Defining Airports By Role, Not Just Size
FAA Airport Categories Are Obsolete, Dysfunctional & Counter Productive

It is fully understood that in many planning venues, the use of the FAA classifications of airport - nonhub, small hub,  etc. - still must be used in several areas when working with the Agency. For future planning, however, the nomenclature of the word "hub" today is galaxies away from this terminology. Forecasts will depend on how airlines address them, and simply assuming that all airports are the same, except for size, is completely invalid.

There are three distinct categories of airports, each with a different role in the air transportation system, and each with different planning and strategy needs. Traffic will be affected based on airline strategies, and carriers approach hubsite airport differently than large non-hubsite airports and differently again at smaller airports.

Hubsite Airports. These are airports where an airline or airlines intentionally aggregate flights in arrival and connecting banks, and 25% or more of the enplanements are specifically connecting between flights. We also use the term "hubsite" to clearly note that no airport itself is a connecting hub as this is the direct result of an airline determining to make it the site of a connecting hub operation.

Large Non-Hubsite Airports. These are airports that register 2.2 million or more enplanements and which are not specifically operated by any airline as a connecting operation.

Regional Airports. These are airports with less than 2.2 million annual enplanements. These are then categorized by geographic region. This is determined by state, and it is noted that several airports due to their geographic location, serve consumer bases in more than one region.

For airports and aviation planners looking to the future, Airports:USA is an essential asset and resource.

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