Difference Between Airport and Aerodrome (With Table)

Globally, there is much to explore. To accomplish the task of exploring this beauty, travellers go to various parts of the world. In this process, there are two terms they come across, Airport and Aerodrome. These words often confuse some people. Let us take a closer look.

Airport vs Aerodrome

The main difference between airport and aerodrome is that “airport” is a worldwide popular term and is not unknown to anyone. It is a place with at least a single runway, domestic and international flights with facilities for passengers. On the other hand, the term “aerodrome” is used to define any base where aircraft operations take place.

An airport is a place where domestic and international flights facility is available. In addition to this, there is a runway and waiting room facility. It is a well-known term used almost everywhere. There are around 40 thousand airports around the world. Necessary maintenance and medical facilities are available at the airport.

An aerodrome is a place for the take-off and landing of planes. It does not necessarily have to be flights for passengers. It is a less common term. Even military bases can be considered an aerodrome. It doesn’t comply with any norms. It may not have facilities for passengers. This term is more popular in UK and Commonwealth countries.

Comparison Table Between Airport and Aerodrome

Parameters of ComparisonAirportAerodrome
DefinitionAn airport is a place for the arrival and departure of flights with at least a runway and passengers facilities.An aerodrome is a place where flight operation takes place regardless of passengers, military aircraft, cargo.
Located onLandLand and water
ICAO standardsShould match these standards.Do not follow standards. Just follow safety guidelines.
Passenger facilitiesAvailableNot necessarily available
PopularityMore commonly used, almost everywhere in the world.The less popular term
used in UK and Commonwealth nations.
A place with basic facilities, runway, domestic/ international flights is only called an airport.
Any place with flight operations is an aerodrome. All airports are Aerodromes.
ExampleChennai International AirportCotswold Airport

What is an Airport?

An airport can be understood as a place for landing and take-off of aeroplanes. It has runways for the plane to take off or land. Minimum one runway is required. An airport can be classified into five types, namely, national, regional, local, basic and unclassified.

An airport has facilities for the convenience of passengers. These include a waiting room, security check, check-in facility, passport control. The check-in facility comes with the advantage of baggage drop off.

An airport needs to have either domestic flights or international flights. It can have both. It is mandatory to follow and surpass the standards mentioned by ICAO.
There are eating hubs located in or near the airport. These are usually called airport restaurants.

Even shops are available which can be explored during the waiting hours. All this is done for comforting the passengers.
It is a common term used worldwide.

What is an Aerodrome?

An aerodrome is also known as an airdrome(American English) . It is a place where flight operations take place. It can be an airstrip, water aerodrome, airport or any other place. It deals with landing and taking off aeroplanes without specific runway requirements.

It just has to follow safety guidelines. It doesn’t follow ICAO standards. It may or may not have a massive staff like an airport.
It is not necessary to have domestic or international flights. No passenger facility is taken into consideration. It is used for varied purposes.

It can be further divided into various types. These are an airport, airbase, airstrip, water aerodrome. Even military bases are counted as aerodromes.

It is a less common term. It is almost unknown to native Americans. It is used in UK and Commonwealth countries.It has a broader spectrum as all airports can be considered as aerodromes but not all aerodromes are airports.

Eating hubs, shops, waiting rooms, baggage drop off and other facilities are not necessarily available at all aerodromes.

Main Differences Between an Airport and Aerodrome

  1. An airport is a place with runways for taking off and landing flights. On the other hand, aerodromes deal with flight operations without necessarily having a runway.
  2. An airport must follow ICAO standards. Whereas, an aerodrome has no specific standard regulations. They only follow safety guidelines.
  3. An airport has domestic and international flights but an aerodrome deals with flight operations irrespective of domestic and international flights and passengers.
  4. An airport can always be considered an aerodrome but an aerodrome may not necessarily be an airport.
  5. “Airport” is a very popular term used by everyone around the world. But the term aerodrome is limited to UK and Commonwealth Nations.
  6. An airport takes care of the passengers and facilities for them. On the other hand, an aerodrome may or may not have these facilities.


Both the terms, airport and aerodrome are related to flights. They are sometimes used interchangeably but they have considerable differences. An airport is a more specific term. The guidelines and norms for a place to be called an airport are particular. It must have at least a runway with domestic/ international flights.

Here, an aeroplane can land and take off. A lot of passenger facilities are available and security is looked after. The baggage drops off, restaurants, waiting rooms are some of these facilities. A boarding pass is required for flights. It is a popular term known and used worldwide.

An aerodrome is a place for aircraft operations. It may or may not deal with domestic and international flights. It can be on land or water.

Planes can land and take off here. It is a more general term by nature. It is less frequently used. Its use is confined to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Nations.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8969870/
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3729975