Monumental year for Ohio State Airport: KOSU led Ohio with highest count of takeoffs and landings in 2020

Posted: February 10, 2021
Image of collage of aircraft at KOSU in black and white with a red banner "serving central ohio in 2020 - KOSU recorded most takeoffs & landings statewide, providing critical access to air transportation"

During the midst of the pandemic, The Ohio State University Airport has facilitated essential travel, medical-related transportation and flight training. In so doing, it propelled to first place in the number of takeoffs and landings for all airports in Ohio during 2020.

Don Scott Field, as it’s locally known, served 84,220 takeoffs and landings during calendar year 2020, as counted by the Air Traffic Activity System (see below). While typically hovering around the ranking of third-busiest airport in Ohio, the changed dynamics of air travel during COVID-19 advanced the airport to first place.

Airport Director Adam Wolf expressed his appreciation for those who kept the airport operational during extraordinary circumstances. “I’m proud of the dedication and professionalism exhibited by our staff and flight education students throughout 2020,” he said. “Their willingness to adapt to new protocol, while maintaining excellence in safety and service allowed us to continue to provide critical access to air transportation in central Ohio.”

The increased number of operations at KOSU combined with reduced commercial air travel at larger airports likely contributed to the ranking. Ohio State had 83,888 takeoffs and landings in 2019 and, prepandemic, had been projected to reach 92,000 operations in 2020.

According to Stephanie Morgan, executive director of the university’s Air Transportation & Aerospace Campus, the aviation industry-wide decline has been somewhat less impactful for general aviation. Comprising the majority of travel through Ohio State airport, general aviation encompasses most flights piloted by civilians outside of scheduled airline service, including for medical transportation, package delivery, law enforcement and pilot training.

“Our first-place ranking resulted from a period of unparalleled difficulty,” shared Wolf. “However, we’re grateful to have been an important gateway for flights to and from the region, and to have provided safe training for future aviation professionals.”


Image of airport operations ranking chart for Ohio