Modesto City - County Airport
was first opened for general aviation operations in 1929.
At first the airport located southeast of downtown Modesto
was only 82 acres; but over the years, it grew to its
present size of 450 acres. The airport started with only a
single runway, but a second runway was added in the 1950’s.
Originally, the airport was named Modesto
Municipal Airport; and on May 25 1955 when Stanislaus County
and the City of Modesto became partners in the airport, the
airport was renamed Modesto City-County Airport. In October
1974, Harry Sham Field was added to the name to honour the
airport manager that served between 1949 and 1968. During
World War II, Modesto Airport was used as a military
auxiliary air base to train U.S. Air Corps pilots.
Air carrier service was first offered to
the community in 1946 when United Airlines opened its newly
constructed terminal and began the Valley Queen service.
Since 1946, Modesto has had continuous air service. United
Airlines provided service with either DC-3s or B-737s until
1978 when the airline industry was deregulated. Since 1978,
Modesto has had regional air carrier’s service to San
Francisco bay area airports. Still today, United Airlines
presence is in the community, as their United Express
partner SkyWest Airlines offers daily service to SFO where a
passenger can make a connection to their final destination.
On October 12, 1991, the Modesto City
Council and Stanislaus Board of Supervisors rededicated the
remodelled passenger terminal that was enlarged to 8,900
square feet. The remodelling project upgraded the building
originally built by United Airlines.
In the 1990’s, corporate and business
aviation became the fastest growing segment of activity for
the airport. Corporate jets provide their owners with
convenient point-to-point service.