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California Airports

How Many Airports are There in California?

California has a developed network of commercial and general aviation airports, many of which meet international standards. The touristic potential of the state has established the constant passenger flow. Of the 250 airports, 27 are considered major commercial airports. These airports operate commercial flights and their annual passenger number meets or exceeds the 10,000 people milestone.
The list of major commercial airports in California is topped by two famous international airports: LAX and SFO. Together, they handle about 55% of the total passenger traffic.
The top 5 major international airports in California are the following:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). 12,499,911 passengers, 29% of which took international flights, visited the airport in 2020. 70 airlines operate flights to and from LAX.
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO). 7,976,449 travelers (with a 26% share of ones taking international flights) flew with 47 airlines to and from SFO in 2020.
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN). 17 airlines operating at SAN carried 3,712,404 passengers in 2020. 4% of travelers took international flights.
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC). 2,263,500 travelers visited the airport in 2020, using 12 airlines. 6% of passengers disembarked from planes arriving on international flights.
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF). In 2020, 1,924,811 passengers (including 3% on international flights) used the services of 15 airlines operating at the airport.


Among all California airports, LAX is the busiest one, taking about 30% share of the total passenger traffic of the state. The on-time flight rating is 80.92% for arrivals and 81.52% for departures. The smallest commercial airport in CA is McClellan-Palomar Airport, which offers seasonal flights for about 6,000 passengers a year.
The total annual number of passengers arriving and departing by air in California is estimated to be around 118,000,00. This makes 13% of the total US passenger traffic (for air travel).

Business Aviation in California

All 35 commercial airports in California provide scheduled flights and have fixed operations. The popularity of the aviation-based services within the state prompted the majority of airports to establish scheduled flights. 15 airports provide customs services and can accept business jets arriving from outside the US.


Because of the high demand for business jet services, many international FBO companies have opened offices in California airports. The major FBO caterers present in CA airports are as follows:

  • KaiserAir Oakland. The company provides U.S. Customs, Border Patrol, and food services at airports in California. It serves as the 24/7 access point to Silicon Valley and San Francisco downtown. The DCA Access has been granted by the Transportation Security Administration and thus, can serve as the DCA access point.
  • Castle & Cooke Aviation. Provides a full range of services including hangar storage, fueling, ground handling, US customs services, and passenger services. Located at Van Nuys Airport.
  • Desert Jet. This operator, based at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport, offers aircraft chartering as well as a full range of maintenance services. The company possesses the IS-BAH and NATA Safety certificates.