How Many Airports Are In San Francisco? A Close Look

Known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and striking Victorian architecture, San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. But how well connected is the City by the Bay when it comes to air travel? If you’ve wondered about the number of airports serving San Francisco, this comprehensive guide has you covered.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: There are 2 major airports in San Francisco itself, plus several smaller airports in surrounding areas.

In this article, we’ll explore the different airports in San Francisco, including the two major international airports, smaller regional airports, and private airports. We’ll look at passenger traffic, expansion plans, and the economic impact of SFO’s airports. By the end, you’ll understand the critical role these airports play in connecting San Francisco to the nation and world.

The 2 Major Airports in San Francisco

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco International Airport, commonly referred to as SFO, is the largest and busiest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is located approximately 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco.

SFO serves as a major gateway to international and domestic destinations, offering flights to over 50 countries and more than 100 cities in the United States. With its state-of-the-art facilities and excellent customer service, SFO has consistently been ranked among the top airports in the world.

Did you know? According to the Airport Council International, SFO was named the Best Airport in North America in 2019 and 2020.

Oakland International Airport

Oakland International Airport, also known as OAK, is the second-largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is situated approximately 10 miles south of downtown Oakland. While not as busy as SFO, OAK is a popular choice for travelers looking for alternative flight options and lower fares.

The airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights, serving destinations across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Fun fact: OAK was the first airport in the United States to offer free Wi-Fi throughout the entire terminal complex.

If you are planning a trip to San Francisco or the surrounding area, you have two major airports to choose from. Whether you decide to fly into SFO or OAK, both airports provide convenient access to the city and offer a variety of transportation options to get you to your final destination.

It’s always a good idea to compare flight options and fares to find the best deal for your travel needs.

For more information about San Francisco International Airport, you can visit their official website here. To learn more about Oakland International Airport, you can visit their official website here.

Smaller Regional Airports Near San Francisco

While San Francisco International Airport (SFO) may be the main gateway to the Bay Area, there are also several smaller regional airports in close proximity that serve travelers flying into and out of the San Francisco region.

These airports provide convenient alternatives for those looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of a major international airport or for those with specific destinations in mind.

San Jose International Airport

Located about 45 miles southeast of San Francisco, San Jose International Airport (SJC) is a popular choice for travelers looking to access the Silicon Valley area or those heading to destinations in the South Bay.

With both domestic and international flights, SJC offers a wide range of airlines and destinations. The airport also boasts modern amenities, including shopping and dining options, to ensure a comfortable travel experience for passengers.

Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport

For those looking to explore the beautiful wine country of Sonoma County, the Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS) provides a convenient option. Located in Santa Rosa, just about 60 miles north of San Francisco, this regional airport offers flights from a handful of major airlines, including Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.

The airport’s close proximity to the renowned vineyards and charming towns of Sonoma County makes it an ideal choice for wine enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Napa County Airport

If your travels take you to Napa Valley, the Napa County Airport (APC) is the closest airport to this famous wine region. Situated in the heart of Napa County, this small regional airport offers limited commercial service. However, it is mostly used for private and charter flights.

Travelers who choose to fly into Napa County Airport can easily access the world-class wineries, Michelin-starred restaurants, and luxurious resorts that make Napa Valley a premier destination for wine lovers.

So, while San Francisco International Airport may be the main hub for air travel in the Bay Area, these smaller regional airports provide convenient alternatives for travelers looking to explore specific areas or avoid the crowds.

Whether you’re heading to Silicon Valley, Sonoma County, or Napa Valley, these airports offer a hassle-free and efficient way to reach your desired destination.

Private Airports in the San Francisco Area

San Francisco is a bustling city with a rich aviation history. While most people are familiar with the major airports in the area, such as San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport, there are also several private airports that serve the region.

These private airports cater to a different type of traveler, offering convenience, exclusivity, and personalized services. Let’s take a closer look at three of the prominent private airports in the San Francisco area.

Palo Alto Airport

Palo Alto Airport, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is a popular choice for corporate executives, tech entrepreneurs, and private jet owners. With its close proximity to tech giants like Google and Facebook, it’s no wonder that many high-profile individuals choose to fly in and out of this airport.

Palo Alto Airport boasts a state-of-the-art facility, top-notch security measures, and a wide range of amenities for its discerning clientele. Whether you’re arriving for an important business meeting or departing for a luxurious getaway, Palo Alto Airport offers a seamless and comfortable travel experience.

San Carlos Airport

San Carlos Airport, situated between San Francisco and San Jose, is another private airport that serves the Bay Area. This airport is known for its picturesque location and stunning views of the surrounding hills and coastline.

