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5 of the 10 Busiest Airports in the World Are in the US, For Now

Airports + Flying
by Katie Scott Aiton Apr 17, 2024

On April 15, The Airports Council International (ACI) World unveiled some interesting trends in global air travel with their list of busiest airports in the world in 2023. The findings showcase the world’s magnificent (and sometimes maddening) hubs that keep the globe in motion and a significant uptick in air travel since the pandemic.

Within the top 10 busiest airports were five major hubs in the US: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Denver International Airport (DEN), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

ACI says across the globe close to 8.5 billion people took to the air, demonstrating a staggering recovery of 93.8 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

The uptick in international flights was another key takeaway, indicating we are again comfortable to go further than domestic destinations.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira applauds airports for their ability to adapt to the “ever-evolving landscape,” withstanding everything from extreme weather events due to climate change to challenges presented by global pandemics.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport retained its crown as the world’s busiest airport based on passenger traffic. It processed a staggering 104,635,151 passengers. This represents a nearly 12 percent increase compared to 2022 and is just over five percent shy of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) took second place for the first time and emerged as the busiest international airport in 2023. This is no surprise. Dubai’s strategic location and focus on international travel continue to make it a major hub. The airport handled a whopping 86,994,365 passengers last year.

The most significant jump in the top 10 rankings is recorded for Tokyo Haneda (HND), leaping from the sixteenth position in 2022 to the fifth spot in 2023.

There was also a recovery in traffic in Europe. London Heathrow Airport (LHR) witnessed a strong rebound, up from eighth position to fourth with 79,183,364 passengers. It represents a significant increase from 2022, also a return to near pre-pandemic levels. Istanbul Airport (IST) retained its spot with 76,027,321 passengers.

The top ten airports managed 10 percent of global traffic in 2023. Here’s a list of those that ranked:

  • 1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), 104,635,151 passengers
  • 2. Dubai International Airport (DXB), 86,994,365 passengers
  • 3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), 81,755,538 passengers
  • 4. London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), 79,183,364 passengers
  • 5. Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND), 78,719,302 passengers
  • 6. Denver International Airport (DEN), 77,837,917 passengers
  • 7. Istanbul Airport (IST), 76,027,321 passengers
  • 8. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 75,050,875 passengers
  • 9. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), 73,894,226 passengers
  • 10. New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), 72,214,841 passengers

The ACI World’s findings paint a picture of a recovering air travel industry, with a clear shift towards international travel, welcome news for aviation and the travel industry.

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