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The 15 Busiest Airports in the World Right Now

By Vlad Craciun


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Airports. We usually neglect them until we get to one and realize – or not, if we’re late – how magnificent they are being able to handle so many of us and our huge bags, all at the same time. And we’re not talking about your usual small local airport. We’re talking about Atlanta and Heathrow and Los Angeles and Paris, all the big international airports out there.

From Atlanta, which still rules the world when it comes to handling millions of passengers every year to some of the biggest airports in Asia, we’re going to take a peek into this world and find out which are the 15 busiest airports in the world right now, with the number of passengers/year for each one. So keep on reading.

15. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas, US – 69.1 million

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has been losing ground against other faster growing airports in the world when it comes to number of passengers handled every year. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone to the bottom, as it’s still one of the busiest airports worldwide primarily due to the more than 200 routes on its schedule. It’s actually one of the very few airports that can be proud for such a feat. Nowadays, the total number of passengers passing through DFW each year rises to 69.1 million.

14. Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Germany – 69.5 million

Frankfurt Airport

With a new Terminal, the Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany, is expected to rise its capacity with up to 25 million passengers. It will have 75 new aircraft positions when finished, but that will take a while since the first phase of the project is expected to end somewhere in 2023. Right now, the Frankfurt Airport can handle around 69.5 million passengers a year.

13. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), China – 69.7 million

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

One of the fast growing airports in Asia, the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) in China, has more facilities and runways coming in the near future. Currently, it operates with three runways, one of which can only be used for landings due to airspace conflicts. There’s also a third terminal building to be finalized sometime in 2020. The current total number of passengers passing through its gates every year spins around 69.7 million.

12. New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), India – 69.9 million

New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport

The Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in New Delhi, India has the capacity of handling 69.9 million passengers a year, with a 10.2 percent increase last year over the previous one. Its growth has been fantastic in the last years, as prior to 2017, it was only the 22nd busiest airport in the world, and right now it sits at number 12. The growth was partly due to the implementation of the Digi Yatra platform, which improved the Indian air travelers experience.

11. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), Netherlands – 71 million

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) is not only one of the best airports in the world but one of the busiest as well. Its current capacity exceeds 71 million passengers per year. With a new pier set to open in December 2020 and a new Terminal in 2023, Schiphol will have the means to handle the growing number of passengers passing through.

10. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), France – 72.2 million

Paris Charles de Gaulle

The French capital’s famous Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is steadily growing and doesn’t give any sign it will drop from this list in the near future. It maintains its 10th position, with a 4 percent increase over the previous year and a current capacity of 72.2 million passengers.

CDG features automated baggage sorting system and conveyor which allows short delivery time for airlines operating on it and with the planned rail connection with the CDG Express, the future looks bright – and even busier for Charles de Gaulle Airport.

9. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), China – 74 million

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

The Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) is China’s busiest international hub. Over 2017, it has increased with 5.7 percent, and with the satellite terminal development to be ready in the near future, it expects and even larger increase in passenger handling capacity. Right now, there are 74 million passing through it every year. Another performance for PVG is that it ranked third when it comes to last year’s air cargo traffic.

8. Hong Kong International Airport (HKA), China – 74.5 million

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKA) features the largest terminal building in the entire world. It’s still the largest air cargo airport, ranking first for last year’s cargo traffic, but handles quite a large number of passengers as well, with figures rising to 74.5 million. The airport has a sustained growth achieved through the 2030 Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan.

7. London Heathrow Airport (LHR), United Kingdom – 80.1 million

London Heathrow Airport

London comes in on the 7th position with Heathrow Airport (LHR) and a total yearly capacity of 80.1 million passengers so far. The numbers are increasing but nobody knows what the future will bring to LHR, concerning the construction of a third runway. Especially with the recent political decisions which make long term plans uncertain.

6. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois, US – 83.2 million

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Chicago, Illinois has the airport with the most movements in the world. The O’Hare International Airport (ORD) came first with almost 904,000 movements (takeoffs and landings) in 2018, followed by Atlanta with 895,000 movements. When it comes to passenger traffic though, O’Hare sits in the 6th position, with the total number of passengers passing through its gates every year rising to 83.2 million.

O’Hare is under a modernization program, looking to revamp its terminals, so expect the passenger traffic to increase in the following years.

5. Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND), Japan – 87.1 million

Tokyo Haneda Airport

The Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan rose steadily despite dropping one place since last year. With the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world, it’s no wonder Tokyo’s airport is one of the busiest in the world. While in 2018, HND was on the 4th position, this year it sits at number 5 with a total of 87.1 million passengers handled.

4. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California, US – 87.5 million

Los Angeles International Airport

Rising faster than Tokyo’s Haned Airport, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has gone up one position since last year. Aptly named the ‘Gateway to the Pacific Rim’, LAX is able to move around 87.5 million passengers each year.

3. Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates – 89.1 million

Dubai International Airport

Since Dubai is getting more and more attention these days as one of the most popular vacation destinations, it’s clear that its airport, the Dubai International Airport (DXB), continues to grow more. Last year, the total number of passengers passing through its gates rose to 89.1 million, putting it in the third position among the world’s most busiest airports.

2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), China – 101 million

Beijing Capital International Airport

With an increase of more than 5 percent over the previous measured year, the Beijing International Airport (PEK) seems to catch on the king of airports in passenger traffic. Last year it managed to move around 101 million passengers, making it the second most busiest airport in the world.

But we’re curious about the future, since the Beijing Daxing is nearing completion, so competition will for sure increase in the area. If that’s a good or a bad thing remains to be seen.

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia, US – 107.4 million

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Georgia, US, remains the undisputed world king of airports when it comes to handling passenger traffic. It continues to rank the first ever since 1997, meaning 21 years already, and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

The busiest airport in the world right now, Atlanta managed to handle over 107 million passengers in 2018 and continues to dominate the market. Its advantage is the perfect positioning as a major connecting hub and port of entry into North America. Also, it’s within a two-hour flight of where 80% of the population of America lives, so it’s got a great advantage.

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About Vlad Craciun

Vlad has over 7 years of experience writing content about subjects such as travel, cars, motorcycles, tech & gadgets, and his newly discovered passion, watches. He’s in love with two wheeled machines and the freedom and the thrills that motorcycle travel provides. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process.

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