It is a favorite among aviation enthusiasts who appreciate the beauty of flying in and out of this charming airport. San Carlos Airport offers a range of services, including aircraft rentals, flight training, and aircraft maintenance.

Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or a novice looking to take to the skies, San Carlos Airport has everything you need to fulfill your aviation dreams.

Hayward Executive Airport

Hayward Executive Airport, located in the East Bay, is a premier destination for private jet owners and charter operators. This airport prides itself on its exceptional customer service and attention to detail.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to making your travel experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Hayward Executive Airport offers a range of amenities, including luxurious lounges, concierge services, and on-site car rentals.

Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, Hayward Executive Airport ensures that your journey is nothing short of extraordinary.

These private airports in the San Francisco area provide an alternative for those seeking a more exclusive and tailored travel experience. With their top-notch facilities, personalized services, and convenient locations, these private airports offer a level of comfort and convenience that is unparalleled.

So, the next time you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, consider flying into one of these private airports for a truly exceptional travel experience.

Passenger Traffic and Expansion Plans

Record Growth at SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has experienced remarkable growth in passenger traffic over the years. According to, in 2019, SFO served over 57 million passengers, making it one of the busiest airports in the United States.

This record-breaking number can be attributed to the city’s booming economy, increased tourism, and the airport’s efforts to attract new airlines and destinations.

SFO has been investing heavily in infrastructure to accommodate this surge in passenger numbers. The airport has undergone various expansion projects to improve capacity and enhance the overall passenger experience.

These projects include the addition of new terminals, expanded parking facilities, and upgraded security checkpoints. By constantly adapting to meet the needs of travelers, SFO has positioned itself as a leading hub for both domestic and international flights.

OAK Expansion Projects

Oakland International Airport (OAK) has also been making strides in expanding its operations to keep up with the growing demand. As a popular alternative to SFO, OAK has seen a significant increase in passenger traffic in recent years.

One of the major expansion plans at OAK is the construction of a new terminal. This project aims to increase the airport’s capacity and provide better services to passengers. The new terminal will feature state-of-the-art facilities, including modern check-in counters, spacious waiting areas, and improved security measures.

In addition to the new terminal, OAK has also invested in upgrading its parking facilities and enhancing its public transportation options. These improvements are designed to make traveling to and from the airport more convenient for passengers.

With these expansion projects, OAK aims to position itself as a competitive player in the Bay Area’s aviation industry. By providing a seamless travel experience and offering a wide range of flight options, OAK is attracting more travelers and contributing to the overall growth of the region’s air transportation sector.

Economic Impact of San Francisco Airports

The airports in San Francisco have a significant economic impact on the region, supporting jobs, generating revenue, and contributing to the local economy. Let’s take a closer look at the various ways in which these airports contribute to the economic growth of the area.

Jobs and Revenue Supported

The airports in San Francisco, including San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport (OAK), play a crucial role in supporting jobs in the region. According to a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, SFO alone supports around 46,000 direct jobs and contributes nearly $9.6 billion in wages and salaries to the local economy.

These jobs range from airline staff and baggage handlers to security personnel and retail workers.

In addition to job creation, San Francisco airports also generate substantial revenue for the local economy. The same report states that SFO contributes over $20 billion in annual economic activity to the region.

This revenue comes from various sources, including passenger spending, cargo operations, and airport-related businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores.

Tax Contributions

The presence of airports in San Francisco also leads to significant tax contributions to the local, state, and federal governments. According to the Port of San Francisco, which oversees SFO, the airport generates approximately $940 million in tax revenue each year.

This revenue is vital for funding public services, infrastructure development, and education in the region.

The taxes generated by the airports come from a variety of sources, including airport-related businesses, ticket sales, fuel taxes, and parking fees. These tax contributions play a vital role in supporting the overall economic health and development of San Francisco.

Boost to Tourism

The airports in San Francisco act as gateways for millions of tourists visiting the city each year. The convenient access provided by these airports encourages both domestic and international travelers to choose San Francisco as their destination.

This influx of tourists brings in significant revenue for the local economy through spending on accommodations, dining, transportation, and entertainment.

According to the San Francisco Travel Association, the tourism industry in San Francisco generates over $10 billion in visitor spending annually. The presence of well-connected airports, such as SFO and OAK, plays a crucial role in attracting tourists and ensuring a seamless travel experience.


While San Francisco International Airport handles the bulk of air traffic, the entire Bay Area is served by a network of airports vital to the region’s connectivity and economic growth. Understanding the scope of the city’s major airports along with smaller regional and private airports provides insight into how integral aviation is to the San Francisco area as both a transportation hub and tourism hotspot.

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