Do you want to know which is the biggest airport in the world? Many people have had the less-than-ideal experience of quickly switching to a connected flight, only to find that the next gate is in a different country.
Even if it doesn’t feel that far away, changing planes at a big airport is a great way to get in your daily steps, and sometimes those daily steps involve rushing through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports.
Air travel is now an essential part of the world economy. It is the most popular way to travel long distances because it can get tourists, businesspeople, or military personnel to their targets faster and safer than roads, trains, or waterways. Air transport is also the best way to move things other than people, like mail, goods, and armed payloads.
Here are the 10 biggest airports in the world, in order of general area.
Below, we’ll look at the 10 biggest airports on the planet, starting with the 10th biggest airport and going up to the world’s biggest airport, which comes in at number 1. By the time you get to the end of this list, you’ll know for sure which airport is the biggest in the world.
1. King Fahd International Airport (DMM)
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Land Area: 776 sq. km (299.61 sq. mi)
King Fahd International Airport has been recognized as the largest airport in the world by total area, spanning over 299.61 square miles (776 square kilometers). King Fahd Airport, roughly the size of New York City, boasts a comparable magnitude to the metropolis that houses two major airports within its city limits.
Despite being the largest airport in the world, it is not the most active airport in Saudi Arabia. The title of the busiest airport in the country goes to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, which serves as the primary gateway for devout Muslims embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. The impressive size of King Fahd International Airport can be attributed to its history as a former American military base.
Denver International Airport, established in 1995, spans an impressive 135.7 square kilometers (52.4 square miles), making it 1.5 times larger than Manhattan Island.
It is worth noting that the location boasts the lengthiest public-use runway in North America, measuring over 3 miles in length. The airport boasts an impressive array of flight options, with over 215 destinations available to travelers worldwide. To navigate the airport’s expansive layout, an automated train system is in place for convenient transportation.
Denver International Airport, the largest airport in the United States, boasts stunning views of the Rocky Mountains to the west.
3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Location: Dallas, Texas
Land Area: 69.6 sq. km
DFW Airport is the third biggest airport in the world. It is in the Texas prairie between the big cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. American Airlines passengers may be familiar with it.
The airline’s main office is where many flights and planes come and go from there. These changes show people how big the airport is—it’s about the size of Texas.
Overall, DFW airport, one of the world’s biggest airports, comes in at 26.88 square miles (69.6 square kilometers), with the traffic to support that size. It’s the second-busiest airport in the United States by total passenger traffic.
4. Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Location: Orlando, Florida
Land Area: 69.6 sq. km
Orlando International Airport, located in Orlando, Florida, spans an impressive 69.6 square kilometers or 19.7 square miles of land.
With an annual footfall of approximately 50 million, the airport boasts over 135 destinations, catering to domestic and international travelers. As a significant center, it boasts 50 restaurants and 60 shops, catering to most visitors likely en route to Disney World.
5. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Location: Washington, D.C.
Land Area: 52.6 sq. km
The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area boasts three major airports, each of which experiences comparable levels of passenger traffic.
Washington Dulles International Airport surpasses Ronald Reagan National Airport and Baltimore Washington International Airport in total area.
Dulles encompasses an area of 18.75 square miles (48.6 square kilometers). In 1962, the airport was established in a rural location to the west of Washington, D.C., which it currently serves. The airport’s immense size appears less daunting in light of the bustling Virginia suburbs that now encompass it.
The Beijing Daxing International Airport, known as “The Starfish,” boasts the world’s largest single-building airport terminal. Spanning an impressive 46.6 square kilometers (18 square miles), the airport is a remarkable feat of engineering and design.
Despite its promising start in 2019, the airport’s potential to become one of the busiest in the world was hindered by the pandemic. Beijing’s second international airport offers flights to more than 120 destinations worldwide.
The Beijing Daxing International Airport was designed with an eco-friendly approach, incorporating water management systems, solar panels, and waste heat recovery systems. This was done to minimize the airport’s impact on the environment.
7. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Location: Houston, Texas
Land Area: 40.5 sq. km
The Beijing Daxing International Airport, known as “The Starfish,” boasts the world’s largest single-building airport terminal. Spanning 46.6 square kilometers or 18 square miles of land, the airport is a remarkable feat of engineering and design.
