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Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport History


In 1942, the United States Bureau of Reclamation initiated the construction of the Davis Dam Power Plant. In 1946, a runway was established on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to provide a landing field for aircraft transporting equipment and personnel connected with the Davis Dam project. The location of the runway was approximately two and one-half miles south of the dam at what is now known as the Airport Commercial Center.

In 1968, Mohave County leased the airport from the BLM. In 1971, the County subleased a portion of the airport to Bullhead Airport, Inc., a private enterprise that provided fixed base operation (FBO) services.

In 1979, a new airport lease for the airport was negotiated between Mohave County and the newly formed Mohave County Airport Authority (MCAA), a nonprofit corporation.

Between 1988 and 1991, new airside and landside facilities were planned and developed on the east side of the airport property. Those included a new, longer runway and taxiways, a commercial service terminal, apron, and automobile parking lot. In 1991, Mesa Airlines was the first airline to service the community. Casino charter activity also started around this time.

A major improvement in aeronautical services and safety was achieved on April 1, 1999 with the opening of the FAA contract air traffic control (ATC) tower. Relocation of general aviation facilities was completed in 2003.

In 2008, the terminal facilities were completely renovated along with an expanded parking lot and in 2010 a brand new state of the art baggage claim facility was constructed.

Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport is financially self-supporting and does not receive funding from local jurisdictions to meet its operational costs. Airport staff is made up of sixteen dedicated professionals who administer all of the management and oversight responsibility including 24/7 Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Service.