20 world’s busiest airports

Whenever you travel by air, we normally have to depart from and arrive in an airport, whether it is a small airstrip or a full-blown airport that receives large aircraft. The airport never sleeps, unlike bus and train stations. From far the airport may seem like a chaotic place, but in reality, it is a magnificently well-planned ecosystem that can remain calm even in the stormiest weather. Today, we are going to look at the biggest airports in the world based on the number of passengers flying to and from.  Below 20 world’s busiest airports.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport | Atlanta, Georgia | 110,531,300 passengers 

The biggest airport in the world

Located just 7 miles from Downtown Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest and biggest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers and second busiest in terms of aircraft movements. This may come as a surprise to some people especially when Atlanta is not even among the top ten most visited cities in the United States. One might expect the busiest airport in the U.S to be in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles and the busiest in the world to in London, Paris, or Beijing.

Surprisingly, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the busiest airport in the world 22 years in a row! One of the reasons is the fact that the airport is a hub for one of the largest airlines in the world, Delta Air Lines. But the main reason is its location. According to data, more than 80% of the US population lives within a two-hour flight from the airport. 

Beijing Capital International Airport

Designed to look like a dragon, Beijing Airport is the second largest airport around the world in terms of passenger numbers, with more than 100 million total passengers every year. The airport is located some 20 miles northeast of Beijing’s central district. It is owned and operated nu the Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited, which is a state-controlled corporation. 

Beijing Capital is the busiest airport on the Asian continent. It is served by three terminals with world-class facilities such as the T3, which features 72 food stores. Terminal 3 features three sub-concourses for easy and swift passenger transportation. 

Bejing recently opened new airport Beijing Daxing International Airport

Beijing Capital International Airport | Beijing, China | 100,011,000 passengers 

photo credit Wikipedia

Los Angeles International Airport

With more than 88 million passengers, Los Angeles International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States. LAX is also the biggest international airport in the West Coast region of the States and is essential for connecting America with Oceania and Asia as well as serves as the hub for numerous airlines in the United States. Today the airport has 9 terminals and serves up to 71 airlines that fly to both international and domestic destinations. 

The most recognizable structure in LAX is its Theme Building, which was designed to resemble a UFO that has landed on its legs. 

Los Angeles International Airport | Los Angeles, California | 88,068,013 passengers 

photo source LAWA

Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport | Dubai United Arab Emirates| 86,396,757 passengers 

dubai international airport dxb

In recent decades, Dubai International Airport has transformed into one of the biggest airports on the planet. In just eight years, the number of passengers arriving and departing from the airport has doubled. 

Currently, Dubai Airport has two runways and three terminals and is also among the few airports in the world with the capacity to handle the Airbus A380 superjumbo. The airport also has a Flower centre facility that handles imported flowers, which tend to require special treatment and conditions. 

In Dubai, bigger is always good! 

Tokyo Haneda Airport  

Built in 1931, Tokyo Haneda Airport is the largest public airport in Japan. Originally, it used to have just a single runway but an additional one was constructed later to be able to handle the increasing aviation demands.

In the early 1940s, the government had planned to expand the airport, but the plans were abandoned with the outbreak of World War II, and the airport was transformed into a military airfield. 

Currently, Tokyo Haneda has 3 terminals – two domestic and 1 international and serves 45 airlines from across the world. 

Tokyo Haneda Airport | Tokyo, Japan | 85,505,054 

Largest Airports

O’Hare International Airport

O’Hare International Airport | Chicago, Illinois | 84,397,776

This Midwestern aviation hub is not as popular as other airports in the United State, but it has been quietly growing into one of the busiest and largest in the world. According to some, the food options at the O’Hare International Airport are a lot better than in some other airports. This can be attributed to Tortas Frontera, which was created by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, and there are three spots at the airport – Terminals 1, 3, and 5 – where you can find deliciously toasted tortas. 

The Chicago Department of Aviation invited the public in 2019 to vote on a design for the airport’s new $8.5 billion terminals. The project will see Terminal 5 expanded as well as bringing the much-needed improvements to other terminals. 

London Heathrow Airport

London’s Heathrow Airport had more than 80 million passengers last year (2019), which is actually not that surprising considering London is one of the busiest travel hubs in the world. It is the main airport in London and an important stop for numerous international long-haul flights. In 2019, Terminal 5 was voted the world’s best at the 2019 Skytrax World Airport Awards. 

Heathrow was opened in 1946 and sits on 1,227 acres. Currently, it has two runways and five terminals, with the fifth one opened in 2008 by the Queen. The airport is the largest of the size airports located in London. 

London Heathrow Airport | London, United Kingdom | 80,844,310 passengers 

Shanghai Pudong International Airport PVG

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) | Shanghai, China | 76,153,500 passengers 

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai Pudong International Airport is one of the two major airports in the city of Shanghai and one of the largest aviation hubs in East Asia. It is located around 19 miles east of Shanghai’s city center and occupies around 10,000 acres. 

The airport is the main hub for government-owned China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines as well as an international hub for Air China and a tertiary hub for China Southern Airlines. 

This airport is one of the fastest-growing hubs for both cargo and passenger traffic. Pudong is the eighth busiest airport in the world.

Charles de Gaulle Airport

Also known as Roissy Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport is the largest international airport in France and the second busiest in Europe after London’s Heathrow. It was opened in 1974 about 14 miles northeast of Paris and was named after former French general de Gaulle – Facts about France.

