There are more than 13,000 airports in the United States, but most passengers only visit a handful of them. In total, the United States CIA says there 41,821 airports in the world, not including older and smaller airports no longer in use or those that have been overgrown from neglect.
In terms of countries with the greatest number of airports, some countries on the list were a little surprising such as Bolivia, a country that has a population roughly the size of Georgia, or Russia, a massive country in terms of land, but with one quarter of the airports of Brazil.
So here is our countdown of the countries with the most airports:
#10 – Indonesia – 673 Airports
Officially, the Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago comprising some 17,000+ islands and more than 238 million people. The country passes through three time zones and covers a distance of more than 3,200 miles.
#9 – Paraguay – 799 Airports
Paraguay, which is somewhere between the size of California and Montana has nearly 800 airports and a population just over 5 million. Many, if not most, of the airfields in Paraguay are small and have a mere dirt patch for a runway.
#8 – Columbia – 836 Airports
Columbia has a rather large population to match its large number of airports. The majority of Columbia’s urban centers are located in the highlands of the Andes Mountains, but the country also encompasses the Amazon rain forest as well as tropical grasslands and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. This creates a wide variety of takeoff and landing challenges for pilots.
#7 – Bolivia – 855 Airports
Bolivia, with an estimated 10 million people, is a very diverse country with more than 35 official languages (although most speak Spanish). This diversity has contributed to the array of arts, cuisine and literature spread across this country’s nearly 425,000 square miles.
#6 – Argentina – 1,138 Airports
Argentina is a fairly large country with more than 1 million square miles and is called the country of immigrants, where more than 40 percent of the country speaks English and 1.5 million speak Italian. The country is highly urbanized, yet the rural areas are often far from cities along dusty and often mountainous roads. There are 35 airports in the Buenos Aries area alone.
#5 – Russia – 1,218 Airports
Russia is a large country with massive swaths of rural country as well as large cities, which are mostly in the Western end of the country. Russia boasts some of the most rural airports in the world, including the recently closed Tiksi Airport or the Khatanga Airport, which is a hub for travelers and expeditions to the North Pole.
#4 – Canada – 1,467 Airports
Canada, with its vast wilderness and rural expanse, not only has nearly 1,500 airports, but many landing areas for planes in the form of thousands of lakes. The country even has a museum dedicated to bush planes called the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center in Ontario and has developed two films on the topic.
Canada’s 34 million people are spread across nearly 4 million square miles. One of its airports is called the Arctic Bay Airport located far north in the Arctic Bay where the record high temperature is 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
#3 – Mexico – 1,714 Airports
Mexico has a varied climate of deserts, jungles, coastal towns and mountains.
Mexico has an extensive network of modern airports and flying domestically is considered an efficient and safe way of travel. Mexico has the most advanced airport structure in all of Latin America.
#2 – Brazil – 4,093 Airports
Population wise, Brazil is a very large country with a rather antiquated transportation system reliant upon waterways such as the Amazon River and the Paraguay River. Thus, the need for better transportation has driven Brazil to build a substantial number of airports.
#1 – United States – 13,513 Airports
Many states within the United States have more airports than most countries. Texas, for example, has more than 450 airports for a population of 26 million people.
The U.S. also boasts many of the most highly traveled airports in the world, including Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which serviced more than 95 million passengers in 2012.
Of the 13,513 airports in the United States, only 503 offer commercial airline service. The rest are utilized by general aviation and military aircraft.