The airport is owned by the city of Dubuque, and is operated as a department of the city government. The city council appoints people to the Airport Commission board, which oversee the airport. People on the Airport Commission serve four year terms. For day to day operations, the Commission hires an airport manager to run the airport.
DBQ is mostly used for general aviation. There is also a charter service which is run by Inc.. The airport also offers maintenance and refueling services, including services for jets.
The University of Dubuque has a flight operations center at the airport. This operations center provides for pilot training in the school's aviation programs. This includes both ground school and actual flight training. The University has two hangars with exclusively their aircraft and a third hangar that is shared.American Airlines provides flights to and from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago four times a day, which generally take under an hour. At one time propeller driven aircraft were used, but American has since upgraded to using regional jets.
Northwest Airlines announced on February 7, 2008 that its regional partner Mesaba Airlines operating as Northwest Airlink will once again return with service to Dubuque with twice daily flights to and from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport using Saab 340 aircraft. These flights began on June 20, 2008.
On July 2, 2009, the merged Delta/Northwest Airlines announced it would discontinue all service to Dubuque citing weakened demand throughout its system. This left DBQ with only one airline providing commercial service.
The terminal features free WI-FI internet access. The airport also recently installed enclosed walkways at the gates, allowing passengers to walk to and from the planes without having to go outdoors.