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Site Notification

Site Notification

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Rural Airports

Wednesday, August 9, 2023


The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the Office of the Research and Technology Administration, compiles the list of rural airports annually for the Treasury Department/IRS.  This list is used by airlines to assist in establishing air fares.  For travel to and from airports defined as “rural airports,” the ad valorem ticket tax was reduced and, presently, flight segments involving the last segment into or first segment out of a rural airport are exempt from the segment fee.  The rural airports designation originated with The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.

Please see below section “Current Rural Airports Master Files” for the current BTS list of Rural Airports.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a Rural Airport as any airport that:

  • Has fewer than 100,000 commercial passengers departing from the airport by air during the second preceding calendar year* and one of the following is true:
    • The airport is not located within 75 miles of another airport from which 100,000 or more commercial passengers departed during the second preceding calendar year,
    • The airport was receiving essential air service subsidies as of August 5, 1997, -or-
    • The airport is not connected by paved roads to another airport.

To apply the 100,000 passenger rule to any airport, only commercial passengers departing from the airport by air on flight segments of at least 100 miles are to be counted.

*Second preceding calendar year is defined as two calendar years prior to the year in question. In regards to the Rural Airports, the most recent list of airports provided by the FAA to DOT is 2023. 2021 commercial passenger traffic has been used to determine the commercial passenger eligibility criteria.

Additional Information can be found here: is external)

The Rural Airports List has been provided to the IRS by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Office of Airline Information. This is not the official IRS determination of eligible rural airports. The list of rural airports on which taxpayers can rely will be published by the Internal Revenue Service. This list was prepared based on 2021 enplanement statistics and can be used for 2023. Airport distances are calculated from a start and end latitude and longitude based on a constant compass course for a rhumb line between the points (loxodrome) using an Albers Equal Area Projection.

Airport coordinates are based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Imagery and Mapping Agency data.


The Rural Airport list on this site will be updated as needed. Please reference the section below: "Who to Contact For Additional Information" if there is an airport that does not appear on the list and an airport administrator has information that may render an airport eligible.

Who to Contact for Additional Information:

If an airport does not appear on the list and an airport administrator has information that may render an airport eligible, this information should be submitted using the following email address:

Please include in the email:

  • Airport(s) in question
  • Reasons why the Airport(s) should be considered “Eligible”
    • Feel free to include in the email this information (if applicable):
      • IRS Conditions from above and appropriate justification
      • Passenger traffic numbers for the second preceding year
      • Pictures of non-paved roads with street names and cross street names
      • Name of island airport resides
  • The email sender’s contact information  

The Office of Airline Information (OAI) will confirm receipt of the email and will provide a full detailed response upon processing. If an airport has been identified as 'eligible' from an email correspondence between posting dates on the internet, an updated list will be sent to the requestor with the most up-to-date list.

U.S. public and private airports are based on data provided by FAA.  Codes are FAA and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) codes.