History in Photographs & Headlines. Columbia, S.C.: Palmetto Publishing, 1987.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Columbia Metropolitan Airport
  • Coverage 1940 –
  • Author
  • Keywords Midlands, Lexington county, Doolittle Raiders, Owens Field
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date September 17, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 11, 2016
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