The Busiest Airports in the US

Inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the US by passenger volume. Editorial credit: ESB Professional /

The United States has 13,513 airports, more than any other country in the world. While many of these airports offer limited regional service or are restricted to military use, several airports serve a high volume of passengers. Some of the country's largest cities have airports that receive more than 10 million passengers every year. Below is a list of the busiest airports in the US according to the 2017 figures from Airports Council International (ACI).

The Busiest Airports In The US

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the United States, with 103.9 million passengers served every year.

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) - 103.9 Million Passengers 

Called one of the world's "most efficient airports," the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sees more passenger traffic than any other airport in the USA. Over 103.9 million people step into the airport each year. Reasons for its popularity include its geographic location and its status as a connection hub. The Atlanta Airport is also a hub for Delta Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the United States. 

2. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - 84.5 Million Passengers 

The Los Angeles International Airport serves as the gateway to Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the rest of Southern California, with connections to other parts of the United States such as Hawaii and West Coast destinations. LAX serves around 84.5 million passengers every year, making it one of the busiest airports in the US. It has a new international terminal that is dedicated to handling passengers from Asia and the Pacific.

3. O’Hare International Airport (ORD) - 79.8 Million Passengers 

O’Hare International Airport was the busiest US airport until the late 1990s. It connects Chicago, Illinois, to various parts of the United States. It has now dropped to third place serving an impressive 79.8 million passengers every year. 

4. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) - 67 Million Passengers

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport handles around 67 million passengers every year. The airport is so big that it even has its postal code and post office. It recruits one of the most advanced airport technologies and is regarded as the most tech-friendly airport in the United States. The airport serves as the main hub for American Airlines.

Reasons For High Volumes Of Boarding Passengers

Why do so many US airports experience so much traffic, anyway? Over the 20th and 21st centuries, the US has witnessed a large increase in both domestic and international passenger flow. Advancement in technology has made it easy to coordinate travel for millions of passengers every year. Train travel, though once popular, is no longer popular in the United States. Unfortunately, air travel has a concerning effect on climate change.

The Busiest Airports in the US

RankAirportLocationCode (IATA/ICAO)Total Passengers (2017)
1Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International AirportAtlanta, GeorgiaATL/KATL103,902,992
2Los Angeles International AirportLos Angeles, CaliforniaLAX/KLAX84,557,968
3O'Hare International AirportChicago, IllinoisORD/KORD79,828,183
4Dallas/Fort Worth International AirportDallas-Fort Worth, TexasDFW/KDFW67,092,194
5Denver International AirportDenver, ColoradoDEN/KDEN61,379,396
6John F. Kennedy International AirportQueens, New York, New YorkJFK/KJFK59,392,500
7San Francisco International AirportSan Mateo County, CaliforniaSFO/KSFO55,822,129
8McCarran International AirportLas Vegas, NevadaLAS/KLAS48,566,803
9Seattle-Tacoma International AirportSeaTac, WashingtonSEA/KSEA46,934,194
10Charlotte Douglas International AirportCharlotte, North CarolinaCLT/KCLT45,909,899
11Orlando International AirportOrlando, FloridaMCO/KMCO44,511,265
12Miami International AirportMiami-Dade County, FloridaMIA/KMIA44,071,313
13Phoenix Sky Harbor International AirportPhoenix, ArizonaPHX/KPHX43,921,670
14Newark Liberty International AirportNewark, New JerseyEWR/KEWR43,393,499
15George Bush Intercontinental AirportHouston, TexasIAH/KIAH40,696,189

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