A typology of rural airports in the United States: Evaluating network accessibility

Fangwu Wei, Anthony Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Since deregulation of the airline industry in 1978, carriers have largely focused their commercial service efforts on medium and large hub airports located in metropolitan areas with sufficient demand for air travel services. These profitable locations often cross-subsidize service to smaller hubs, which can function as feeder nodes/links to the larger hub-to-hub carrier network. However, as fuel and labor costs continue to increase for commercial carriers, reductions and terminations of air service in smaller rural markets are common, reducing carrier footprints and leaving many regions of the United States without viable air transport options. To be clear, this is not a new development. Many rural and remote airports are all too familiar with service reductions, which is why safeguards such as the Essential Air Service program continue to operate. The purpose of this paper is to explore the network and geographic context of airports in the U.S., evaluating relative accessibility and using this information to develop a typology of rural airports for the U.S. Implications for policy and transportation planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-85
Number of pages29
JournalReview of Regional Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015


  • Network
  • Planning
  • Rural airport
  • Transportation
  • Typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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