A Toolkit for Establishing Airport Catchment Areas

An airport's catchment area is the area around an airport from which it can reasonably expect to attract customers. An accurate estimation of an airport's catchment area enables operators and airlines to make informed decisions, target potential markets, and aid in forecasting activity. An airport's catchment area is dynamic, may change over time, and is influenced by many factors, including ground access, air service and airfares, distance from population centers, demographics, and proximity to other airports. An airport may even have distinct catchment areas for different passenger market segments (e.g., business travel, international travel). Often, an airport must rely on costly and time-consuming approaches to estimate its catchment areas. Emerging technologies are reimagining and reinventing the industry. Such tools may help airports determine their catchment areas that may still be largely unrealized and untested. While many airports have defined catchment areas from prior studies, research is needed to guide airports on the application of these tools and other methodologies that can better reflect emerging trends, optimize increasingly limited resources, and aid airports to better establish their catchment areas. The objective of this research is to develop a toolkit that will help an airport establish their unique catchment area. The toolkit should include a guide to utilizing resources, in addition to providing analytical methods and approaches that would best map a catchment area. At a minimum, the toolkit should include resources that: (1) Assess the potential effects and trends that may determine a catchment area; (2) Create methodology and catchment area models to address identified effects and trends. Such methodology and models should be defendable to a variety of stakeholders (i.e., airlines, local board or advisory committee, etc.); (3) Are easily used and understood by practitioners with varying degrees of expertise; (4) Contain data that is utilized by the airlines; and (5) Encompass data collected from new and emerging technology. The guide should: (1) Define and explain the resources included in the toolkit; (2) Provide steps on how to use the resources, such as cleaning, verifying, and visualizing the data; and (3) Address the adaptability of the data sources that may be updated and maintained from time to time.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-62

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Navarette, Joseph

  • Performing Organizations:

    Purdue University

    1040 South River Road
    West Lafayette, IN  United States  47907
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gao, Yi

  • Start Date: 20210604
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20230630

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01748068
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-62
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 18 2020 9:54AM