Despite its promising start in 2019, the airport’s potential to become one of the busiest in the world was hindered by the global pandemic. Beijing boasts of its second international airport, offering flights to more than 120 global destinations.
The Beijing Daxing International Airport was designed with an environmentally conscious approach, incorporating various features such as water management systems, solar panels, and waste heat recovery systems. These measures have been implemented to minimize the airport’s environmental impact.
8. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
Location: Shanghai, China
Land Area: 40 sq. km
Shanghai Pudong International Airport, one of the two major airports in Shanghai, ranks as China’s second-largest airport. The international gateway in China has been recorded as the busiest in passenger traffic, with an estimated 35 million passengers passing through annually.
The airport boasts an impressive 6 runways and 3 passenger terminals, spanning a vast surface area of 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles).
The Cairo International Airport is Egypt’s primary airport and the most heavily trafficked airport in the North African region. The area covered by it is approximately 37 square kilometers. Established in 1963, the airport has become the second most active airport on the African continent.
10. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Land Area: 32.4 sq. km
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport has secured the 10th spot on the list of largest airports worldwide. Covering an area of 32.4 square kilometers (12.5 square miles), the airport is located in Thailand’s capital city.
Since its establishment in 2006, the airport has become one of the largest in Southeast Asia, accommodating 95 airlines that operate from its premises. The place’s name is derived from the Sanskrit term that translates to “land of gold.”
Top 10 Airports with the Most Take-Offs and Landings in the World
In terms of annual passenger traffic, the following airports rank at the top:
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Location: Atlanta, GA, United States
Take-Offs and Landings: 548,016
It is a crucial hub for flights to and from the South and East of the United States and Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.
ATL Airport is Delta Air Lines (and Partners’) principal hub and a focus city for Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit Airlines. Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Los Angeles, and Tampa in Florida are Atlanta Airport’s five busiest domestic routes.
Amsterdam, Paris, Cancun, London, and Toronto are ATL Airport’s five busiest international routes. It has been the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger volume since 1998.
2. O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Take-Offs and Landings: 538,211
O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, Illinois, serves 84.3 million passengers annually. O’Hare International Airport is the eighth largest airport in the United States, covering about 7,200 acres. These are incredible numbers, especially given that it is also the third busiest airport in the country.
According to Airport Councils International World, the ten largest airports in the world in 2022 are as follows: Hartsfield-Jackson 93.6 million travelers pass via Atlanta International Airport. 73.3 million travelers transit through DFW International Airport. 69.2 million travelers passed via Denver International Airport.
4. Denver International (DEN)
Location: Denver, CO, United States
Take-Offs and Landings: 436,971
Denver Overseas Airport, which opened in 1995, provides direct flights throughout the country and even to overseas destinations such as Reykjavik and Iceland. It has nonstop flights to and from Europe, Asia, North America, and Latin America. It also serves as a Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines hub.
5. Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT)
Location: Phoenix, AZ, United States
Take-Offs and Landings: 402,444
Deer Valley Airport (DVT) is a medium-sized, predominantly business and general aviation airport. It boasts a large permanently based population. It is located approximately 17 miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor and is a convenient alternative to the larger, more congested airport. This convenience has made Deer Valley one of the country’s busiest general aviation airports. The airport is home to several high-activity flight schools, along with many itinerant aircraft, resulting in a hectic air traffic environment.
6. Charlotte Douglas International (CLT)
Location: Charlotte, NC, United States
Take-Offs and Landings: 397,983
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), a City of Charlotte department, is one of the busiest airports in the world. CLT will have received over 48 million passengers by 2022. CLT is served by eight major carriers, 15 regional carriers, and three foreign flag carriers, which provide nonstop service to 180 destinations, including 36 international locations and three US territories.
CLT has 1,400 daily arrivals and departures, and 4 million passengers travel to, from, and through the airport each month. The Airport is a self-sustaining enterprise fund that does not accept tax monies. Airport revenue pays for all capital and operating expenses.
The airport is 12 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of downtown Los Angeles. LAX is the largest international airport on the west coast, with 3,500 acres (1,416 ha) of land and four parallel runways. LAX Airport is the second busiest in the United States.
Los Angeles International Airport is renowned as the central “Gateway to the Pacific Rim” due to its extensive links to Latin America and Asia.
