US leads ranking of world’s top 20 busiest airports

21 April 2016 2 min. read
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Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport on the planet, helping establish the US as the primary national player in a lucrative global industry. But the strongest growth is coming from the Far-East, which is now home to eight of the world’s top 20 airports.

Six of the 20 busiest airports in the world can be found in the US, placing the country in pole position to capitalize on projected aviation industry growth. Cavok, the aviation consulting arm of Oliver Wyman, has estimated that global aircraft volume will expand 3.7% per year until 2025 to meet growing consumer and business demand.

That demand is brightly illustrated by new figures from the Airports Council International (ACI) which show a 5% increase in worldwide passenger volume from 2014 to 2015. Last year approximately 1.34 billion people took to the skies on domestic and international flights.

More than 101 million of them landed at or jetted off from Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2015. The major hub - which is within a two hour flight radius for 80% of the US population - clocked a 5 million increase in passenger volume to soar over the 100 million mark for the first time in history.

20 most important airports in the world

Recording just under 90 million passengers, Beijing Capital International Airport comes second. Potent threats to Atlanta’s dominance come from third-placed Dubai and Shanghai Pudong - both of which posted the strongest absolute growth rates among the global elite.

Other US airports cracking the global top 20 for passenger numbers were Chicago’s O’Hare in fourth spot with almost 77 million and Los Angeles in seventh with 75 million. Dallas/Fort Worth, Kennedy, and Denver occupied spots between 10 and 19.

The US edges out China but - when Indonesia’s Soekarno-Hatta, Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi, Singapore’s Changi and Japan’s Tokyo airports are included - Asia has a stronger presence in the top 20 than North America. There are four European airports, with London Heathrow the busiest in sixth spot. Dubai and Istanbul Ataturk are the twin goliaths in the expanding Middle East hub.