I wonder why there was no airport?

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Yep, no airport depicted anywhere in Simpsons H&R. The same goes for another open-world game called "Driv3r", though only its Nice (France) map had it but the other two, Miami and Istanbul, didn't. Airports are one of modern life's standards and transportation.

Anyway, I think an airport would have been a great addition to SHAR originally, whether if Radical thought about it or not. It's ideal for high speed cars, since airports have gigantic open land outside of them. The GTA games always included an airport location, which is why I always enjoyed roaming about at speeds. Not just that, but also performing stunts like flipping a car left or right upon jumping off a ramp's side.
I kind of assume the most simplistic answer might be the most disappointing one: Hit & Run didn't really feature airplanes (minus the small plane flying around Level 1's skybox). Since development always had a focus on terrain-based vehicles, they decided against focusing on areas that would promote a false sense of hope that planes would be pilotable. Even GTA III has one pilotable plane (the Dodo), which would promote a good reason for an airport existing in-game. I'd probably be a bit disappointed as a wee tyke to see an airport and then find out there's no such vehicle for me to pilot (especially after those kind NPCs lent me their cars!). This would also be strengthened by Radical's fairly different map design in Road Rage also having the same 'issue' (as the game was always intended to be a Crazy Taxi-esque arcade title with no focus on air travel).

Regarding Driv3r's half-inclusion of it, it's possible air travel was something considered in development? I know some minor issues unfortunately surrounded development that forced the game to be release in a less-than ideal state. Not sure if perhaps France was finished up early or they lacked a good replacement for it?

It's also completely possible that Radical simply lacked a good place to throw the airport, though I strongly feel as if Road Rage's map design would lend more credibility to the idea of it being an intentional choice.
Yeah, the Dodo in GTA3... Man that got so awkward to control after flying it for a while. It was a nice concept being the only flyable vehicle in GTA3, even though Liberty City is not actually meant to be seen from the air, as some buildings don't have roofs and that there are those weird looking voids in certain spots like Saint Mark's and Torrington or Bedford Point.

Also yes, Level 1's small plane in its skybox... That amazed me when I grew up with Simpsons Hit & Run as a child years ago, and I used to think, "Wow, is it possible to grab a plane like that and fly into the sky?" But then later on after progressing the game first time in my life, now I see why there's no flying ability involved, so it's just driving vehicles on the ground. Oh well. But that plane in Level 1, and its "DRINK DUFF" flyer, is still very cool to look at. Same for the witches in Level 7's skybox, even though they're also traffic..."vehicles". XD
Yeah, from what I gather, the Dodo was a fun little vehicle the developers threw in knowing it didn't fly very well but they sorta wanted something in there to appease the concept of flight. They didn't really experiment it until Vice City and later entries.

Honestly, the plane I never put much thought into until I revisited the game? It was always something there but I never had a huge desire to fly it and I'm not quite sure why. Hit & Run was the only comparable open world game to GTA I owned outside of Jak II, so perhaps I was used to the more limited forms of movement. It is clever that Radical thought of a way to make the Witch's Broom something that the player could actually pilot and teased in Level 7's skybox though! Never thought of it that way. Guess it was a lot easier for them to logically fit that in since it made more sense for it to be closer to the ground.
Stay tuned for Los Springeles mod. The new map will be featuring LSIA (Los Springeles International Airport (referencing to the OG Springfield Airport)). However the planes will only be prop models (not functional) and I'm planning the make the Airport runway driveable (in reference to GTA V airport). However this is quite in a far future, cuz I'm modelling the map alone and the map is quite big (and I got life to deal with, other SHAR and non-SHAR projects, but the mod is coming).

Happy modding!