CDG Airport is the main hub for Air France and a hub for legacy carriers and low-budget carriers such as Vueling, Easy Jet, and Norwegian Air Shuttle. It has three terminals with the oldest being Terminal 1. The airport terminals are served by a free automated shuttle rail system. 

The famous song “It’s a beautiful day” by U2 was shot on CDG airport

Charles de Gaulle Airport | Paris, France | 76,150,007 passengers 

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport | Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas | 75,066,956 passengers

largest airports
Photo credit Dallas Morning News

DFW Airport is the main hub for American Airlines, which is headquartered near the airport. It is also the major international airport serving the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In terms of aircraft movement, the airport is third largest in the world and tenth busiest in terms of passenger traffic. It is the ninth busiest international gateway in the U.S. and the second busiest international gateway in Texas. 

DFW is located about halfway between the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas and spans across Dallas and Tarrant counties due to its massive size and includes portions of the cities of Euless, Irving, Coppell, and Grapevine. Occupying 17,207 acres, DFW is the second largest airports by land in the USA. 

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Guangzhou Airport is the largest airports in the city of Guangzhou and the eleventh busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic. It is located around 17 miles north of downtown.  

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport | Guangzhou, China | 73,378,475 passengers 

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol | Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands | 71,706,999 passengers

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the major international aviation hub in the Netherlands, located some 5.6 miles southwest of capital Amsterdam. With more than 71 million passengers annually, the airport is third-busiest in Europe in terms of passenger traffic and the busiest in Europe in terms of aircraft movements. 

It is also the best connecting airport in Europe. 

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport is known for its state-of-the-art facilities that handle more than 71 million passengers each year. Despite this, the airport is also in line to get $18 billion in a major upgrade, which will take it to the new levels in terms of passenger and cargo handling. 

Its Terminal 1 Annex features an observatory deck and a sky bridge that airbuses could pass under. 

Its not surprising the airport has such a big traffic since Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world

Hong Kong International Airport | Hong Kong | 71,541,000 passengers 

Seoul Incheon International Airport

Seoul Incheon International Airport | Incheon, South Korea | 70,560,987 passengers

Incheon International Airport is the biggest airport in South Korea and serves Seoul Capital Area. Besides being one of the busiest airports in the world, it has also been rated among the cleanest and highly rated international transit airports. 

It was opened in 2001 to replace the older one, Gimpo International Airport, which was transformed to serve domestic destinations and shuttle flights to various destinations in East Asia. 

Incheon International Airport is one of the largest transit hubs in Northeast Asia. 

Frankfurt Airport  

Located in Frankfurt, the fifth-largest city in Germany, Frankfurt Airport is the busiest airport in the country and one of the busiest in Europe and the world. It is operated by Fraport and serves numerous German and European cargo and passenger flights. The airport serves as the main hub for Lufthansa CityLine and Lufthansa Cargo along with AeroLogic and Condor. 

It covers 5,682 acres and features two passenger terminals and four runways. 

Frankfurt Airport | Frankfurt, Germany | 70,560,987 passengers 

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport | Denver, Colorado | 69,015,703 passengers

Known locally as DIA, Denver International Airport is located in the city of Denver in the United States. It primarily serves the city as well as the Front Range Urban Corridor. Covering 33,531 acres, DIA is the largest airport in North America by land area and second-largest in the world only behind Saudi Arabia‘s King Fahd International Airport. Also, with a runway of 3.03 miles, it is the longest civic use runway in North America and the seventh longest on the planet. 

Located 25 miles from Downtown Denver, DIA has a non-stop service to more than 200 destinations amongst 23 different airlines across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Indira Gandhi International Airport

With more than 68 million passengers annually, Indira Gandhi Airport is the busiest airport in India and serves as the major international hub of New Delhi and India as a whole. The airport occupies 5,106 acres is located just 9.9 miles from downtown New Delhi. 

Indira Gandhi International Airport | Delhi, India | 68,490,731 passenger


Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport | Changi, Singapore | 68,300,300 passengers

singapore airport

Located in the East Region of Singapore, Changi Airport is one of the largest aviation hubs in Asia and one of the busiest in the world in terms of cargo and passenger traffic. It is currently the World’s Best Airport according to Skytrax and has held that title for eight consecutive years.

Suvarnabhumi Airport | Samut Prakan, Thailand | 65, 424,697 passengers 

Covering 8,000 acres, Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the busiest airports in Southeast Asia and an important regional aviation hub. It was opened in 2006 to replace Don Mueang International Airport as the major airport serving Bangkok and Thailand as a whole. 

Suvarnabhumi Airport | Samut Prakan, Thailand | 65, 424,697 passengers 

John F. Kennedy International Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport | Queens, New York | 62,551,072 passengers 

JFK Airport is located in Queens, New York, and serves as the primary international airport for New York City and its environs. The airport is the twentieth busiest airport in the world and busiest in New York, having handled more than 62.5 passengers in 2019 alone. It was originally named New York International Airport but renamed following the assassination of the U.S’s beloved President John F. Kennedy. 

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Located 28 miles south of Kuala Lumpur in Sepang, KLIA is the largest and busiest international airport in Malaysia. It is operated by Malaysia Airports and serves as a major hub for Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, MASkargo, Malindo Air, and AirAsia X among others. 

Kuala Lumpur International Airport | Sepang, Malaysia | 62,336,469 passengers 

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