Top 30 Busiest Airports In The World

If you ever traveled by plane internationally, then you probably have a pretty good idea about how crowded and busy airports can be. These massive transportation hubs are at the backbone of tourism and travel for many famous countries around the world, and it’s quite easy to understand why since airplanes are undoubtedly the fastest means of transportation on the planet. Today we’re going to have a look at a top 30 regarding the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic. Care to join us?

London’s Gatwick Airport

30. George Bush International Airport

George Bush International Airport

The George Bush International Airport can be found in Houston, Texas, and it provides both domestic and international service for the Greater Houston metropolitan area of the USA. As you may have already figured out by now, the airport was named after the renowned US president George W. Bush, but what you may not know is that it served about 33.2 million passengers in 2013, which is nothing to sneeze at but still a long way behind the top 5 airports on our list.

29. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

As one of the largest commercial airports in Southwestern United States, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is undoubtedly the most important airport in Arizona. Apart from the massive number of passengers that pass through its gates every day, this airport also handles about 800 tons of cargo daily. In 2013, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport served a total of 33.5 million passengers, which means that it was the 29th busiest airport in the world that year.

28. Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport

Even though it is definitely the most important and the busiest airport in the South Florida region of the USA, the Miami International Airport actually lands at no.28 on our list. The airport links the USA to Latin America, but it also provides service across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. What makes Miami International really special is that it is one of a few US airports that is actually able to accommodate the massive Airbus A380 jumbo jet. Regarding its passenger input in 2013, Miami International received 33.6 million passengers through its gates.

27. Madrid–Barajas Airport

Madrid–Barajas Airport

As the main airport of Spain’s capital, Madrid, the Madrid–Barajas Airport first opened its gates in 1928 and gradually became one of the most important airports in Europe as the years passed. Highly accessible, this airport is located just 5.6 miles away from Madrid’s financial district. The airport’s name was chosen in regards to the nearby Barajas district of Madrid, a district that is directly connected to the airport via a metro station. The 27th busiest airport on our list serviced 33.6 million passengers in 2013.

26. London’s Gatwick Airport

London’s Gatwick Airport

The second largest international airport in London is naturally the second-busiest one in the UK. The airport is famous for its point-to-point flights and for its massive single-use runway that is able to accommodate 55 aircrafts per hour. Some of the busiest routes of Gatwick Airport are linked to Malaga, Dublin, Barcelona, Geneva and Madrid. In 2013, Gatwick Airport saw as many as 34 million passengers.

25. Seoul’s Incheon International Airport

Seoul’s Incheon International Airport

The primary airport of the Seoul National Capital Area is called Incheon International Airport, and it is undoubtedly one of the most modern and technologically advanced airports in the world presently. Between 2005 and 2012, Airports Council International rated Incheon International Airport as the best airport in the world, and you’ll quickly understand why when you’ll find out that this place features its own golf course, casino, ice-skating rink, museum, private sleeping arrangements and several gardens. Located just 30 miles away from Seoul, Incheon International Airport facilitated air travel for 34,9 million people in 2013.

24. McCarran International Airport

McCarran International Airport

The McCarran International Airport can be found in Paradise, Nevada, USA, and it serves the renowned city of Las Vegas. The airport was named in the honor of Pat McCarran, who was a Nevada Senator. Since it is directly linked to the “gambling capital of the world”, McCarran International has over 1,200 slot machines across its terminals. With a total covered area of 2,800 acres and 4 runways, it’s not very surprising that the McCarran International Airport managed to serve 35.2 million passengers in 2013.

23. Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport can be found in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it was founded in 1935 under the Charlotte Municipal Airport name. Honoring a former Charlotte mayor by the name of Ben Elbert Douglas, the airport was renamed in 1954 to Douglas Municipal Airport, and it is now one of the busiest airports in the world. In 2013, 36.2 million passengers went through the gates of this massive airport.

22. San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport

Found in close proximity to downtown San Francisco, the San Francisco International Airport is a very popular choice for North American citizens who wish to travel to Europe and Asia. As the second busiest airport in California, San Francisco International is the main base of Virgin America and a very large hub of United Airlines. with 37 million clients serviced in 2013, the San Francisco International Airport is quite the busy establishment.

21. Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

The main international airport of Malaysia is the Kuala Lumpur airport, and it can be found about 37 miles away from the city itself. Massive in scale, it was built at a staggering cost of $3.5 billion, and it covers an area of 37 square miles. As the major hub of Malaysia Airlines, this airport is undoubtedly one of the busiest of its kind in the country, especially since it welcomed as many as 38 million passengers through its gates in 2013.

20. Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

The main international airport of Shanghai is called Shanghai Pudong, and it was built just 19 miles away from the center of this massive city. As a major base of operations for Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, this airport flaunts 2 huge passenger terminals. Furthermore, since it is directly affiliated with the Asian-Pacific branches of DHL and UPS, Shanghai Pudong is known to be one of the largest express hubs in all of Asia. In 2013, this outstanding Chinese airport served 39 million passengers, which is a lot.

19. John F. Kennedy International Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport

Even though it was initially called the New York International Airport in 1948, the John F. Kennedy International was renamed in honor of 35th president of the USA in 1963. Built just 12 miles away from Lower Manhattan, this airport operates within Queens under the supervision of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As one of the busiest and largest international airports in the states, the JFK is home to over 70 airlines and had a combined passenger input of 42.3 million in 2013.

18. Suvarnabhumi Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport

With 42.5 million passengers “under its belt” in 2013, the Suvarnabhumi Airport can be found within Thailand’s capital of Bangkok. A relatively new airport, Suvarnabhumi opened for business officially in 2006. Placed just 16 miles away from Bangkok’s center, this airport is famous for including the tallest freestanding control tower in the world, which soars to an altitude of 434 feet.

17. Istanbul Atatürk Airport

Istanbul Atatürk Airport

The Istanbul Atatürk Airport is undoubtedly the busiest airport in Turkey by number of passengers, boasting no less than 43.2 million of them in 2013. Placed conveniently on the European part of Yeşilköy, the Istanbul Atatürk was built just 15 miles away from the city’s core and was named in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the first president of the Republic of Turkey.

16. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

China’s Guangdong province can be found on the shoreline of the South China Sea, and it is the most populous province in the country presently. The Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport serves the capital of this very important province, and it represents the primary hub of China Southern Airlines. Opened in 2004, the airport is located within Guangzhou’s Huadu District, and it boasted with 43.7 million passengers in 2013.

15. Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

The largest airport in the United States by occupied area is the Denver International Airport, since it covers a total area of 54 square miles. Consequently, this airport also features the longest public use runway in the country. Denver International provides around the clock service to various destinations in all corners of the world. From 2005 to 2010, this airport was chosen as the “Best Airport in North America” by the readers of Business Traveler Magazine. 44 million travelers chose Denver International as their airport in 2013.

14. Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport

Placed just 10 miles away from the commercial district of Changi, the Singapore Changi Airport is the largest and most important airport in Singapore. Thanks to a total of 3 massive passenger terminals, this airport has a total passenger capacity of 66 million, but it handled “just” 44.1 million in 2013. The group that operates the airport presently is called Changi Airport Group, while the airlines that are based at Singapore Changi are SilkAir, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Singapore Airlines, Valuair, Jetstar Asia Airways and Tigerair.

13. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

If you want to reach the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol from the city’s center, all you have to do is embark on a 20-minute drive. As the primary international airport of the Netherlands, the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is found within Haarlemmermeer and acts as a European branch of Delta Air Lines as well as a base for the low-cost Spanish airline called Vueling. It’s not surprising, then, that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol served no less than 45 million passengers in 2013.

12. Soekarno–Hatta International Airport

Soekarno–Hatta International Airport

The Jakarta area of the island of Java in Indonesia is served by the Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, which was named after the first president and the vice-president of Indonesia: Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta. This airport replaced the Kemayoran Airport in 1985, and it has gradually grown into the busiest airport in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2013, for example, 49 million passengers passed through the gates of the Soekarno–Hatta International Airport.

11. Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport

The island of Chek Lap Kok is the home of the Hong Kong International Airport, which is officially operational since 1998. As the busiest cargo gateway in the world and one of the busiest passenger airports worldwide, the Hong Kong International Airport operates under the supervision of Airport Authority Hong Kong and serves as a main hub for Hong Kong Express Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair. No less than 49.5 million people saw the Hong Kong International Airport with their own eyes in 2013.

10. Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt Airport

The fifth-largest city in Germany is called Frankfurt, and its international airport was actually the 10th busiest in the world by passenger traffic in 2013. Frankfurt Airport serves as a base for the renowned airline Lufthansa. Covering a total area of 8.1 square miles, this airport is able to facilitate the transit of about 65 million passengers a year, but it actually served 49 million in 2013. Placed in close proximity to the city itself, the Frankfurt Airport was built just 7.2 miles away and is surrounded by the Frankfurt City Forest.

9. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was the world’s ninth busiest airport in 2013 (50 million passengers), and it can be found between the important cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex enjoys great independence, since it features its own police station, fire station, zip code and medical facilities, which is why it makes sense that it would have its own airport as well. Initially dubbed Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport, this important establishment was opened officially in 1974 and required no less than $700 million to be complete. It wasn’t until 1985 that its name was changed to Dallas/Fort Worth International.

8. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

The Charles de Gaulle Airport of Paris, France is the largest international airport in the country and was named in honor of Charles de Gaulle – the founder of the French Fifth Republic. This airport serves as a primary base for the Air France company, and it welcomed 52.6 million people in 2013. Occupying 12.5 square miles of space, the Charles the Gaulle Airport is managed by Aéroports de Paris and features a total of 3 main terminals.

7. Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport

The primary airport of Dubai is called Dubai International, and it can be found in the city’s Al Garhoud district, just 2.9 miles away from the city itself. As a base for Emirates SkyCargo, Emirates and FlyDubai, this airport is a highly significant and busy airline center in the Middle East. The airport is famous for its Terminal 3, which is the grandest airport terminal in the world. With a total yearly capacity of 80 million travelers, Dubai International flaunted a total traffic of 55 million people in 2013, which is why it landed at no.7 on our list.

6. Lost Angeles International Airport

Lost Angeles International Airport

Serving the massive Greater Los Angeles Area, the Lost Angeles International Airport is currently under the ownership of Los Angeles World Airports and represents one of the busiest airports on the globe. Also known as LAX, this airport includes a total of 9 horseshoe-shaped terminals, and it served 55.8 million individuals in 2013.

5. Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Built in the northwestern part of Chicago, the Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the main airport of the Chicago area, and it was built 17 miles away from its renowned financial district or Loop. The airport features 4 terminals called Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 5, out of which only Terminal 5 handles international arrivals. There are quite a lot of airlines that operate from within Chicago O’Hare International, some examples including British Airlines, Avianca, Emirates, Air Lingus, Air France and American Airlines. Sitting comfortably at no.5 on our list, the Chicago O’Hare International Airport saw 56 million passengers in 2013.

4. Tokyo International Airport

Tokyo International Airport

The international airport of Tokyo also goes by the name of Haneda Airport, and it serves the Greater Tokyo Area. This airport is also the main base of 2 famous Japanese airlines called All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, but numerous low-cost companies also use this airport as their headquarters. Located just 8.7 miles away from Tokyo Station, the airport was built within a special ward called Ōta or Ōta City. As the 4th busiest airport in the world in 2013, Tokyo International served 57 million people in that year alone.

3. London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport

London’s busiest and most important airport is called London Heathrow Airport, and it can be found in the western part of London, within the Hillingdon borough. Massive in scale, this airport is actually a contemporary aerotropolis that can be found just 14 miles away from the capital of the UK. Thanks to its 4 massive terminals, this incredible airport was able to accommodate 61 million passengers in 2013.

2. Beijing Capital International Airport

Beijing Capital International Airport

The Beijing Capital International Airport is located in an enclave of Chaoyang District, and it is currently owned by the Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited. Since it serves China’s capital – one of the most populous cities in the world, the Beijing Capital International Airport is actually the second-busiest airport in the world presently, and it had a massive input of 70 million passengers in 2013. This airport is the main base for one of China’s most appreciated airline companies, Air China.

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

And the absolute busiest airport by passenger traffic in 2013 is the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is also known as Atlanta Airport or Hartsfield–Jackson. Massive in scale, this airport has retained its name as the world’s busiest by passenger traffic since 1998, and it managed to provide service to no less than 79 million people in 2013. Among the many companies that operate out of this stunning airport, we count Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.

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