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Which Is the Busiest Airport in the World?

  • Air Travel
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 11 minutes

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Airports are getting busier all over the world. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) was the busiest airport globally from 1998 to 2019. According to OAG’s most recent report, Atlanta Airport retains its spot as the busiest airport in the world, but others have slipped in the rankings. Here’s more information on the busiest airports in the world! 

busiest airports in the world

In 2020, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) became the world’s busiest airport. It served around 43 million passengers annually. This ended ATL Airport’s long unbroken reign as the busiest airport in the world. With more people traveling again, major airports the world over are experiencing pretty heavy passenger traffic again.

What is the busiest airport in the world?

Atlanta Hartsfield- Jackson Airport continues to be the busiest in the world in 2023. Dubai International Airport and Dallas Fort Worth Airport are the second and third busiest airports.

Busiest airports in the world by seats

2022 Ranking
Airport Code
Airport Name
Seats
1 ATL Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport 4,679,398
2 DXB Dubai International 4,624,009
3 HND Tokyo Intl (Haneda) 4,171,837
4 LHR London Heathrow Airport 3,782,327
5 DFW Dallas Dallas/Fort Worth Intl Airport 3,670,500
6 DEN Denver Intl Airport 3,588,688
7 IST Istanbul Airport 3,577,323
8 DEL Delhi International Airport 3,564,812
9 LAX Los Angeles International Airport 3,448,215
10 ORD Chicago O’Hare International Airport 3,333,628

Source: OAG

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport 

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport 

Approximately 300,000 passengers pass through ATL Airport every day! You can imagine how heavy the footfall is in Atlanta Airport. The airport is around seven miles south of the Downtown Atlanta district. Over 1,000 flight services operate from Atlanta airport to various international and domestic destinations. It is also the primary hub of Delta Airlines. The airport has two terminals and seven concourses with around 195 gates. 

Trivia

Why is Atlanta Airport so busy?

Atlanta Airport is busy mostly due to a combination of factors. The geographic location of the airport, as well as its role as the primary hub for one of the world’s leading airlines (Delta Air Lines), are what make it the busiest airport in the world. So be sure to arrive early enough if you’re traveling from ATL Airport, and also make sure you book your ATL parking spot well ahead.

Dubai International Airport

Dubai Airport - second busiest in the world

Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not just the second-busiest airport by seats, it is also the busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic. It is also the hub for Emirates Airline. With smart gates to avoid long immigration lines, uber-fast wifi, a zen garden, world-class lounges, and sleeping pods, the airport has been voted one of the best in the world several times.

Trivia

Why is the Dubai Airport so busy?

Dubai Airport is ideally located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa. It, therefore, has become an important transit airport for many travelers from these regions.

Tokyo International Airport

Haneda Tokyo Airport

One of two international airports (the other being Narita Airport) serving the populous city of Tokyo, Haneda has always been one of the busier airports in the world. Haneda Airport is closer to the city than Narita and is primarily focused on premium business routes.

Trivia

Why is the Tokyo International Airport so busy?

It serves as the primary base for Japan Airlines, Nippon Airways, Air Do, Skymark Airlines, Solaseed Air, and StarFlyer. It’s also closer to the heart of Tokyo. 

London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport

Originally called the London Airport, this major international airport in London, England is also the busiest airport in Europe.

Heathrow is 23 kilometers west of London. Hendon is 3 miles west of Hounslow, 3 miles south of Hayes, and 3 miles northeast of Staines.
To the north are Sipson, Harlington, Harmondsworth, and Longford, and to the east are Cranford and Hatton. Heathrow is separated from Wraysbury, Horton, and Windsor in Berkshire by the M25 motorway. Heathrow is located in the London Borough of Hillingdon, postcode TW6. The airport is in the Hayes and Harlington constituency.

Because the airport lies west of London and its runways run east-west, an airliner’s landing approach frequently passes directly over London when the wind is from the west.

Trivia

Which is the top destination from Heathrow Airport?

Heathrow Airport’s most popular destination is New York.

Why is Heathrow Airport so busy?

Heathrow is one of the earliest commercial airports in the world and most of the international airlines fly into Heathrow, making it a very busy airport.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

This airport is located almost midway between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The airport has services to around 273 destinations in 44 countries. In January 2022, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was the fifth busiest in terms of passenger traffic.  The airport is the largest hub for American Airlines and is the second biggest airport in the US by land area.

Trivia

Why is the Dallas Fort Worth Airport so busy?

DFW’s largest carrier, American Airlines, has been routing more flights through DFW, making it busier. 

Denver International Airport  

Denver International Airport

Denver Airport is about 25 miles from Downtown Denver. The airport served around 33 million passengers annually in 2020, making it the seventh busiest globally. That’s not the only aspect that makes Denver Airport special! With a surface area of 52.4 square miles, Denver Airport is also the second biggest airport globally and the biggest in North America. And, if you are interested in Illuminati and other conspiracy theories, the airport delivers and how! Jeppesen is the only terminal, and the airport has three concourses.

Trivia

How far is Denver airport from downtown Denver?

Denver Airport is approximately 25-30 miles away from downtown Denver, depending on the route you take. The drive should take you around 30 minutes.

Why is Denver Airport so busy?

Denver International Airport is busy due to the high demand for domestic travel and the Mile High City’s ideal geographic location, which facilitates linking passenger traffic flows.

Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport is the main international airport serving Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. The airport is located in the city’s Arnavutköy district. In May, Istanbul Airport had 277 passenger destinations, more than any other airport in the world. Istanbul Airport is relatively new and opened its doors to passengers in October 2018.

Following the closure of Istanbul Atatürk Airport for planned passenger flights on April 6, 2019, all scheduled commercial passenger flights were shifted to Istanbul Airport. The IATA airport code IST was likewise assigned to the new airport.

