On February 13, 1942, the development of the Rock County Airport was approved by Washington D.C.
The Rock County Airport opened with three paved lighted runways at an initial cost of $800,000.
Scheduled air service began and was provided by Wisconsin Central Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Wisconsin Central Airlines provided passenger service and Northwest Airlines hauled freight. Parker Pen and Freeman Shoes were two of the first customers.
In May of 1954 Charles Lindberg visits to inspect the airport as a possible location for the U.S. Air Force Academy.
In August the Airport Terminal Building was completed at a cost of $150,000
In the fall of 1965 construction started on the Airport Control Tower. The tower was built by the federal government on the north side of the airport at a cost of $350,000. The tower was commissioned in 1966.
In August of 1989, the federal government informs Rock County that they will no longer subsidize air service, and Apex Airlines suspends their operations. As a result, commercial passenger service at the airport comes to an end.
In September, the first annual Southern Wisconsin AirFEST was held at the Airport as a tribute to honor the victims of 9 /11 terrorist attacks.
June: Aviation Golf Services opens Glen Erin Golf Club on the Airport's property, just South of the Airport Road. The golf course offers an 18-hole links style setting, complete with a driving range, pro shop and a restaurant.
July: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to open the newly extended and reconstructed Runway 14/32.
Project Cost was $13.7 Million and it included the following improvements:
- Extended from 5,400’ to 7,300’
- Changed from Asphalt to Concrete
- Installed Instrument Landing system
- Increased load bearing from 110,000 lbs. to 585,000 lbs (dual tandem)
September: Rock County Airport changes its name to Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport to more accurately reflect the types of extended aviation and business markets currently served by the airport.
Air Force One carrying President Bush lands at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.
Southern WI Regional Airport was awarded funds from the WI Department of Transportation for various engineering / construction related work, as well as to offset the cost of a new runway de-icing vehicle.
Advisory, Planning & Technical Committees were established to update the Airport Land Use & Zoning Ordinances. The work of these Committees was timely, as the Airport was officially annexed into the City of Janesville.
The County of Rock adopts the Airport Overlay Zoning District (AOZD), which was the product of the committees that were appointed two years earlier.
A portfolio of Southern WI Regional Airport collateral materials was developed, anchored by a video and a new web site.
The County of Rock updated the Airport's Rules & Regulations, as well as its Minimum Standards.
The Airport broke ground on its $3.2 Million terminal building renovation, which marks the beginning of four interrelated development projects to modernize, enlarge and increase the functionality and efficiencies of the 50-year old General Aviation terminal.
Three of the four terminal building projects were completed.
The fourth and final terminal building project was finished.
The Rock County Board of Supervisors approves the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to study the future of the Airport and make recommendations regarding its management and operations. The Committee will dissolve upon the submission of its report to the Board of Supervisors by August 2018.
The Ad Hoc Committee prepares and presents its report to the County Board of Supervisors. A number of key recommendations, including a new management and governing structure, were included in the Committee's report. This new structure will be lead by the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport Board, which will be staffed by the airport director.
Elevation Air opens for business in May. This premiere flight school offers highly qualified flight instruction and aircraft rental.
Bessie's Diner, an aviation-themed breakfast and lunch restaurant, opens at the Terminal Building, 7 days a week, 6 AM-3 PM.
The airport was included in the City of Janesville's Federal Opportunity Zone designations.
The County Board of Supervisors approves the appointments of six community members, and three Supervisors, to serve on the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport Board.
The airport hosted the National Intercollegiate Flying Competition in May; and over 100 airplanes and 600 people attended the event. During the three-week period of time leading up to and then following the event, the airport's Control Tower reported 13,500 operations.
Two new hangars were built in the fall: Regal tore down their old hangar and then built a slightly larger hangar to accommodate their new Galaxy aircraft; and a private owner hangar was constructed adjacent to Seneca's hangar.
The Airport Board approved the revised Airport Minimum Standards and Rules effective July 1. A five-person, sub-committee had met several times from fall of 2019 through spring of 2020 to make the recommended changes.
Vice President Pence flew into the airport on August 19th at 10:53 AM on an Air Force C-20/B-757. He then traveled via motorcade to Darien, WI. The Vice President visited again on September 14th, to attend and speak at a campaign rally that was held at the Janesville Conference Center.
President Trump was scheduled to arrive at the airport Oct 3rd, but cancelled 24 hours prior due to contracting COVID-19. Following his recovery, the visit was rescheduled and on Oct. 17th, the President's B-757, Air Force One landed at 6:34 PM. The President spoke at a peaceful campaign rally that was held near the ABC Supply hangar, where an estimated 8,500 people were in attendance. After speaking, the President departed at 8:25 PM.
Two new hangars were built on the airport's north side, off taxiway Charlie; and a third hangar was built adjacent to the FBO.