Airport vs Aerodrome: Difference and Comparison

The concept of airport and aerodrome (or airdrome) can confuse as from both the places flights can take off and land.

But, several other aviation-related operations don’t occur in airports and airfields.

So, the point of difference lies in how they operate and who are the competent authorities responsible for regulations.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Airports are larger and more complex than aerodromes, with various facilities for passengers and cargo.
  2. Aerodromes are smaller aviation facilities catering to general aviation and sometimes military operations.
  3. Airports provide air traffic control services, whereas aerodromes may not have this service available.

Airport vs Aerodrome

An airport is larger than an aerodrome. Airports have longer runways, terminal buildings, and amenities like shops and restaurants. Aerodromes tend to be smaller and less developed. Airports are associated with commercial airline service, while aerodromes may not have scheduled commercial flights.

Airport vs Aerodrome

An airport is a place where multiple operations of aircraft take place, from transportation to maintenance.

Domestic terminals are used to travel within a nation, and international terminals are used for travelling across countries.

Currently, there are 34 international airports in India are 1,200 worldwide. 

Aerodromes mainly refer to an area where an aircraft can take off and land. An aerodrome has no extra operations like maintenance, air traffic control, waiting room, etc.

Examples of aerodromes are Pulkovo Airport, Vancouver International Water Airport, etc.  

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAirportAerodrome
DefinitionAn aerodrome refers to any location that can carry out any flight operations regardless of the type of aircraft. All airports are a particular type of aerodromes. 
OrderIt consists of an active surface (runaway for landing and take-off), control towers, terminals, air traffic control, lounges, etc. All aerodromes are not airports. 
GuidelinesAn airport has to maintain all guidelines set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).There are no strict guidelines except for the conventional safety guidelines. 
AreaLanding, take off, parking, maintenance, etc. of an aircraft takes place here. It consists only of the area from where an aircraft can land and take off and can be both land or water. 
FunctionsA plane can also land and take off in an airport. “aerodrome” is commonly used in the UK and Commonwealth countries. 
GeographyThe term “airport” is common all across the world. The term “aerodrome” is commonly used in the UK and Commonwealth countries. 

What is an Airport?

Airports are bustling public places where more than just landing and take-off of aircraft occur.

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Some of the largest airports in the world employ more than 100,000 workers,; hence, it is a perfect entity of employment.

From public transport to restaurants, everything is available at the airports.

Apart from landing and take-off, the parking of an aircraft also takes place in an airport for the loading and unloading passengers and cargo.

Other facilities include air traffic control, fire, rescue department, aircraft maintenance, etc. 

The largest airport in the world in terms of area is the King Fahd International Airport, in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

In an international airport, both domestic and international terminals are present, meaning that one can travel both within and across the nation.

The United States is currently the country with the most significant airports, followed by Brazil and Mexico.

Commercial airports require a huge area for development because, other than the runaways, other facilities are also established.

Site location, altitude, meteorological conditions, topography, etc, are some factors considered by airport planners before building one.

An airport can be built on any of the four basic configurations, single runway, parallel runway, open-V runway, and intersecting runway. 


What is an Aerodrome?

The word aerodrome is derived from two Greek words, aeros and dromos.

It means air course, and thus, it refers to any piece of the area where an aircraft (irrespective of the type) can carry out flight operations.

The word aerodrome is heavily used in the UK and Commonwealth States and is not very famous in the US.

Aerodromes refer to areas on land and water as long as a flight can take off and land from that place.

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So, the world’s biggest airport or an airstrip in a very remote place falls under aerodromes.

Military airbases are also known as aerodromes.

As mentioned earlier, open water bodies can also be categorized as airports as long as floatplanes, seaplanes, etc, can take off and land on that site.

There are no other buildings or installations like an airport in an aerodrome.

An airport can be categorized into four types. They are as follows.

  1. Airport: It can conduct several operations besides just taking off and landing. In some places, the terms airport and aerodromes are interchanged. 
  2. Airbase: This term is mainly used for military and civil seaplane bases. 
  3. Airstrip: Small aerodromes located in remote locations with fueling equipment.
  4. Water aerodromes: These are open water aerodromes.

Main Differences Between Airports and Aerodromes

  1. An airport is a place from where aircraft (mostly for commercial purposes) take off and land, whereas an aerodrome refers to a location from where any aircraft (public/personal) can carry out flight operations. 
  2. All airports are a special type of aerodromes, whereas all aerodromes are not airports. 
  3. An airport has to maintain all guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), whereas there is no strict set of guidelines for an aerodrome. 
  4. An airport consists of an active surface (runaway for landing and take off), control towers, terminals, air traffic control, lounges, etc. In contrast, an aerodrome refers to an area on land or water from which an aircraft can take off. 
  5. Landing, take off, parking, maintenance, etc., of an aircraft, takes place in an airport, whereas these multiple operations don’t occur in an aerodrome. 
  6. The airport is a common word worldwide, whereas aerodrome is not very popular in American English and is thus used in European and Commonwealth countries. 
Difference Between Airport and Aerodrome

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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9 thoughts on “Airport vs Aerodrome: Difference and Comparison”

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  4. The article is very informative and well-structured. It offers an insightful comparison between airports and aerodromes, which is highly beneficial for those with a keen interest in aviation.

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  6. The author’s strategic use of examples and geographical comparisons effectively conveys the essence of airports and aerodromes, enhancing the article’s comprehensive nature.


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