The Top 10 Busiest Airports in the World: A Comprehensive Guide to Global Travel Hubs

The world’s busiest airports are a hub of activity and serve as gateways to destinations around the globe. These airports handle millions of passengers each year, making them vital transportation hubs for business and leisure travelers alike.

Top 5 Busiest Airports in the World Ranked by Passenger Traffic

According to the Airports Council International (ACI) World Airport Traffic Report, the top five busiest airports in the world by passenger traffic in 2019 were:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – 110.5 million passengers
  2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) – 100.0 million passengers
  3. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – 88.1 million passengers
  4. Dubai International Airport (DXB) – 86.4 million passengers
  5. Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) – 85.5 million passengers

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

ATL has been the world’s busiest airport since 1998, thanks to its strategic location as a major connecting hub for flights throughout North America and beyond. The airport is home to Delta Air Lines, which operates over 1,000 daily departures from ATL and accounts for more than half of the airport’s passenger traffic.

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

PEK is China’s main international gateway and serves as a hub for Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines. The airport underwent a major expansion ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, adding new terminals and runways to handle increased demand.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX is one of the largest airports in the United States and serves as a major gateway to Asia and Latin America. The airport is undergoing a $14 billion modernization program to improve its facilities and reduce congestion, including the construction of a new midfield satellite concourse and an automated people mover system.

Dubai International Airport (DXB)

DXB is the main hub for Emirates airline and serves as a major connecting point for flights between Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The airport has experienced rapid growth in recent years due to Dubai’s emergence as a global business and tourism hub.

Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND)

HND is one of two major airports serving the Tokyo metropolitan area, along with Narita International Airport. HND primarily handles domestic flights within Japan but has also expanded its international service in recent years, particularly to destinations in Asia.

Decade-Long Ranking Changes of the Busiest Airports in the World

The ranking of the world’s busiest airports can fluctuate over time based on factors such as changes in airline routes and capacity, geopolitical events, and infrastructure investments. Here are some notable changes in the top 10 busiest airports over the past decade:

  1. In 2010, Atlanta was still the world’s busiest airport with 89 million passengers. Beijing ranked second with 73 million passengers.
  2. By 2015, Beijing had surpassed Atlanta as the world’s busiest airport with 89 million passengers compared to Atlanta’s 88 million.
  3. In 2018, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta regained its title as the world’s busiest airport with more than 107 million passengers.
  4. In 2019, Beijing Capital International Airport reclaimed its position as the world’s second-busiest airport behind ATL.

Factors Contributing to an Airport’s Status as One of the Busiest in the World

There are several factors that can contribute to an airport’s status as one of the busiest in the world:

Location and Connectivity

Airports located in major population centers or at strategic geographic crossroads can attract a large volume of passengers due to their convenient connectivity. For example, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport benefits from its location as a hub for Delta Air Lines, which offers extensive connections throughout North America.

Airline Presence

An airport that serves as a hub for one or more major airlines can see significant passenger traffic due to connecting flights and frequent service. Dubai International Airport, for example, is home to Emirates airline, which operates a vast network of routes across six continents.

Tourism and Business Demand

Airports located in cities with high levels of tourism or business activity can attract large numbers of passengers traveling for leisure or work purposes. Los Angeles International Airport, for instance, serves as a gateway to Hollywood and other popular tourist destinations in Southern California.

Airlines with Significant Presence at the Busiest Airports in the World

Many airlines have established hubs at some of the world’s busiest airports, allowing them to efficiently connect passengers between multiple destinations. Here are some examples of airlines with significant presence at these airports:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

  • Delta Air Lines – largest tenant and primary hub carrier
  • Southwest Airlines – second-largest carrier by passenger volume
  • United Airlines – third-largest carrier by passenger volume

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

  • Air China – largest tenant and primary hub carrier
  • China Eastern Airlines – second-largest carrier by passenger volume
  • China Southern Airlines – third-largest carrier by passenger volume

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

  • Delta Air Lines – largest tenant and primary hub carrier
  • American Airlines – second-largest carrier by passenger volume
  • United Airlines – third-largest carrier by passenger volume

Dubai International Airport (DXB)

  • Emirates airline – largest tenant and primary hub carrier
  • Flydubai – secondary hub carrier specializing in low-cost flights to regional destinations

Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND)

  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) – largest tenant and primary hub carrier
  • Japan Airlines (JAL) – second-largest tenant and major competitor to ANA on domestic routes

Measures Taken by Busy Airports to Manage Increasing Passenger Traffic and Improve Efficiency

The rapid growth of air travel has put significant pressure on many airports around the world, leading them to adopt a range of strategies to manage increasing passenger traffic and improve efficiency. Here are some examples:

New Infrastructure Investments

Airports are investing heavily in new infrastructure, including additional runways, terminal expansions, and automated baggage handling systems. For example, Los Angeles International Airport is currently undergoing a $14 billion modernization program that includes the construction of a new midfield satellite concourse, an automated people mover system, and a consolidated rental car facility.

Improved Technology

Airports are also turning to technology to improve efficiency and streamline passenger processing. Many airports now offer self-check-in kiosks, automated passport control systems, and biometric screening technologies to speed up the security process. For example, Dubai International Airport has implemented a “smart gate” system that allows passengers to use their biometric data for faster immigration clearance.

Collaboration with Airlines

Airports are working closely with airlines to optimize flight schedules and reduce congestion. This can involve coordinating the timing of arrivals and departures to minimize delays and improve turnaround times for aircraft. For example, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport works closely with Delta Air Lines to ensure efficient operations at the airport’s massive hub.

In conclusion, the busiest airports in the world serve as vital transportation hubs connecting people and goods across the globe, with millions of passengers passing through them each year. As air travel continues to grow, these airports will play an increasingly important role in shaping the global economy and facilitating international trade.


Which airport is the busiest in the world?

As of 5 days ago, in June 2023, Atlanta’s airport (ATL) was the most active airport in the world with 5.3 million available seats, followed by Dubai International Airport (DXB) in second place with 4.6 million seats.

What is busiest airport in USA?

This report lists the top busiest airports in the United States, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) ranked as the busiest, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Denver International Airport (DEN). O’Hare International Airport (ORD) also makes the list. The data was last updated in May 2023.

Is Atlanta the busiest airport in the US?

As of April 6, 2023, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has had a total of 93.7 million passengers, followed by the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with 73.4 million, the Denver International Airport with 69.3 million, and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport with 68.3 million.

What is the 3 biggest airport in the world?

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which spans over 69.63 square kilometers, is the third largest airport in the world as of May 7, 2023.

Which is the least busiest airport in the world?

Funafuti International airport, located in Tuvalu, is the world’s least busy international airport. This is due to the fact that Tuvalu is a small and isolated island nation, receiving only four weekly flights from two different airlines.

What is the biggest airport in the world by population?

The Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US is the biggest airport on this list. With 724,145 takeoffs and landings in 2022, it is definitely one of the largest airports in the world.

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