Trivia

How many airports does Istanbul have?

Istanbul has two airports. The busier and larger of the two is Istanbul airport (IST) on the European side. Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side is the other airport and is the smaller of the two.

Trivia

Why is the Istanbul Airport so busy?

Istanbul Airport’s 277 passenger destinations are more than any other airport in the world.

Delhi Airport

Delhi Airport

Indira Gandhi International Airport or the Delhi Airport, located in India’s capital New Delhi is the busiest airport in India and now the fifth busiest airport in the world. The airport is 9 miles from the center of New Delhi. The Delhi Airport serves as a major hub or focus destination for several Indian airlines, including Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara, and GoAir.

Trivia 

Who is Delhi Airport named after?

Delhi Airport is named after Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India.

Los Angeles International Airport 

LAX airport

You know how busy the LAX Airport is if you live in California! LAX is now the sixth busiest airport in the world. The airport had annual passenger traffic of over 80 million before the pandemic hit. LAX is located about 18 miles southwest of Downtown Los Angeles. It primarily serves Los Angeles and its surrounding metropolitan area.

LAX Airport is the only major airport serving Los Angeles. LAX also serves as a leading hub for many passenger airlines than any other airport in the US. Los Angeles Airport is also a hub for four airlines-  Delta, United,  American, and Alaska Airlines. LAX has nine terminals, and currently, many works are underway to enhance the passenger experience.

Trivia

Why is LAX Airport so busy?

More passenger airlines use LAX as a major hub or focal city than any other airport in the United States. Also, compared to other airports, a lot more people start or end their trips in Los Angeles than use it as a connection.

LAX Travel Tip

Book your LAX parking spot as soon as you book your air tickets to make sure you have a guaranteed spot to park your car before you take off.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport 

 ORD Chicago Airport

O’Hare airport reached its peak popularity during the ‘Jet Age’. The airport also held the distinction of being the world’s busiest airport during 1963 to 1998. In 2020, the airport was the 13th busiest globally, with around 30 million passengers passing through its terminals. O’Hare has four terminals and also serves as a major hub for American Airlines and United Airlines.

Trivia 

Who is Chicago’s O’Hare airport named after?

O’Hare Airport is named after Edward Henry Butch O’Hare. He was a pilot who shot down airplanes in World War 2.

Why is O’Hare Airport so busy?

Some of the increase in flight movements may be due to the fact that American Airlines and United Airlines, which both use Chicago O’Hare as a hub, keep adding more routes.

Busiest International Airport in the World

  • Dubai is still the busiest airport for international flights in January 2023, with 4.6 million seats, which is 1% more than last month. 
  • London Heathrow is in second place with 3.5 million seats. Both Dubai and London Heathrow were first and second in 2019 as well. 
  • With 5% more seats than last month, Istanbul is now the third busiest airport for international flights, moving up one spot from where it was last month. 
  • This month, Singapore Changi Airport moved up one spot, from 5th to 4th, thanks to a 1% increase in seats compared to December 2022. 
  • The airport in the top 10 for international flights with the most seats added this month compared to last month is Incheon, which is now in 7th place. Incheon was in 46th place in January 2022, which shows that it had improved over the past year. 
  • 7 of the top 10 busiest international airports in January 2023 were also in the top 10 in January 2022. The airports that have moved up in the rankings and are now in the Top 10 are Singapore Changi (which moved from 11th to 4th), Incheon (which climbed up from 46th to 7th), and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (moved from 45th to 10th). 

Busiest International Airports by Seats

Ranking 
Airport Code 
Airport Name 
Seats (Total) 
1  DXB  Dubai International  4,624,009 
2  LHR  London Heathrow Apt  3,538,601 
3  IST  Istanbul Airport  2,828,484 
4  SIN  Singapore Changi Apt  2,713,397 
5  CDG  Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt  2,640,281 
6  AMS  Amsterdam Airport Schiphol   2,502,519 
7  ICN  Seoul Incheon International Airport  2,281,964 
8  FRA  Frankfurt International Apt  2,256,883 
9  DOH  Doha Hamad International Airport  2,196,309 
10  BKK  Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Apt  1,963,733 

 

Busiest European Airport in the World

  • With 3.8 million seats, London Heathrow remains the busiest European airport in January 2023, while Istanbul comes in second with 3.6 million seats. 
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle is still in third place, and Madrid is in fourth. 
  • Six of the top ten airports have reduced capacity this month: Paris Charles de Gaulle (by 5%), Madrid (by 1%), Frankfurt International (by 6%), Amsterdam (by 3%), Barcelona (by 5%), and Munich International (by 9%). Rome Fiumicino has risen to 10th place, while London Gatwick has dropped out. 
  • Nine of the top ten busiest international airports in January 2023 were also in the top ten in January 2022. Rome Fiumicino is the only airport that was not in the top ten in January 2022, when it was ranked 12th and is now ranked 10th. 
Ranking
Airport Code
Airport Name
Seats (Total)
1 LHR London Heathrow Apt 3,782,327
2 IST Istanbul Airport 3,577,323
3 CDG Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt 2,899,302
4 MAD Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas Apt 2,743,778
5 FRA Frankfurt International Apt 2,522,099
6 AMS Amsterdam 2,503,019
7 BCN Barcelona Apt (ES) 1,897,767
8 SAW Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Apt 1,735,013
9 MUC Munich International Airport 1,548,386
10 FCO Rome Fiumicino Apt 1,536,724

 

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More info on the busiest airports in the world 

  • According to OAG’s report for July 2022, Atlanta Airport retains its crown as the busiest in the world. 
  • US airports rank among the top five busiest airports in the world. 

Check out more blogs on the best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you. 


 

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