Difference Between Airport and Aerodrome

Airport vs Aerodrome

Airport and aerodrome are two different words that are closely related to one another yet yield considerable differences. However, due to the similarity between these two words, they tend to be used interchangeably. This must not be so since airport and airdrome stand for different entities entirely.

What is an Airport?

An airport is typically defined as a place where aircrafts take off or land. It consists of at least one runway, a flat surface where aircrafts land or take off, a helipad for helicopter landing, and buildings such as hangars and terminal buildings. Aircrafts are also stored and maintained at airports and often consist of facilities for these functions, as well. An airport also may consist of water for take-offs and landings, as well.

Larger airports are also 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 the national government bodies which are then leased out to private corporations who handle their operations.  

What is an Aerodrome?

Aerodrome is a term that is used to refer to places from which aircraft’s flight operations are functioned, regardless of whether they are passengers, cargo or neither. This can be 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 any other countries while it is almost unknown in American English. As per 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.”

What is the difference between Aerodrome and Airport?

Airports and aerodromes are both important locations when speaking of aviation. However, while there are a few instances when they can be used synonymously, it is important to know the differences between the two in order to use them in the correct context.

• An aerodrome is a place where flight operations can take place. In an airport, functions such as the landing and the taking off of helicopters, fixed-winged aircrafts and blimps also happen.

• Airports must meet the standards of the ICAO. Aerodromes have no specific standards except safety guidelines.

• All airports can be referred to as aerodromes, but not all aerodromes can be referred to as airports.

• Airports consist of a large area encompassing at least one runway, a flat surface where aircrafts land or take off, a helipad for helicopter landing, and buildings such as hangars, and terminal buildings. Aerodromes are basic spaces where flight operations can function.

• Airports include small local airports, heliports, large commercial airports, seaplane base, and STOLport, whereas aerodromes include small general aviation airfields, military airbases and large commercial airports.

• The term airport is widely used all over the world. The term aerodrome is mostly used in the UK and Commonwealth countries, whereas it is almost unheard of in other countries.