Defining Your Airport’s Catchment Area

Your airport’s catchment area is the geographic area from which your airport can reasonably expect to draw commercial air service passengers. It is defined by several factors, including geographical and access considerations and proximity of alternative aviation facilities.

However, airport use by your airport’s catchment area population is affected by a variety of factors, including:

  • proximity to a competing airport(s)
  • airfares, destinations offered
  • capacity (airline seats)
  • flight frequency
  • low-fare carrier presence at nearby airports

A thorough understanding of the number of travelers from your airport’s catchment area that use the local airport and the catchment area of surrounding airports where local passengers divert will assist the airline in estimating total catchment area travelers. This, in turn, will inform efforts to estimate route profitability. Catchment areas are typically assessed based on drive times to the nearest airport and do not overlap the catchment area of another airport.