Discover the Number of Airports in the U.S. by State

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
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Written by Chanel Coetzee

Updated: May 10, 2023

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With the increase in air travel, it’s no surprise that there are 5,211 public airports in the USA. However, the number of public airports has actually decreased since 1990, when there were 5,589. Additionally, there are 14,850 private airports in the USA, which is an increase from the 11,901 private airports in 1990. So, how many airports are there in your state? Take a look at the table below. You might be surprised at the number.

Number of Airports in the USA Categorized by State

State/TerritoryNumber of Airports
American Samoa3
District of Columbia3
New Hampshire57
New Jersey92
New Mexico129
New York344
North Carolina342
North Dakota254
Puerto Rico14
Rhode Island9
South Carolina160
South Dakota142
Virgin Islands2
West Virginia71

What’s the Process for Opening an Airport?

There are already a large number of airports in the USA, but new ones are still popping up each year. The Federal Aviation Administration has no procedures in place for building a private airport. However, there are general guidelines for standard designs which you can find on their website. Furthermore, you have to notify the FAA if you want to build a new private-use airport. And they need to comply with the Notice of Construction, Alteration, Activation, and Deactivation regulations. So, if you want to build your own airport, you need to notify the FAA by filling out this form and sending it to the nearest FAA airport’s office. In addition, you need to notify your state aviation agency and comply with local ordinances, laws, and state and federal regulations.

What’s the Oldest Airport Still Active in the USA?

While the state with the highest number of airports in the USA is Texas, the oldest airport still in operation in the United States is College Park airport in Maryland. Furthermore, it was first established in 1909 when Wilbur Wright traveled there to train two military officers. This airport is one of the gateway airports between Prince George’s County and Washington, DC. It sports a single runway 2,600 feet long and 60 feet wide. It has space for over 100 aircraft, including transient and tenant planes. In addition, the airport boasts major facilities like weather briefing, fuelling, and a pilot lounge.

What Are the Busiest Airports in the USA?

Millions of people land in airports around the United States each year. It’s no wonder the number of airports in the USA exceeds 5000. But which airports are the busiest?

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

Main Hall inside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is not only the busiest airport in the U.S. It has also been the busiest in the world since 1998.

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Hartsfield –Jackson Atalanta International Airport is the serving airport in Atlanta, Georgia. It is situated 10 miles south of Downtown Atlanta and sports five parallel runways. Additionally, this airport is not only the USA’s busiest airport but also has been the busiest airport in the world since 1998. However, it took a knock in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic but bounced back in 2021.

2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

View of the control tower at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is the largest hub for American Airlines.


Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport serves the North Texas region and Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in Texas. Additionally, this airport is the largest hub for Amerian Airlines, which has headquarters located near the airport. Furthermore, it is the second busiest airport for passenger traffic and the third busiest airport based on aircraft movements.

3. Denver International Airport (DEN)

Denver International Airport (DIA) Glowing Tents

Denver International Airport is well known for its roof which was designed to look like snow-capped mountains.

©Arina P Habich/

Denver International Airport, or DIA, is a busy international airport 25 miles from Downtown Denver. This is the biggest airport in the Western Hemisphere by land mass and the second biggest globally. However, the largest is King Fahd International Airport, located in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. DIA opened its doors in 1995 and currently plays host to 25 airlines, providing non-stop flights to over 215 destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In fact, it was the fourth airport in the United States to surpass 200 destinations. In addition, this airport is the largest base for Southwest Airlines and a significant hub for Frontier Airlines and United Airlines.

4. O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Chicago O'Hare International Airport electric neon tunnel

In 2022 Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was credited with being the most connected airport in the world.


The O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, or Chicago O’Hare, is located on the Northwest side of the city, about 17 miles from the Loop business district. Chicago O’Hare has non-stop flights to 214 destinations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania, and the Middle East. In 2022 this airport was credited with being the most connected airport in the world. In addition, it was the busiest globally from 1963 to 1998. However, now it is the fourth busiest based on passenger counts. For example, 54 million passengers passed through O’Hare International in 2021.

5. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Airplanes in Los Angeles International airport LAX apron. California, USA

LAX is the fifth busiest airport in the world.

©Gabriele Maltinti/

LAX, or Los Angeles International Airport, is located in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles. It is 18 miles from Downtown Los Angeles and the nearest airport to the South Bay and Westside. LAX saw over 88 million travelers pass through its doors in 2019, making it the third busiest airport in the world. In the United States, it is the second busiest, coming just behind Atlanta’s Harsfield-Jackson International. However, it does hold the record for the busiest origin and destination airport due to many passengers starting or ending their trips in Los Angeles instead of using it for connections.

6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

Busy central concourse at Charlotte Douglas International airport

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the 6th busiest airport in the U.S. since 2021, travelers can relax in rocking chairs between flights.

©Mystic Stock Photography/

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport, also known as Douglas Airport, CLT, or Charlotte Douglas, is situated in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is approximately six miles from the central business district and the main airport for military and commercial use in the Charlotte metropolitan area. This airport was established in 1935 as a municipal airport, and later it was renamed after Chalotte’s mayor at the time, Ben Elbert Douglas Sr. However, its name changed again in 1982 to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Furthermore, it was the 11th busiest airport in the USA in 2019 based on passenger traffic. For example, more than 50 million travelers passed through this airport during this time. However, Charlotte Douglas exceeded this number in 2021, becoming the 6th busiest airport in the USA. Lastly, it is a significant hub for American Airlines.

7. Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Interior atrium of Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport accommodates 44 airlines.

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The Orlando International Airport is located just six miles from Downtown Orlando, Florida. In 2021 this airport took the title of the seventh busiest airport in the USA and busiest in Florida, as it handled over 19 million passengers. Additionally, it is one of Silver Airway’s hubs and an operating base for Spirit Airlines, JetBlue, and Southwest Airlines. Furthermore, the latter is the airport’s largest carrier based on passengers carried. This airport accommodates 44 airlines that provide over 850 flights daily and offers flights to 135 domestic and international destinations.

8. Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)

 Interior view of the waiting room with slot machines in Harry Reid International Airport

Harry Reid International Airport, located five miles from downtown Las Vegas, has slot machines.

©Kit Leong/

The Harry Reid International Airport, located in Paradise, Nevada, is just five miles from downtown Las Vegas. It was built in 1942 but only opened to flight in 1948. This airport sports four runways, two passenger terminals, five concourses, and 108 gates. These gates are famous because they are filled with slot machines, giving you a taste of Sin City from the moment you land. LAS was ranked the tenth busiest airport in the USA in 2021 because it accommodated approximately 40 million passengers that year. It also plays host to several major airlines like Allegiant, Spirit, and Southwest Airlines and is a gateway to nearly every significant international destination.

9. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

March 2016 was the busiest month ever for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

The Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) is the ninth busiest airport in the USA.


The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is situated three miles from Downtown Phoenix, Arizona. This airport is the ninth busiest airport in the USA and the 11th in the world. It is a base for Southwest Airlines and a hub for American Airlines. The latter accommodates more Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport passengers than any other airline.

10. Miami International Airport (MIA)

American airlines planes, aircrafts on ramp in Miami International Airport

In 2021 Miami International Airport surpassed JFK International Airport in New York as the busiest gateway for international travelers in the US.

©Lets Design Studio/

The Miami International Airport, also known as Wilcox Field or MIA, is the main airport of the Miami metropolitan area. This airport provides over 1000 flights each day to 167 destinations, which includes most of South America. It is approximately eight miles from Downtown Miami, and nearby cities include Doral, Hialeah, and the famous Fontainebleau Hotel.

MIA became the busiest international cargo airport in the United States in 2021. And it surpassed JFK International Airport in New York as the busiest gateway for international travelers in the US. Therefore, in 2021 it was credited as the tenth busiest airport in the USA because over 17 million passengers passed through its doors. In addition, it is American Airlines’ 3rd largest hub and provides them with a primary gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. Furthermore, Miami is also a focus city for both cargo and passenger operations for Frontier Airlines, LATAM, and Avianca.

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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

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