The 5 Largest Airports in All of Maryland

Written by Tina Page
Published: December 9, 2023
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While the famous Wright brothers may not have taken their historic first flight in Maryland, the state’s aviation history is marked by its own major pioneering achievements. In 1784, 13-year-old Edward Warren made the first recorded manned flight in the United States over the city of Baltimore, MD, in a hot-air balloon. In 1909, the Wright brothers founded the world’s first airport in College Park, MD. The airport is still in operation to this day, making it the oldest airport in the world. The five largest airports in all of Maryland don’t break any records in terms of size, but they do reflect the charm and character of the country’s eighth-smallest state.

Maryland — The Old Line State

Maryland

Maryland is known as the Old Line State as well as the Free State.

©ladyphoto89/Shutterstock.com

One of the original 13 states, Maryland is a mid-Atlantic state with a rich history that belies its small size. Francis Scott Key penned the U.S. national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner,” while watching the British attack Fort McHenry, MD, in an attempt to take the city of Baltimore in 1814. The U.S. Naval Academy was founded in 1845 at Annapolis, Maryland’s capital city, which also once served as the capital of the United States.

Maryland is often referred to as “America in Miniature” due to the diverse cultures that vary along with its distinct topography. Ranging from sandy dunes in the east, to low marshlands supporting rich populations of wildlife and a water-oriented culture near the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore, to the oak forests in the Piedmont Region, through the state’s most populous city of Baltimore, and over to its pine groves in the west along the Appalachian mountain range, Maryland has more to offer than its size suggests.

With a total land area of 12,407 square miles, Maryland has a population of more than six million, making it the 18th-most populous state and the fifth-most densely populated state in the country. Maryland borders Washington, D.C., the U.S. capital, on three sides. Its proximity to Washington, D.C. gives Maryland’s largest airport special significance as one of the major hubs for air transportation to and from the country’s capital.

1. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport — 3,160 acres

Baltimore, Maryland, USA skyline on the Inner Harbor.

Baltimore is Maryland’s most populous city.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

The nation’s 25th-busiest airport is located nine miles south of downtown Baltimore and 32 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) spans an impressive 3,160 acres. It is one of three major airports servicing the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area. There are three runways available for air traffic.

BWI is the busiest airport in the region, serving more than 11 million passengers in 2022. President Harry S. Truman dedicated BWI in 1950, which was then named Friendship International Airport, after three years of construction. The facility was one of the most advanced of its kind in the United States at the time. In 1957, Friendship International Airport was the East Coast terminus of the record-breaking transcontinental flight by the first Boeing 707 jetliner.

The airport incorporates Maryland’s rich history into its name. Thurgood Marshall was a Baltimore native who became the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

2. Salisbury–Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport — 1,081 acres

Salisbury, MD November 27th, 2020: City park bridge and lake aerial view

Salisbury is home to Maryland’s second-largest airport, Salisbury Regional Airport.

©Kevin Show/iStock via Getty Images

Maryland’s second-largest airport is less than half the size of BWI. Salisbury–Ocean City: Wicomico Regional, also called just Salisbury Regional Airport, is 1,081 acres. It has two runways that served 45,275 passengers in 2022.

After Wicomico County and the City of Salisbury completed construction in 1944, the U.S. Navy leased the airport until 1946. Since that time, Salisbury Regional has served a wide range of general aviation activities, including Maryland State Police helicopter operations and American Airlines scheduled service. It is located five miles southeast of downtown Salisbury, MD.

3. Martin State Airport — 747 acres

Helicopter parked at the helipad

Martin State Airport has one runway and one concrete helipad for helicopters to land.

©Makushin Aleksei/Shutterstock.com

At 747 acres, Martin State Airport (MTN) is Maryland’s third-largest airport. It has one runway and one concrete helipad. Originally purchased in 1929 by pioneer aviation designer Glenn L. Martin, it served as an aircraft manufacturing site producing aircraft such as the B-10 and the B-26 bomber. In 1975, the state of Maryland bought the airfield to ensure the retention of a general aviation facility close to Baltimore.

MTN is located 10 miles east of the central business district of Baltimore, MD. The airport had 87,130 aircraft operations in the 12-month period ending October 11, 2022.

4. Hagerstown Regional Airport — 693 acres

Orlando, Florida

Hagerstown Regional Airport offers flights year-round to Orlando, FL, and seasonally to two more locations.

©Kruck20/ via Getty Images

Located 78 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., in Washington County, MD, Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR) covers 693 acres. It has two runways and had 32,197 enplanements in 2022.

HGR celebrated 10 years of partnership with Allegiant Air in 2022. Allegiant offers three non-stop destinations from Hagerstown. The airline flies year-round out of HGR to Orlando Sanford International Airport. Flights to St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL, and Myrtle Beach, SC, run seasonally.

In March 2021, a $6 million terminal expansion project at HGR increased the hold room by 5,000 square feet allowing double the amount of passengers access, from 150 people to 300. HGR has serviced a combined total of 386,869 passengers as of May 12, 2022.

5. Frederick Municipal Airport — 616 acres

Fall colors in rural Frederick, Maryland

Frederick, MD, is located less than an hour away from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Gettysburg.

©Dave H. Fine/Shutterstock.com

Maryland’s fifth-largest airport is a full-service, public reliever airport located less than an hour’s drive from both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD. Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK) is 616 acres and has two runways.

Aviation history in Frederick dates back to 1911 when Lieutenant Hap Arnold made a historic cross-country flight. Arnold took off from College Park, MD, and landed in Frederick, MD, in a Wright B Airplane. The City of Frederick began construction of the current site of the airport in March 1946. The first airplane to land in the grass at the new airport was a Stinson piloted by A.B. Sutherland in April 1946. Soon after, federal and state grants allowed the city to pave the runways and create taxiways.

The 5 Largest Airports in All of Maryland

RankAirportAcresRunways 2022 Enplanements
#1Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall3,160311,151,169
#2Salisbury–Ocean City: Wicomico Regional1,081247,275
#3Martin State7471121
#4Hagerstown Regional693232,197
#5Frederick Municipal 616235
Comparison chart of Maryland’s five largest airports.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © motive56/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Tina Page is a journalist and teacher from Los Angeles with more than 20 years of experience writing for newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. She runs an animal rescue that's changed the lives of all kinds of creatures. From dogs and cats to hawks, skunks, racoons, opossums, sea gulls, and lizards, no animal is left behind. Along with her many animals, Tina is a homeschool mom to three kids that are just as passionate about helping animals. If they are not rescuing animals, they are surfing at their local beach or hiking in nature.

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