The chart above shows the number of airports that have at least 15,000 annual passengers for every 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers) in EU and US states. In both the EU and the US, the smallest states have the most airports per square mile of land, no surprise there.
- The difference between the state with the greatest number of busy airports per area, Malta, and the state with the least (which has busy airports), Alaska, is 81.64 per 10,000 square miles.
- Malta has 259.70 times the number of busy airports per 10,000 square miles that Alaska does.
- The difference between the EU state with the greatest number of busy airports per area, Malta, and the US state with the greatest number of busy airports per area, Rhode Island, is 62.54 per 10,000 square miles.
- Malta has 4.22 times the number of busy airports per 10,000 square miles that Rhode Island does.
- Delaware is the only state in both the EU and the US without a single busy airport.
- The median number of busy airports per 10,000 square miles in the 28 EU states is 2.35 and the mean 5.69.
- The median number of busy airports per 10,000 square miles in the 50 US states is 1.07 and the mean 1.75.
- The median number of busy airports per 10,000 square miles in the 78 EU and US states is 1.29 and the mean 3.16.
- Data for EU airports is from 2016.
- Data for US airports is from 2017.
- EU area data is from 2007.
- US area data is from 2010.
- All figures are rounded to the nearest hundredth.
- Fifteen thousand annual passengers amounts to 41 per day, so busy is loosely defined.
Malta's figure is so large because the state is so small. If states whose landmass is smaller than 10,000 square miles are excluded than the five states with the most airports per area are Greece, Hawaii, Denmark, Massachusetts, and the United Kingdom. Conversely, if states whose landmass is larger than 100,000 square miles are excluded than the five state with the least airports per area are (excluding Delaware which does not have any airports) Kansas, Nebraska, Latvia, Oregon, and South Dakota.
It is interesting to note that US states have many airports per person but it is EU states that have many airports per area. Of course this could be attributable to the fact that EU states have higher population density, whereas US states have much larger states.
Eurostat. 2018. "Number of Commercial Airports (with More Than 15,000 Passenger Units per Year)." Accessed November 25, 2018. http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?query=BOOKMARK_DS-054100_QID_5E0B9564_UID_-3F171EB0&layout=TIME,C,X,0;GEO,L,Y,0;TRA_INFR,L,Z,0;INDICATORS,C,Z,1;&zSelection=DS-054100TRA_INFR,AIRP;DS-054100INDICATORS,OBS_FLAG;&rankName1=TIME_1_0_0_0&rankName2=TRA-INFR_1_2_-1_2&rankName3=GEO_1_2_0_1&rankName4=INDICATORS_1_2_-1_2&sortC=ASC_-1_FIRST&rStp=&cStp=&rDCh=&cDCh=&rDM=true&cDM=true&footnes=false&empty=false&wai=false&time_mode=NONE&time_most_recent=false&lang=EN&cfo=%23%23%23%2C%23%23%23.%23%23%23.
United Nations. 2007. "United Nations Statistics Division - Environment Statistics." Accessed January 23, 2018. https://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/totalarea.htm.
Federal Aviation Authority. 2018. "Enplanements of All Commercial Service Airports (by Rank)." Accessed November 26, 2018. https://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/media/cy17-commercial-service-enplanements.pdf.
United States Census Bureau. September 2012. "United States Summary: 2010: Population and Housing Unit Counts." Accessed January 23, 2018. https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-1.pdf.