Featured Historical Highlight:

A group of Mayo Clinic physicians, scientists, and technicians who threw themselves into solving problems, in the process, made discoveries and created innovations that influence aviation and medicine to this day. Watch Reaching New Heights: Secret Stories of the Mayo Clinic Aero Medical Unit to learn of the invention of the G-suit that made high-altitude flight possible for U.S. fighter pilots.

Aero Med video preview


William Mayo


"We must provide the capability for people to travel to Rochester to receive medical services." - William James Mayo


"Airplanes are the best long-distance mode of transit for the ill. Gentleman, we must have an airplane with the ability to move patients." - William James Mayo


"Transportation is the life blood of Rochester (and Mayo)." - William James Mayo


  • The airport was originally founded in Southeast Rochester by Drs. William and Charles Mayo.
  • 1929 Airport DedicationThe airport resided on 285 acres and was owned and operated by the Mayo Foundation.


  • Airfield officially dedicated as 'Rochester Airport'. Dedication of the new airport matched with Rochester's Diamond Jubilee festivities on June 11.
  • Charles Mayo delivered a dedication address to a crowd of 10,000.
  • Rochester Airport Company founded as a subsidiary of the Mayo Foundation.

Plummer Building1938

  • DC3's began to land on grass runways. Weather and wet slush/snowstorms damaged several planes.
  • 2 million candle watt lamp was installed on Plummer Building.


  • On June 23rd, a very ill William J. Mayo asks Mr. Lobb what should be done to improve the airport and called emergency meetings to request to pave runways.
  • William J. Mayo, champion of the Rochester Airport, died July 28, 1939.


  • Rochester Airport Company improved the facility with paved runways.
  • "New" Rochester Airport dedicated on August 4th. American Airlines' flagship christened the "Minnesota" and Northwest Airlines DC3 christened the "City of Rochester".
  • Northwest Airlines opened a full-time office in Rochester.
  • Flights operated to Des Moines, Kansas City, Tulsa, Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
  • 85 additional acres were acquired to bring total land to 370 acres.

1940s Airport1945

  • Mayo Foundation gave the airport to the City of Rochester because as a private corporation, Mayo was not eligible for Federal Grants for airport improvements.
  • Rochester Airport Company continued to operate the airport under an operating agreement with the City of Rochester.


  • Airport was officially named 'Lobb Field'.


  • With growing passenger volumes (75,000 annually), the City needed a bigger airport.
  • A site was selected 8 miles south of downtown. The Airport was moved to its present location and called 'Rochester Municipal Airport'.


  • Airport is renamed ‘Rochester International Airport’ with the addition of a U.S. Customs facility.


  • The U.S. Customs facility was moved to the main terminal, allowing private aircraft international access to arrive directly in Rochester.
  • The airport terminal building was remodeled to accomodate U.S. Customs, expand the security checkpoint and to improve the facility for passengers.


  • The Airport is located on approximately 2,400 acres of land.
  • 3 major air carriers operate with scheduled service, American Airlines, Sun Country Airlines (seasonal) and Delta Air Lines.
  • 1 major cargo carrier, Federal Express, operates daily, enabling shipments from around the world. Daily delivery of 40,000 medical specimens from more than 4,000 clients in 80 countries arrive for processing at Mayo Clinic Laboratories.
  • Mayo Clinic Ambulance provides ground, helicopter and airplane patient transport. Open 24/7, RST is one of the busiest airports for air ambulance service in the country.
  • RST sees continued growth with on-airport development, including an Industrial park and Business park.
  • The Rochester Airport Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mayo Clinic – Rochester, continues to operate the airport for the City of Rochester.