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Proposal status: Canceled (inactive)
Proposed by: Jeisenbe
Tagging: aerodrome=*
Applies to: node area
Definition: Classification of a aeroway=aerodrome as an international airport, other commercial airport, general aviation aerodrome (default value), private aerodrome, or airstrip.

Draft started: 2019-09-10

Canceled by author. Suggest tagging individual properties instead, like international_flights=yes for international airports, commercial_flights=yes for commercial airports, etc.

Classification of a aeroway=aerodrome as an international airport, other commercial airport, general aviation aerodrome (default value), private aerodrome, or airstrip, with aerodrome=*. Deprecate aerodrome:type=* and aeroway=airstrip

This proposal was based on the earlier proposal by Jgpacker, Proposed_features/Aerodrome


Approve the key aerodrome=* to classify the purpose of an aeroway=aerodrome, with values:

Note: military=airfield will continue to be used for military aerodromes

This proposal would also deprecate the use of aerodrome:type=* and type=* with aerodrome=*, and the tag aeroway=airstrip


Many years ago, there were tags for aeroway=airfield, aeroway=aerodrome and aeroway=airport. However, at one point all were merged to just aeroway=aerodrome which is now used to tag all airports, aerodromes, and airfields. These all fit within the ICAO definition for aerodrome: "A defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of aircraft." But while this definition is fine for pilots, it isn't very helpful for general map users.

Most map users are only interested in aerodromes that offer airline service: regularly scheduled commercial air transport of passengers, where you can buy a ticket in advance. Aerodromes that offer such passenger airline service are popularly referred to as "airports", and they all have IATA codes, like "iata=LAX" for Los Angeles Airport, which are used to book tickets.

However, not every aerodrome with an IATA code actually offers commercial air transport of passengers. Some used to offer such service, but have not had scheduled flights for many years, others plan to start service in the future but do not yet have flights. It would be best if mappers had a way to tag commercial airports, where anyone can get a seat on a flight: aerodrome=commercial is proposed for these airports.

It's also useful to tag which airports offer regularly scheduled international passenger flights. Such commercial airports always have customs and immigration services. The tag aerodrome=international is proposed for these. Note that some airports may use "international" in their name, perhaps aspirationally, but if they do not have international commericial flights they should not use this tag.

Military airfields are already tagged with landuse=military + military=airfield + aeroway=aerodrome - so no additional aerodrome=* tag is needed.

Most other airports are used for "general aviation:" any sort of flying other than commercial air transport. Most of these do not have an IATA code, but many are available for public use, for chartered flights, "air taxi" service in remote areas, airsports, and similar services. These public general aviation aerodromes can now be tagged aerodrome=general_aviation - many are currently tagged aerodrome:type=public but this is less clear. These aerodromes do not have commercial airline flights, but do have some services.

Some aerodromes are not open to the public, and are only available for private flights. Pilots must request permission in advance before using these aerodromes. These may be tagged aerodrome=private - but it's also recommended to use an appropriate value of access=*.

Finally, there are are airstrips aka landing strips. The tag aerodrome=airstrip should be used for aerodromes that only have an unpaved runway with no services available. In some cases this may just be a meadow most of the year, only used seasonally as a runway. Unlike most general aviation aerodromes, an airstrip will not have hangars, fuel, or paved taxiways or a paved runway, or other services. (If an aerodrome has an unpaved runway but has services like a terminal building, fuel, and hangars, or scheduled commercial passenger service, then it should not be tagged with this tag, but use one of the other values as appropriate)

Deprecated tagging: type=* and aerodrome:type=* and aeroway=airstrip

In the past many aeroway=aerodrome were tagged with type=* - however this key should now only be used to specify the type of relation, such as type=multipolygon.

There is also a tag aerodrome:type=*, used with the tags aerodrome:type=international, aerodrome:type=regional, aerodrome:type=gliding, aerodrome:type=airfield, aerodrome:type=public, aerodrome:type=private, and aerodrome:type=military - but aerodrome=* is shorter.

It is proposed that type=* and aerodrome:type=* be replaced by aerodrome=*. This will clear up ambiguity, and also assist renderers and others in prioritising and determining the importance of an aerodrome.

Also, there is a tag aeroway=airstrip which was mostly used in one import in New Zealand to map small airstrips. This tag would be deprecated with the recommended replacement aeroway=aerodrome + aerodrome=airstrip - however only mappers with local knowledge should change these tags.


Create a node node at the center of the aerodrome or an area area along the fence or wall the forms the boundary of the airport, and tag with aeroway=aerodrome, plus aerodrome=*

Proposed values

  • aerodrome=international for commercial airports that have regularly scheduled commercial passenger airline service to another country. These are a subset of aerodrome=commercial and include all of the largest airports in the world, and many mid-sized airports that have only 1 or 2 international flights per week. They always have an IATA code (and ICAO code), which should be tagged as well.
  • aerodrome=commercial for airports that have regularly-scheduled commercial passenger airline service. These aerodromes almost always have an IATA code. An airline may fly planes of any size, including very small planes, but offers tickets to the general public in advance. Some of these airports are quite small, but if they offer a scheduled flight commercial flight even once or twice a week they are quite useful in remote areas.
  • aerodrome=general_aviation for a public use general aviation aerodrome: one that is available for use by pilots without a requirement for prior approval of the owner or operator, however, does not offer commercial passenger airline flights. Usually these lack an IATA code. Note that this value should be considered the "default" and does not need to be tagged, since most aerodromes are used for general aviation.
  • aerodrome=private for a private use aerodrome, usually owned by a company or individual and often offering specialized flying services that are not intended for human transportation, such as agricultural operations, crop dusting, surveying, etc.
  • aerodrome=airstrip: undeveloped aerodromes that only have a short unpaved runway with no services available.

Tagging a military aerodrome

If an aerodrome is exclusively used by a military station, then add the tag landuse=military + military=airfield to the aerodrome

If it is only partially used by a military station, then simply add landuse=military to the military areas (example)

Values not included in this proposal

There are a number of other currently used values for aerodrome=* which are not included in this proposal: "public", "regional", "gliding", "airfield", and "airsport" are the most common. These can be reclassified to "commercial" (most "regional" and some "public") and the rest do not need to be changed, since they are sub-types of "general aviation".

A few mappers have used "mountain_airfield" - some of these may be aerodrome=airstrip but if not, they are probably subtypes of "general aviation" and do not need to be changed. Those with value "military" should have military=airfield if appropriate.

Note that heliports and helipads are tagged with aeroway=heliport and aeroway=helipad.

Applies to

node nodes and area area, requires aeroway=aerodrome


No special rendering is required.

Features/Pages affected

Create new pages:

List as deprecated:

Mention new key:

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.