8. Guangzhou Baiyun International (CAN)
Location: Guangzhou, China
Take-Offs and Landings: 373,421
It is the country’s largest airport in the south and serves as the operations base for China Southern Airlines. The airport is currently the second busiest in China regarding passenger traffic and the third most active in cargo movement.
The new Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Huadu District, which cost Y19.8 billion, opened for business on August 5, 2004.
The airport, which covers an area of 15 km2, is China’s first to be conceived and built on the hub idea.
9. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
Location: Shanghai, China
Take-Offs and Landings: 325,678
Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, and Spring Airlines use Shanghai Pudong International Airport as a hub. Hainan Airlines uses it as a focus city.
It also serves as a freight hub for China Freight Airlines, China Southern Cargo, DHL Aviation, FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, and Suparna Airlines.
10. McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Location: Las Vegas, NV, United States
Take-Offs and Landings: 323,422
McCarran International Airport (LAS) is just a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip and serves as the city’s primary airport for arrivals. Because the airport is so close to the city, glance out the window during your final descent for a bird’s-eye view of the famous Las Vegas Strip and the Mojave Desert.
Over 50 million people travel through its gates each year, making McCarran one of the busiest international airports in the United States.
Top 10 Busiest and Biggest Airports in The World by Total Passengers
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. According to ACI, 93.7 million passengers will fly through Atlanta in 2022. This is a nearly 24% increase over the 75.7 million passengers who passed through Atlanta in 2021. Despite topping the list in 2022, Atlanta’s 2022 passenger numbers are still 15% lower than in 2019, demonstrating that air transport is still in recovery mode.
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (93.7 million)
Total passengers in 2022: 93 699, 630
Compared to 2021: 23.8% increase
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) remains a major connecting hub for air travel to and within the United States, particularly for Delta Air Lines and its partners, with 93.7 million passengers passing through its terminals in 2017. However, it has much more to offer than the overwhelming number of passengers.
As the headquarters of Delta, there is at least one Delta Sky Club in each of the airport’s seven concourses (A, B, C, D, E, F, and T). In addition, Priority Pass holders and those who purchase a day pass have access to the American Airlines Admirals Club, United Club, and the Club at ATL. Atlanta also has an extensive art program with permanent and rotating exhibits.
2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Total passengers in 2022: 73 362, 946
Compared to 2021: 17.5% increase
Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) could be considered a small city (it even has its zip code), covering more than 26 square miles and containing 168 entrances across five terminals. To attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, the airport recently received a $35 million federal grant to build a zero-carbon electrical plant.
The good news is that there are a few decent eateries if you spend additional time in this sprawling travel complex. If you’re searching for a sit-down meal in Terminal A, head to Ling & Louie’s for elevated Asian cuisine.
If you want one last barbecue taste before departing, visit Salt Lick BBQ or Twisted Root for a hearty burger. In Terminal B, you can enjoy a goblet of wine in an elegant setting at Decanted and smoked meats and sides at Cousins BBQ. There is an always-reliable Shake Shack in Terminal C, the Fort Worth Coffeehouse Brewed in Terminal D, and the Mexican-inspired Blue Mesa Taco & Tequila Bar in Terminal E.
3. Denver International Airport (DEN)
Total passengers in 2022: 69 286, 461
Compared to 2021: 17.8% increase
In the autumn of 2022, Denver International Airport (DEN) completed a capacity expansion project that added 39 new gates to the mountain hub, increasing the total number of entrances across the airport’s three terminals by 30 percent to 90. Additionally, the airport now features three outdoor decks where passengers can enjoy fresh air and views of Colorado, along with family seating areas, nursing rooms, new restroom facilities, charging stations, workstations, and rest areas.
4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Total passengers in 2022: 68 340, 619
Compared to 2021: 26.5% increase
This busy airport in the Midwestern United States has 193 gates and four terminals (Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5; there is no Terminal 4). Firstly, the food options at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) are considerably superior than they used to be. Tortas Frontera, supported by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, is mainly responsible for this. The flawlessly toasted tortas are available in Terminals 1, 3, and 5 at O’Hare International Airport. Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi Bar (Terminals 1 and 2) offers lighter cuisine.
