The Busiest Airports in the World

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The international airport in Atlanta is the world's busiest. Editorial credit: 4kclips /

Within a single year, the world’s busiest airport accommodated almost as many passengers as the entire population of the Philippines, the 12th most populous country on the planet. Millions of passengers use air flight as means to discover the trendiest and most remote destinations of the world, making the passenger airline industry lucrative and very competitive. Below is a list of the ten busiest airports in the world in terms of international passengers for every full year.

10. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport - 69,471,442

France's Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, commonly referred to as "Roissy Airport," starts our list as the tenth busiest airport in the world. Lying on the northern side of Paris, it serves as a major hub for France and the whole of Europe, and it is the second busiest of all airports on the continent. Named for the man who served as the President of France for the duration of the 1960s, this airport is the second busiest in Europe.

9. Shanghai Pudong International Airport - 70,001,237

Shanghai's Pudong International Airport is the ninth busiest airport in the world, having handled 66 million passengers in 2016. Although Shanghai is home to two airports, Pudong is the busier of the two by a landslide. It is located about 30 kilometres away from central Shanghai, and is connected to the city by a line of the Shanghai metro as well as access to the high-speed Maglev train. The airport offers many flights operated by China Eastern Airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines, and Shanghai Airlines. In terms of cargo transportation, Shanghai Pudong measures much higher up the list, at third place worldwide.

8. Hong Kong International Airport - 72,665,078

At number eight is Hong Kong International Airport. Commonly abbreviated as HKIA, it is located on Chek Lap Kok Island and has been in operation since 1998. The airport is a gateway not only for Hong Kong and China, but also for the whole of Asia to foreign visitors. It has been time and again among the busiest cargo gateways in the world and a key logistical point for OneWorld Alliance, a cargo hub for UPS Airlines.

7. London Heathrow Airport - 78,014,598

The United Kingdom's London Heathrow Airport is seventh busiest airport in the world, the largest airfield in the whole of the United Kingdom and the busiest on the European continent. This position is a sharp drop from its previous spot of third busiest. Nonetheless, the airfield a has a total surface covering 12.14 square kilometers. Over 90 airlines scheduled to land in 170 destinations worldwide use Heathrow Airport, making it a hub for airlines around the world. Besides this, the airfield has a total of 4 passenger terminals plus another terminal for cargo planes.

6. O'Hare International Airport - 79,828,183

The United States takes the sixth place as well, with Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Located on the northwest side of Chicago, Illinois, this airport has been termed as the absolute busiest in terms of total numbers of landings and take-offs, which it manages using a total of eight different runaways. Originally called Orchard Field Airport, it was renamed in 1949 in honor of the American navy's first ever flying ace, Edward O'Hare, who received a medal of honor and was killed in action during World War II.

5. Los Angeles International Airport - 84,557,968

The United States' Los Angeles International Airport follows suit as the fifth busiest airport in the world, having served over 84 million passengers in 2017. The airport covers 692 domestic flight patterns to 85 different cities across the US, as well as 928 foreign flight routes to over 60 cities in 34 countries all over the world. Currently, there is a multi-billion-dollar program aimed to upgrade the facility, which will culminate in the New Tom Bradley International Terminal Project. This endeavor is slated to include new gates capable of accommodating the latest generations of aircraft.

4. Tokyo International Airport - 85,408,975

Fourth busiest is Japan's Tokyo Haneda Airport, commonly referenced to as the Tokyo International Airport. Serving the greater Tokyo vicinity, it is also home to Japan Airlines, commonly known as Terminal One, and All Nippon Airways, (or Terminal Two), both of which are principle domestic airlines. Yearly, Haneda caters to around 85 million domestic and international passengers. The consistent recent growth of Haneda has been closely tied to the opening of a devoted international terminal in 2010 and the completion of a fourth runaway which accordingly permits long-haul takeoffs even at night. The commerce policies of the government of Japan have also been critical in encouraging passengers to rely on the airline, especially in regards to attracting foreigners on business trips.

3. Dubai International Airport - 88,242,099

Third in line is the United Arab Emirates' Dubai International Airport, which serves as the major airport for both Dubai and the entirety of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The airport currently has a capacity of serving over 88 million passengers, a number that it is currently only sliding under. The success and growth of this airport is closely tied to its strategic positioning in the economically important Al-Garhoud locality, exactly 2.5 nautical miles east of Dubai, and covering 2,900 hectares of land. The airport also houses Dubai's major international airlines.

2. Beijing Capital International Airport - 95,786,442

The world's second busiest airport is China's Beijing Capital International Airport. It is the main focal point of Air China, the People's Republic of China's flagship carrier wing, which carries passengers to more than 120 destinations. The fact that China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines employ the airdrome as their core as well consequently enlarges its traffic even further still. In preparation for Beijing's hosting of the Olympics in 2008, a third terminal was opened, the scope of which is second in size only to Dubai International Airport's Terminal Three. Beijing Capital International Airport has been second in position since 2010, registering over six hundred thousand take offs and landings in 2012, with this figure not including cargo planes. Today, the airport caters to on average over 95 million passengers every year.

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - 103,902,992

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, handling nearly 104 million passengers every year. On top of serving the greater Atlanta area, the area is also a major connecting hub and a major centre for Delta airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world. Additionally, Hartsfield-Jackson is located within just a two-hour flight away from more than 80% of the United States populace, making the airport an ideal entry point or layover destination.

The Top 20 Busiest Airports in the World

RankAirport CountryAnnual Passenger Count
1 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International AirportUnited States103,902,992
2 Beijing Capital International AirportChina95,786,442
3 Dubai International AirportUnited Arab Emirates88,242,099
4 Tokyo Haneda AirportJapan85,408,975
5 Los Angeles International AirportUnited States84,557,968
6 O'Hare International AirportUnited States79,828,183
7 London Heathrow AirportUnited Kingdom78,014,598
8 Hong Kong International AirportChina72,665,078
9 Shanghai Pudong International AirportChina70,001,237
10 Paris-Charles de Gaulle AirportFrance69,471,442
11 Amsterdam Airport SchipholThe Netherlands68,515,425
12 Dallas/Fort Worth International AirportUnited States67,092,194
13 Guangzhou Baiyun International AirportChina65,887,473
14 Frankfurt AirportGermany64,500,386
15 Istanbul Atatürk AirportTurkey63,859,785
16 Indira Gandhi International AirportIndia63,451,503
17 Soekarno-Hatta International AirportIndonesia63,015,620
18 Singapore Changi AirportSingapore62,219,573
19 Seoul Incheon International AirportRepublic of Korea62,157,834
20 Denver International AirportUnited States61,379,396

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