Working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Bureau of Aeronautics, SEWRPC has been engaged in regional airport system planning since the mid-1970s. The first generation regional airport system plan was adopted by SEWRPC in 1976. A second generation plan was initially adopted in 1987 and comprehensively amended in 1996. That plan is found in SEWRPC Planning Report No. 38, A Regional Airport System Plan for Southeastern Wisconsin: 2010, 2nd Edition, November 1996.
The plan recommends that a system of 11 public-use airports be maintained to meet the commercial, business, personal, and military aviation needs of the Region. These 11 airports are General Mitchell International Airport, John H. Batten Field, Kenosha Regional Airport, Waukesha County-Crites Field, West Bend Municipal Airport, East Troy Municipal Airport, Hartford Municipal Airport, Lawrence, J. Timmerman Airport, Burlington Municipal Airport, Capitol Airport, and Sylvania Airport. All 11 of these airports are well established, are currently open for use by the general public, and accommodate significant numbers of aircraft operations. Eight of these 11 airports are publicly owned. The remaining three airports in the system, Capitol Airport, John H. Batten Field, and Sylvania Airport, are privately owned. The plan recommends that public action be taken to acquire these three privately owned airports only if and when their operation as public-use airports is proposed to be discontinued. The plan recognizes that other privately owned public-use airports in addition to these 11 essential airports may continue to operate within the Region, and thus serve portions of the regional aviation demand. The plan neither recommends the closure of any of these additional airports nor relies upon their continued existence. Forecast trends in airport activity within southeastern Wisconsin were updated to the year 2030 and are documented in SEWRPC Memorandum Report 133, Review and Update of Regional Airport System Plan Forecasts, August 2004.
SEWRPC activities in aviation planning are limited at the present time to monitoring trends in the level of aviation activity in the Region.