Fun Facts about United States Airports

I really enjoyed trying to figure out which metro areas in the US are the most connected to other states via nonstop flights. Today I want to look at some other interesting airport stuff I discovered along the way. Enjoy!


How many airports are there in the United States?

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are 19,633 airports in the United States. Of these, 5082 are public. Of those, 503 are considered Primary airports. This means they provide scheduled passenger services and have over 10,000 passenger boardings a year. 

What are the busiest commercial airports in the United States?

In 2022, the airports with the most emplanements (the term for how many people board an aircraft) were: 
1. Atlanta Hartsfield: 45,396,001
2. Dallas-Fort Worth: 35,345,138 
3. Denver: 33,773,832 
4. Chicago O'Hare: 33,120,474
5. Los Angeles LAX: 32,326,616
6. New York JFK: 27,154,885
7. Las Vegas: 25,480,500
8. Orlando: 24,469,733
9. Miami: 23,949,892 
10. Charlotte/Douglas: 23,100,300

What are the least busy commercial airports in the United States? 

In 2022, the airports with the fewest emplanements were: 
10. Tuntutuliak, Alaska: 2,788
9. Togiak, Alaska: 2,727
8. Pilot Station, Alaska: 2,724
7. McGrath, Alaska: 2,700
6. Kongiganak, Alaska: 2,680 
5. Adak, Alaska: 2,616
4. Eek, Alaska: 2,616
3. Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska: 2,597
2. Hana, Hawaii: 2,562
1. Sand Point, Alaska: 2,552

Which state has the most airports? 

Alaska has the most airports by far, with approximately 400 airports. However, only 24 of them are Primary airports. Alaskans use air travel much more frequently than the rest of the US does. The number of enplanements in Alaska is 6.5 times the state population. Compare this to 2.4 times the U.S. population for all states.

Which state has the fewest airports?

You might assume that the smallest state, Rhode Island, would have the fewest airports. It has 6 total, of which three are Primary. But it is Delaware which has the fewest airports. There are three, none Primary. 

Which United States airports have direct flights to all inhabited continents?

As noted in a previous post, you can fly to North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceana nonstop from LAX. There are two other airports in the US with nonstop flights to six continents: O'Hare and JFK

Which United States airports have the best on-time record? 

In 2023, Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) had the best on-time record in the United States... as well as worldwide! Salt Lake City (SLC) was the second best in the US, followed by Detroit (DTW), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), and Philadelphia (PHL). (Here are the six worst in the US in 2022.)


Did anything surprise you? Have other questions about US airports you'd like me to research? Let me know in the comments!

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