From Wikipedia: Wittman Regional Airport (latest revision as of 2 Aug 2013):

For the week of AirVenture Oshkosh (known locally as "The Airshow" or "The Fly-in"), Wittman Regional is the world's busiest airport by traffic movements.

From Wikipedia: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (latest revision as of 29 Aug 2013):

The airport's control tower is the busiest control tower in the world during the gathering.

Both reference EAA AirVenture takes flight for the future. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 24, 2004. It only says:

So many planes take off and land, in fact, that tiny Wittman Field is transformed into the world's busiest airport during the convention.

From Wikipedia: World's busiest airport (latest revision as of 31 Aug 2013):

The world's busiest airport by traffic movements during the seven-day EAA AirVenture Oshkosh event. 25,000 traffic movements are handled in a week during the yearly event [...]

It references "EAA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 36". August 2004, and links here, which is actually EAA Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 36, from August 2003.

The summary of the story reads:

During this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, some 25,000 takeoffs and landings will be performed at Wittman Field, making this the world’s busiest airport.

Does Wittman Regional Airport's 25,000 takeoffs and landings during EAA AirVenture Oskhosh make it the world's busiest airport and control tower during that period?

  • 25.000 movements in a week translates to 2.5 a minute, for 24 hours for 7 weeks. Ie, even if the traffic was spread out evenly over the week and the 24 hours of the week, that would mean a landing o takeoff every 24 seconds. More realistically, it would mean a high traffic volume of a takeoff or landing every ten seconds. That seems very high for an airport without parallel landing strips. This can be compared to Atlanta, which has somewhat less movements per week, but has FIVE parallel strips that can be used at the same time. Sep 12 '13 at 7:46
  • @LennartRegebro During these 7 days, a waiver has been issued reducing arrival and departure separation standards. And, more than one aircraft may be instructed to “Line Up and Wait” on the runway, using both sides of the centerline. OSH has two parallel runways (runway 36R/18L and 36L/18R) and one perpendicular to them (09/27). OSH uses 09/27 simultaneously with 18R or 18L. ATC can direct pilots to land at one of several colored dots spaced out along the runway to allow up to 3 simultaneous landings on the same runway. See p. 8-13.
    – user5582
    Sep 12 '13 at 14:44
  • Wow, three landings on one runway, that's crazy. I realize it's small slow planes, but still. By combining these things you do get upwards a minute thirty per plane per landing spot which seems more realistic. Sep 12 '13 at 15:30
  • @LennartRegebro It is kind of crazy! I think it's not the norm that they are forced to use all three (or two, depending on the runway) landing spots at once, though.
    – user5582
    Sep 12 '13 at 15:49

There are several ways of mesuring 'busiest airport', but the one being used here is 'aircraft movements' (i.e. a landing or takeoff).

The airport listed as the worlds busiest over a year, according to Wikipedia, is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport with around 900,000 movements a year. Several others are in the same range. Assuming that their traffic is approximately the same over the year, that works out at 17,000 movements a week. During the week of "The Airshow" Wittman Regional is busier than Hartsfield-Jackson.

I would be surprised if weekly variations in traffic at any of the very busy major airport took their weekly traffic to over 25,000 movements. However I have no way of knowing if some other one-off event converted some other small airfield to an even more crowded aviation hub. It seems unlikely. The Independent says:

EAA's AirVenture far outstrips any other airshow on the planet in terms of scale.

  • This is about as far as I got as well. I couldn't find data for those busiest airports on a weekly scale to confirm they don't have weekly fluctuations that take them above 25,000 movements per week at the end of July. I'd also be surprised if it was the case, though.
    – user5582
    Sep 10 '13 at 20:10
  • and it'd have to be that specific week as well, because the claim is only valid for that specific week (which also is not the same one every year).
    – jwenting
    Sep 11 '13 at 3:15
  • @jwenting Yup. That specific week. It's usually the last week of July, though.
    – user5582
    Sep 11 '13 at 3:51
  • @Sancho and the busiest week for commercial airports shifts as it's linked to school holidays which are rather more variable.
    – jwenting
    Sep 11 '13 at 5:06
  • @jwenting No school holidays in July, so I expect this will be more stable. Even if not, if we had data for several years, we could see how variable it actually is week-to-week around that time of year.
    – user5582
    Sep 11 '13 at 5:21

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