Nashville International Airport > John C. Tune > About > History


In the late 1960’s, a group of innovative members of the Nashville community, led by pilot, attorney, businessman, and civic leader, John C. Tune, realized the need for a facility to better serve small general aviation (GA) aircraft.  In 1972, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) initiated a general aviation site study and the FAA approved a site in the Cockrill Bend area located in west Nashville.  

In 1983, construction began on JWN and by July 1986, the Airport was ready to open its doors to the public.  With approximately 301 acres of property, JWN became vital to the economic health and progress of the middle Tennessee region.  The new GA reliever airport opened with a 5,000 foot by 100 foot runway and one 10,000 square foot conventional hangar.  In 1986, an additional 10 T-hangar units were added.  By 1988, the Airport constructed 44 additional T-hangar units and an 18,000 sq. ft. conventional hangar, as well as added a localizer and associated distance measuring equipment (DME).  An automated weather observation system (AWOS) was installed and commissioned in 1990. 

In 1991, a 500 foot runway extension to the north end of Runway 2-20 was completed.  A terminal building was constructed in 1995, which included amenities such as:  pilot’s lounge, flight planning room, weather information center, conference room, vending area, restrooms and showers. 

Twenty additional T-hangars were constructed in 1996, and with the installation of a glide slope, an instrument landing system (ILS) was added to Runway 20.  A global positioning system (GPS) non-precision approach for Runway 2 and another 20 T-hangars were completed in 1998.

In 2006, thirty-one T-hangars were constructed on the south ramp, and taxiway R3 was constructed to create a second entrance to the main terminal ramp. 

In 2007, an 18,000 square foot clear span hangar was constructed for aircraft storage, along with 2500 square feet of office space on the landside portion of the hangar.  Four years later, Taxiway R1, connecting the south ramp to the airfield, was constructed along with another 8 T-hangars on the south ramp. 

In 2012, the Authority began planning for major airfield renovations at Tune.  The purpose of the airfield renovations was to enhance the Runway Safety Areas (RSA).  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that airports have a standard RSA where possible. The required RSA dimensions for JWN are 500 feet wide by 1,000 feet beyond each end of the runway.

In 2013, Centennial Boulevard north of the airport was closed, Cockrill Bend Circle was extended and site preparation for the runway and RSA extension was completed.  In 2015, the north end RSA was extended 500 additional feet to meet the FAA requirement.  On the south end, the RSA was extended 750 feet and an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) was added. EMAS uses crushable material placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight material and the aircraft decelerates as it rolls through the material. EMAS is FAA approved and recommended when the standard 1,000–foot RSA is not possible.


In addition to enhancing the RSA, the runway was extended from 5,000 feet to 6,000 feet,

runway grade repairs were completed, runway lights and signage replaced, a new precision approach path indicator and instrument landing system installed, taxiways reconstructed and Taxiway Alpha extended.


Landside improvements were completed concurrently with the airside projects.  The apron and hangar floors were rehabilitated, landscaping and signage enhanced and the terminal was renovated.

JWN was honored with the 2015 General Aviation Airport Safety Award from the Federal Aviation Administration's Southern Region Airports Division and the Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee for the airport's safety upgrades and enhancements.

John C. Tune Airport (JWN) was named the 2016 Airport of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Commission and the Tennessee Aviation Association for the major reconstruction and safety enhancement projects and terminal modernization at the airport.


"We're honored to have John C. Tune Airport recognized as the top general aviation airport in Tennessee," said Rob Wigington, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. "Tune serves as the front door to our city for general and corporate aviation customers, and with the new airfield upgrades and terminal renovation, it is a better reflection of Music City. It truly is 'A New Tune.'"