What is the number of airports in Maryland?

Air Travel

By Kristy Tolley

Counting Maryland’s Airports

Maryland is a small state located on the east coast of the United States, with a population of approximately six million people. Despite its relatively small size, Maryland is home to a significant number of airports, ranging from small general aviation fields to major commercial airports. In this article, we will explore the number and types of airports found in Maryland, as well as their roles in the state’s transportation network.

Understanding the Definition of an Airport

Before we dive into the specifics of Maryland’s airports, it’s important to understand what exactly constitutes an "airport." According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an airport is defined as "any area of land or water used or intended for landing or takeoff of aircraft, including appurtenant areas such as runways, taxiways, and aircraft parking areas." This definition encompasses a wide range of facilities, from small grass strips to large international airports. Additionally, the FAA classifies airports based on the types and amount of traffic they handle, which we will discuss further in the next section.

How Are Airports Classified in Maryland?

In Maryland, airports are classified based on the types of traffic they serve. The FAA recognizes four categories of airports: commercial service airports, reliever airports, general aviation airports, and military airports. Commercial service airports are those that serve scheduled passenger airlines and have at least 2,500 passenger boardings per year. Reliever airports are designated to relieve congestion at commercial service airports, and typically serve general aviation and corporate traffic. General aviation airports primarily serve private and recreational pilots, and do not have scheduled passenger airline service. Military airports are those operated by the U.S. Armed Forces for military purposes.

The Number of Public Use Airports in Maryland

Maryland is home to a total of 36 public use airports, according to the FAA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Of these, eight are commercial service airports, four are reliever airports, and the remaining 24 are general aviation airports. The largest of these airports is Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), which serves as the state’s primary commercial airport. Other notable commercial airports in Maryland include Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), both of which are located just outside of Maryland’s borders.

How Many Private Airports Can Be Found in Maryland?

In addition to the public use airports listed in the NPIAS, Maryland is also home to a number of private airports. These airports are not included in the NPIAS, as they do not receive federal funding or have scheduled airline service. Private airports in Maryland primarily serve the needs of individual aircraft owners, corporate flight departments, and other private aviation operators. The exact number of private airports in Maryland is difficult to determine, as many are owned by individuals or organizations and do not have public listings.

The Role of Helipads in Maryland’s Transportation Network

In addition to fixed-wing airports, Maryland is also home to a number of helipads. Helipads are designated areas for helicopters to land and take off, and can be found at hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and other locations throughout the state. Helicopters are an important part of Maryland’s transportation network, as they can quickly transport patients and medical supplies, as well as support law enforcement and emergency response efforts.

Maryland’s Military Airports: More Than Just Runways

Maryland is home to several military airports, including Andrews Air Force Base, Fort Meade, and Patuxent River Naval Air Station. These airports play a critical role in national defense, serving as bases for military aircraft and supporting various research and development initiatives. In addition to their military functions, these airports also have significant economic impacts on the surrounding communities, providing jobs and generating revenue through various business activities.

The Importance of Airport Infrastructure Investment

Maintaining and improving airport infrastructure is a critical priority for Maryland and the United States as a whole. The FAA estimates that U.S. airports will need $128 billion in infrastructure investment over the next five years to meet current and future demand. In Maryland, infrastructure investments have been made at several airports in recent years, including BWI, Martin State Airport, and Hagerstown Regional Airport. These investments have helped to improve safety, increase capacity, and enhance the overall passenger experience.

Maryland’s Busiest Airports: A Closer Look

BWI is by far the busiest airport in Maryland, serving more than 26 million passengers in 2019. DCA and IAD, located just outside of Maryland’s borders, also serve a significant number of Maryland residents and visitors. Smaller commercial airports in Maryland include Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport and Hagerstown Regional Airport, which primarily serve regional and charter carriers.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Maryland’s Airports

Like airports across the country, Maryland’s airports have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Passenger traffic at BWI and other airports in the state dropped dramatically in 2020, as travel restrictions and reduced demand took their toll. However, airports have taken steps to ensure the safety of passengers and employees, implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, requiring masks, and promoting social distancing. As vaccination rates increase and travel begins to rebound, airports in Maryland and elsewhere will continue to play a critical role in connecting people and goods.

Conclusion: The Future of Maryland’s Airports

Maryland’s airports are a vital component of the state’s transportation network, connecting residents and visitors to destinations both domestic and international. As the state continues to grow and evolve, it will be important to invest in airport infrastructure and support the various roles that airports play in the economy and society. With proper investment and planning, Maryland’s airports will remain a key asset for the state and the nation for years to come.

Additional Resources for Maryland Aviation Information

For more information on Maryland’s airports and aviation industry, the following resources may be helpful:

  • Maryland Aviation Administration: https://www.marylandaviation.com/
  • Federal Aviation Administration – Maryland Airports:
  • Maryland Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study:
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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