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Settling the debate: Which airport is the third largest in the state?

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jul 27, 2023

APPLETON/GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Over the years, both the Appleton International Airport and Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport have claimed they are the third largest airport in the state.

With Milwaukee ranked first and Madison second, Green Bay and Appleton were left to battle out, and NBC 26 set out to declare a winner.

“We consider ourselves the third largest airport in Wisconsin,” said Marty Piette, the Green Bay Airport director.

“We're kind of ranking ourselves as third largest airport in the state,” said Abe Weber, the Appleton Airport director.

In 2022, Appleton had 846,840 total passengers and Green Bay had 612,539. Both are expecting more travelers this year.

“We think we'll see additional growth right now; we're going between 11 and 14%,” said Weber.

"We're up this year about 9% over 2022,” said Piette.

When it comes to size, GRB might have ATW beat.

“The airport itself is comprised of a little over 2,000 acres,” said Piette.

“We own almost 1,900 acres of ground on the airport,” said Weber.

For actual terminal size, ATW comes in at around 165,000 square feet and GRB is more than 200,000.

Size is one thing, but traveler experience should be considered too.

Guido Rietdyk, who flew into Appleton said, “New, nice facilities. Seems like a small regional airport that's really well maintained.”

Where Green Bay flier Anfela Olds said, “I think it's nice. I think the people that work here are very friendly, I think it's clean.”

So, travelers, as well as Weber and Piette think you can't go wrong either way.

“We have two great airports right. We have two airports that are growing with great connectivity to the world,” said Piette.

“Both airports are really working hard to grow and develop, and you know the winner is really the community in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Weber.

So, really, both airports win. Green Bay wins the largest airport by size and Appleton wins the largest airport by busyness.

Number of Travelers in 2022

Land Size

Terminal Size

Appleton International Airport

846,840 passengers

1,900 acres

165,000 square feet

Green Bay Austin Straubel Internatinal Airport

612,539 passengers

2,000 acres

more than 200,000 square feet