In 1940, Wicomico County and the City of Salisbury began construction of the airport under a joint agreement with the Federal Works Progress Administration. Originally encompassing 695 acres, the project cost $1.5 million.
Today, the airport spans roughly 1,000 acres, making it the second largest in the state of Maryland.
Below is a chronology of major changes and events which have taken place over the decades:
1940 — Airport construction begins.
1944 — Airport is completed and leased to U.S. Navy.
1946 — Airfield Operating Corp. leases airport. Business activity begins. / Chesapeake Airways begins commercial service to Easton, Baltimore, and Washington.
1948 — Construction of ramp, access road, and original terminal building.
1949 — City and County resume management of airport. / All American Airways supersedes Chesapeake Airways.
1950 — Allegheny Airlines supersedes All American Airways.
1958 — Airport Commission created, becomes responsible for airport operation.
1960 — 1969, Various improvement projects, including runway resurfacing and installation of taxiway lights.
1968 — Henson Aviation, under contract with Allegheny Airlines, begins scheduled commuter service.
1969 — Allegheny discontinues service.
1970 – 1979 — Construction projects include lengthening runway 14/32 by 500 feet and installation of an instrument landing system. / Additional land acquisitions increases airport size to approximately 820 acres.
1971 — City of Salisbury relinquishes its interest in the airport to Wicomico County. County becomes sole owner.
1976 — Henson Aviation builds hangar-office complex.
1978 — Maryland State Police establish medevac helicopter base.
1983 — Henson Aviation continues service, but now under contract to Piedmont Airlines.
1986 — Pennsylvania Airlines, under contract with Allegheny, begins commuter service.
1988 — Pennsylvania Airlines discontinues service.
1989 — United Express begins commuter service, but discontinues after eight months despite profitability of routes.
1991 — New 26,000-sq.-ft. terminal building opens.
1993 — U.S. Airways purchases Henson Aviation and changes Henson’s name to Piedmont Airlines.
1999 — Air-traffic control tower begins service.
2006 — Multi-year process begins to rehabilitate and extend runway 14/32.
2012 — Conclusion of runway rehabilitation and extension. Runway 14/32 grows 900 feet in length to 6,400 feet.
2014 —Reconstruction of runway 5/23 begins.
2015 — American Airlines merges with U.S. Airways. Piedmont becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of American. / Piedmont receives approximately 20 Embraer ERJ-145 jet aircraft from American.
2016 — To accommodate future jet service, the airport announces plans to further extend runway 14/32 to a total length of 7,000 feet.