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, there are several airports that serve a high volume of passengers. Some of the country's largest cities have airports that see upwards of 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
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 foot inside 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 main entryway into 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 since 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 own postal code and post office. It has 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 seen a large increase in both domestic and international travel. 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
|Rank||Airport||Location||Code (IATA/ICAO)||Total Passengers (2017)|
|1||Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport||Atlanta, Georgia||ATL/KATL||103,902,992|
|2||Los Angeles International Airport||Los Angeles, California||LAX/KLAX||84,557,968|
|3||O'Hare International Airport||Chicago, Illinois||ORD/KORD||79,828,183|
|4||Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport||Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas||DFW/KDFW||67,092,194|
|5||Denver International Airport||Denver, Colorado||DEN/KDEN||61,379,396|
|6||John F. Kennedy International Airport||Queens, New York, New York||JFK/KJFK||59,392,500|
|7||San Francisco International Airport||San Mateo County, California||SFO/KSFO||55,822,129|
|8||McCarran International Airport||Las Vegas, Nevada||LAS/KLAS||48,566,803|
|9||Seattle-Tacoma International Airport||SeaTac, Washington||SEA/KSEA||46,934,194|
|10||Charlotte Douglas International Airport||Charlotte, North Carolina||CLT/KCLT||45,909,899|
|11||Orlando International Airport||Orlando, Florida||MCO/KMCO||44,511,265|
|12||Miami International Airport||Miami-Dade County, Florida||MIA/KMIA||44,071,313|
|13||Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport||Phoenix, Arizona||PHX/KPHX||43,921,670|
|14||Newark Liberty International Airport||Newark, New Jersey||EWR/KEWR||43,393,499|
|15||George Bush Intercontinental Airport||Houston, Texas||IAH/KIAH||40,696,189|