California airports

The U.S. state of California has many international and domestic airports. The two major international California airports are Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airports.

There are 27 primary commercial airports in California offering commercial flights and in this post, we’ll be looking at them.

The three major California airports are Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and San Diego International Airport (SAN).

These primary commercial airports in California have been placed into one of the three categories: International, Domestic, or Regional.

International Airports in California are capable of handling customs and immigration as well as have flights to and from other countries. International airports in California also handle domestic flights and are usually larger and have more traffic.

Domestic airports in California scheduled flights within the country. Regional airports in California (a type of domestic airport that schedules flights within a limited geographic area) are usually smaller in size and handle a lower number of flights annually than other domestic or international airports in California.

List of Commercial Service Airports in California

California airports
Airport NameIATA CodesCity Served
Arcata AirportACVArcata/Eureka
Meadows FieldBFLBakersfield
Hollywood Burbank AirportBURBurbank
Buchanan Field AirportCCRConcord
Fresno Yosemite International AirportFATFresno
Long Beach AirportLGBLong Beach
Los Angeles International AirportLAXLos Angeles
Mammoth Yosemite AirportMMHMammoth Lakes
Monterey Regional AirportMRYMonterey
Oakland International AirportOAKOakland
Ontario International AirportONTOntario
John Wayne AirportSNAOrange County
Palm Springs International AirportPSPPalm Springs
Redding Municipal AirportRDDRedding
Sacramento International AirportSMFSacramento
San Diego International AirportSANSan Diego
San Francisco International AirportSFOSan Francisco
San José International AirportSJCSan Jose
San Luis Obispo County Regional AirportSBPSan Luis Obispo
Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County AirportSTSSanta Rosa
Santa Barbara Municipal AirportSBASanta Barbara
Santa Maria Public AirportSMXSanta Maria
Stockton Metropolitan AirportSCKStockton
Del Norte County AirportCECCrescent City
Merced Regional AirportMCEMerced
Imperial County AirportIPLImperial / El Centro
McClellan–Palomar AirportCLDCarlsbad

Top 12 Major California Airports

california airports

1. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)  

Los Angeles International Airport is the principal airport of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. It is located in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles about 18 miles southwest of Downtown Los Angeles.

LAX handled more than 88 million passengers in 2019 making it the busiest airport in California, the second-busiest in the United States, and the third busiest in the world.

Los Angeles International Airport is a hub for several airlines including American, United, Delta, and Air New Zealand. ‘

2. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) 

This Airport is located about 13 miles south of Downtown San Francisco. It is the second busiest airport in California and the largest in the San Francisco Bay Area.

It is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco and serves as a hub for Alaska Airlines and United Airlines.

california airports
San Francisco International Airport

3. San Diego International Airport (SAN) 

San Diego International Airport formerly known as Lindbergh Field is a public-use airport owned and operated by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. It is located about 3 miles northwest of Downtown San Diego.

It handled 25 million passengers in 2019, making it the third busiest airport in California by passenger count.

SAN primarily serves domestic flights and non-stop international flights to destinations in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and the UK.

4. San Jose International Airport (SJC)   

This airport’s full name is Norman Y.Mineta San Jose International Airport. SJC is a city-owned public airport named after San Jose native Norman Yoshio Mineta.

San Jose International Airport is the second-busiest airport by passenger boarding in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It is also an official U.S. Customs and Border Protection International port of entry.

It is the focus city for Alaska Airlines.

5. Oakland International Airport  (OAK)   

This airport is located about 10 miles south of Downtown Oakland, in Oakland, California, USA. Oakland International Airport is a public-use airport owned and operated by the Port of Oakland.

The airport has domestic passenger flights to all the cities in the United States and international flights to destinations in Mexico and the Azores as well as Cargo flights to China and Japan.

As of 2019, it had a passenger count of 13 million, making it one of the busiest airport in California.  

6. Sacramento International Airport  (SMF)  

Sacramento International Airport is one of the major airports in California with a passenger count of 13 million (as of 2019). The airport is situated about 10.5 miles northwest of Downtown Sacramento and it serves the Greater Sacramento Area.

Sacramento International Airport is the main point of entry to the State Capitol of California, Old Sacramento & tunnels, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area, and Hawver Cave.

It is also a point of entry to Northern California attraction sites like the Heavenly Mountain Resort,  Napa Wine Country, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite National park.

california airports
Sacramento International Airport

7. John Wayne Airport  (SNA) 

This is a public-use airport located in Orange County, California, and owned and operated by the county. It serves Orange County, California, and the Greater Los Angeles Area.

John Wayne Airport was formerly called Orange County Airport and was named after John Wayne a famous actor who lived in Newport Beach.

It is the only commercial airport in Orange County and the Airport’s focus is domestic connections, mostly by United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines.

8. Ontario International Airport  (ONT)   

Ontario International Airport is a public airport located about 2 miles east of downtown and 38 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles, in San Bernardino County.

The airport is owned and operated under a joint power agreement with the city of Ontario and San Bernardino County. Apart from Ontario, this airport also serves cities in San Bernardino County and Inland Empire, California.

Ontario International Airport is the West Coast air and truck hub for UPS Airlines as well as a major distribution point for FedEx Express.

9. Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)  

Hollywood Burbank Airport is another major airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area, located about 3 miles northwest of downtown Burbank, in Los Angeles County, California.

BUR serves the northern Greater Los Angeles Area (Glendale, Pasadena, and the San Fernando Valley) and is owned and operated by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.  

The airport is a gateway to many attractions like Griffith Park, Universal Studios Hollywood, Hollywood, and Downtown Los Angeles.

It is also the only airport in Greater Los Angeles Area with a direct rail connection to Downtown Los Angeles.

Its two terminals handle passenger flying with Southwest, JetBlue, JSX, just to name a few. Its top non-stop flights are mostly domestic to cities in the western United States.

10. Long Beach Airport (LGB)  

Long Beach Airport was formerly known as Daugherty Field. It is one of the major airports in California with a passenger count of 3.5 million (as of 2019).

The airport is located 3 miles northeast of downtown Long Beach in Los Angeles County, California and currently handles mostly domestic routes through its largest airline Southwest Airlines.

11. Palm Springs International Airport ( PSP)   

Palm Springs International Airport is a public airport located 2 miles east of downtown Palm Springs. This airport covers 940 acres of land and has 2 runways.

It is owned by the City of Palm Springs and is operated by the City of Palm Springs Aviation Department. PSP operates all year-round with most flights occurring in the fall, winter, and spring.

Its top domestic routes are San Francisco and Seattle. It also offers low flight fares via Airlines like JetBlue, SunCountry, and Frontier Airlines.

12. Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)   

Fresno Yosemite International Airport is a joint civil-military airport located in Fresno, California. It is the main commercial airport for the San Joaquin Valley and these national parks: Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.

Fresno Yosemite International Airport offers scheduled passenger flights to multiple major airline hubs in the U.S. and international service to Mexico.  


As you can see above, there are 27 commercial service airports in California, and out of these, 12 are major and the busiest airports in the state.

These public commercial service California airports together handle hundreds of millions of passenger boardings annually.

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