The Largest Airport in the World That Never Happened

December 29, 2022

A View of the 1968 Proposed Everglades Jetport in Florida, the largest airport that wasn't built
A View of the 1968 Proposed Everglades Jetport Google Earth

It was an airport that was supposed to be five times the size of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and the home of supersonic aircraft carrying 300 passengers at a time. But this spot in the Everglades in Florida never got past building one lonely runway.

The project for this mega-sized airport in South Florida was proposed in 1968. It was going to be called the Everglades Jetport and was meant to have six runways and high-speed rail lines connecting to all the major surrounding cities. The spot was chosen due to its location, and since supersonic aircraft were going to be using the airport, the sonic booms that would have annoyed people on the ground would instead happen over the ocean.

The Dade County Port Authority bought up 39 square miles of swamp land 36 miles from Miami and near the Everglades National Park. It was largely uninhabited, making it the ideal spot for loud supersonic aircraft. The plan was for people to access the airport using a high-speed monorail and a new 1,000-foot wide roadway running from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf of Mexico. But it never happened.

Environmental concerns brought the idea quickly to an end as a report in 1969, the first environmental impact study in Florida, said the new airport would destroy the Everglades National Park and the surrounding ecosystem. The project was all but dead by 1970 when the Everglades Jetport Pact halted all construction and ended it for good. 

There had also been a significant change in the direction of future aircraft design. Boeing had been working on a supersonic aircraft called the Boeing 2707 but canceled it in 1971. The Concorde and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144, the only supersonic passenger aircraft in existence, weren’t enough to rely on for the airport and served only specific markets.

In the end, one runway had been constructed 10,499 feet long, which became a training ground for the airlines and other pilots with only touch-and-go landings allowed. Today, it’s operated by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and is open from eight in the morning to 5:30 at night. The airport is known as the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport or by its airport code TNT.

Everglades Jetport2
The One Runway Google Earth

The airport only has a trailer as an office and is run by four employees. There is no control tower or fueling facility, and Full-stop landings are not permitted at the field outside of an emergency. The area is now part of the Big Cypress National Preserve, but the airport owns 24,960 acres left over from the original project. Miami International Airport, which the Miami-Dade Aviation Department also runs, is on 3,320 acres.

Sources: CNN, National Park Service, Daily Mail

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Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites (you can find out how to join below). I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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