Airport and aerodrome are two distinct terms, yet they are often used interchangeably due to their similarities. Understanding the differences between the two is essential for using them in the correct context.
- An aerodrome is a place where flight operations can take place, while an airport is a specific type of aerodrome that includes facilities for landing, take-off, storage, and maintenance of aircraft.
- All airports can be considered aerodromes, but not all aerodromes can be considered airports.
- The term “aerodrome” is mostly used in the UK and Commonwealth countries, while the term “airport” is widely used worldwide.
An airport is typically defined as a place where aircraft take off or land. It consists of at least one runway, a flat surface where aircraft land or take off, a helipad for helicopter landing, and buildings such as hangars and terminal buildings. Aircraft are also stored and maintained at airports, which often consist of facilities for these functions. An airport may also consist of water for take-offs and landings. Larger airports are known to feature passenger facilities such as restaurants, lounges, and emergency services, as well as fixed-base operator services, air traffic control, and seaplane docks and ramps. Many of the world’s airports are owned by national government bodies, which are then leased out to private corporations who handle their operations.
An aerodrome, on the other hand, is a term used to refer to places from which aircraft flight operations are conducted, regardless of whether they are passengers, cargo, or neither. This can include large commercial airports, small general aviation airfields, or military airbases. The term aerodrome is more often used in the UK and Commonwealth nations than in other countries, and it is almost unknown in American English. According to the definition given by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an aerodrome is “a defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of aircraft.”
Airports and aerodromes are both important locations in aviation. However, while there are instances when they can be used synonymously, it is crucial to know the differences between the two to use them in the correct context. An aerodrome is a place where flight operations can take place, while an airport has specific functions such as the landing and taking off of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and blimps. Airports must meet the standards of the ICAO, while aerodromes have no specific standards except for safety guidelines. Airports consist of a large area encompassing at least one runway, a flat surface where aircraft land or take off, a helipad for helicopter landing, and buildings such as hangars and terminal buildings. In contrast, aerodromes are basic spaces where flight operations can function. Airports include small local airports, heliports, large commercial airports, seaplane bases, and STOLports, whereas aerodromes include small general aviation airfields, military airbases, and large commercial airports. The term “airport” is widely used globally, while the term “aerodrome” is mostly used in the UK and Commonwealth countries and is almost unheard of in other countries.