The Hilton Athletic Club within the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel sells day passes that grant access to a steam room, sauna, lap pool, and locker facilities if you wish to work up a sweat between flights. For some pre-flight calm, you can also visit the yoga room and urban garden in Terminal 3 or the Terminal Getaway Spa in Terminal 1. In Terminal 2, near Gate F1, there is a family lounge with a children’s play area and nursing chambers in all four terminals.
This enormous global gateway in the United Arab Emirates ranks fifth for total passenger volume in 2022 but first for international passenger volume. Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport (DBX) increased by 127 percent in 2022, propelling it to the fifth position from the 27th in 2021.
The terminals at Dubai International Airport are three in number. Terminal 3 contains Concourses A, B, and C and is Emirates’s designated terminal. Terminal 2 is reserved for charter and special-use flights, while Terminal 1 houses the enormous Concourse D, which services all other global airlines. In 2022, most DBX passengers originated from India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and the United States, with London, Riyadh, and Mumbai being the most popular destinations from Dubai.
6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Total passengers in 2022: 65 924, 298
Compared to 2021: 37.3% increase
LAX, as it is commonly known (because that is the airport code), is undergoing a significant transformation. The expansive Southern California airport recently broke ground on several major construction projects expected to alleviate many of the airport’s traffic problems. 2023 is the anticipated completion date for the electric rail system to provide public transportation access to and from the airport. And LAX has also undergone additional changes.
After you’ve refueled, check out some of the airport’s art installations. Every major U.S. airline and several international airlines, credit card corporations, and airline alliance networks have at least one lounge at LAX.
7. Istanbul Airport (IST)
Total passengers in 2022: 64,289,107
Compared to 2021: 73.8% increase
Istanbul Airport (IST) is the only gateway on the most recent list to have exceeded its 2019 passenger numbers by a staggering 23 percent. Except for Denver (essentially unchanged compared to 2019), all other top 10 airports remained below 2019.
That may be partially attributable to the fact that Istanbul Airport is a newer facility (the first phase of which opened in October 2018) that, when completed, will be able to accommodate up to 200 million passengers per year — more than triple that of its predecessor Atatürk International Airport, which closed in 2019.
Istanbul Airport, located 35 kilometers north of the city center, is on course to become a 29.5-square-mile facility (more significant than Manhattan Island) with six runways. The new airport terminal was designed to resemble Istanbul’s mosques and baths. At the same time, the structure of the air traffic control tower was inspired by a tulip, one of the city’s traditional symbols.
8. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Total passengers in 2022: 61,614, 508
Compared to 2021: 217.7% increase
The airport with the most remarkable recovery in 2022 is London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), whose passenger numbers increased by 218 percent from 2021 to 2022, propelling it from 54th to eighth place in 2022.
The primary international hub for the capital of the United Kingdom consists of four busy terminals, 2, 3, and 5 (Terminal 1 closed in 2015), with future proposals to construct a third runway and a new airport. Until then, the expansive facility offers numerous services and amenities.
Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3 make up the primary international airport servicing the capital of India, with Terminal 3 being the fifth-largest single terminal in India. Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) is India’s primary international airport and the only one with three operational runways.
The hub airport is also the first carbon-neutral airport in the Asia-Pacific region, as recognized by ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Program, and is equipped with a substantial solar power facility and energy efficiency program.
10. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Total passengers in 2022: 57 474, 033
Compared to 2021: 119.4% increase
Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport, located approximately 30 kilometers northeast of the city, is the principal international gateway for Paris and the principal European hub for the SkyTeam network. Even if passengers are not flying to Paris or France, this airport is a significant hub for flights to and through Europe.
Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport (abbreviated CDG) has three terminals: Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3. Terminal 2 comprises several subterminal structures, 2A through 2G, and is home to Air France, SkyTeam, Oneworld, and other international airlines. Terminals 2B to 2D are renovated to modernize and enlarge the spaces.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted airports and traffic around the globe, altering the ranking of the world’s busiest airports. The airline industry and airports have suffered tremendous losses, particularly in 2020, but the industry is steadily recovering.
The top 10 busiest airports have altered as the number of passengers decreased by more than 50 percent between 2019 and 2021.
In the subsequent years, there will likely be even more changes, with the airports that had the most traffic in the past returning to the summit.
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