International vs National Airport: Difference and Comparison

Airports have become a crucial part of the day-to-day life of many persons, and there are a lot of airports today all across the world that serve different locations and destinations by way of different flights.

However, it is a common deal to get confused between an International Airport and a national airport while in reality, these two are very different from one another, and significant differences can easily be marked between these two. 

Key Takeaways

  1. International airports facilitate flights between countries and have customs facilities, whereas national airports serve domestic flights only.
  2. International airports are larger and support more passenger traffic than national airports.
  3. International airports offer more amenities and services, such as duty-free shops and currency exchange, than national airports.

International vs National Airport 

An international airport is an airport which offers flights to and from other countries. International airports have customs and immigration facilities to process travelers arriving from other countries. National airport is one that serves only domestic destinations within a country.

International vs National Airport

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An International Airport simply signifies an airport facility that allows passengers to travel to different destinations situated at different locations of different countries.

In an International Airport, a person has to go through the customs and immigration checkpoints in order to get an allowance from the authorities to travel beyond the boundaries of the country. 

While on the other hand, a national airport is also termed a domestic airport as it only allows people to travel to a location belonging to the country from which they are traveling.

It does not serve locations belonging to any other country apart from the country to which the airport belongs, and moving to this particular feature, the size and operation of the airport also shrinks. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison International Airport National Airport 
Meaning  The term represents an airport that allows people to travel to different locations in different countries. The term represents an airport that only allows people to travel on locations of the same country. 
Serves locations on This airport serves different locations belonging to different countries all across the globe. This airport only serves locations that are situated in the country in which the airport is situated. 
Size of the airport Owing to the operations of the airport it captures a large piece of land. As the operations of this airport are at a small level, it happens to be smaller in size. 
Formalities required In order to travel by an international airport, the person is required to carry a passport along with a visa and is also required to clear customs. In order to travel by a domestic airport, the person only requires a legally verified ticket. 
Total number of airports Approximately 1200 international airports are present all across the world. Approximately 40000 national airports are present all across the world. 

What is International Airport? 

The term International Airport signifies any airport built in a particular country that allows the passengers to travel by and between different countries using different flights being operated on that particular airport.

In other words, it can be said that these airports work on a very higher level and allow people to switch countries while they travel from one country to another.

Owing to this particular size of operation of these airports, these are built on a very large piece of land and acquire a lot of area for construction.

However, traveling through an International Airport requires certain formalities to be fulfilled in order to get permission for such travel. The most prominent formality that is required to be fulfilled is a passport. 

Any person who wishes to travel using an International Airport must have a passport issued by his native country, and in certain cases, a visa is also required to travel in any other country depending upon the rules and regulations of that country.

In many airports, travelers are also required to clear the customs and immigration checkpoints and gather all the required permissions. 

international airport 1

What is National Airport? 

A national airport or popularly known as a domestic airport’s one that functions within a country only and allows travelers to travel within the boundary of that particular country only.

In other words, a national airport can be explained as the airport that serves locations belonging to a particular country only and does not extend its operations in foreign countries.

As the level of operation of these airports happens to be of small size, in certain cases, there is a probability of these airports being built on a very small piece of land as no big infrastructure is needed to serve locations within the boundary of a particular country.

Unlike an International Airport, the formalities of passport and visa are not required to be fulfilled in a national airport, and the person is required to mainly carry with himself a legally verified ticket allowing him to travel to a particular location. 

Domestic airports are built in a particular manner in which immigrations and customs checkpoints are not built as they are not at all required to facilitate domestic flights.

However, security parameters are still kept updated in order to avoid any discrepancy or unfortunate incidences during the travel. 

national airport

Main Differences Between International and National Airport 

  1. An International Airport is one that allows people to travel by and between different countries while on the other hand, a National Airport allows people to travel in a single country only. 
  2. An International Airport serves locations belonging to different countries, while on the other hand, a National Airport serves locations belonging to a single country only. 
  3. An International Airport operates on a very higher level and happens to be a very large size, while on the other hand, a National Airport operates on a smaller level and happens to be of a small size. 
  4. An International Airport requires certain specific formalities like a visa or a passport, while on the other hand, a National Airport does not require any such particular formality. 
  5. There are approximately 1200 international airports all across the world, while on the other hand, approximately 40,000 national airports are present all across the globe. 
Difference Between International and National Airport



Last Updated : 14 July, 2023

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