Four of top five busiest airports are in United States

International travel is bouncing back, but still lags pre-pandemic levels
Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Chicago are the world's busiest airports by passenger numbers, ahead of Dubai, according to Airports Council International

In its latest traffic report, Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, confirms that four of the top five airports when it comes to passenger numbers are in the United States.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport saw a 24% increase in traffic to reach 93.7 million passengers, making it the busiest in the world in 2022.

For the ninth consecutive year, Dubai airport has been named the world’s busiest for international passengers, and in fifth place for total passengers, as numbers soared by 127% from 2021 to 2022 to hit 66.1 million passengers.

Atlanta was significantly clear of Dallas / Fort Worth in second place on the list, with 73.4 million – a full 20 million behind Atlanta. Third was Denver (69.3 million) with Chicago (68.3 million) in fourth.

These rankings for 2022 were the same as 2021, with only Dubai spoiling a top[ 5 clean sweep as it edged ahead of Los Angeles (65.9 million).

US airports dominate the list, thanks to a strong domestic market

“While we continue to march forward cautiously amidst multiple headwinds that could impact the speed and magnitude of global air traffic recovery, the latest rankings represent an important milestone in reaching pre-pandemic levels,” said ACI World's director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

However, despite huge increases in passenger numbers making the most of a return to international travel, the figures for 2022 are still around 25% down on pre-pandemic numbers for 2019.

One standout in the international top 10 is Singapore Changi Airport. Often cited as the world’s best airport, Changi saw 31.9 million passengers in 2022, and while that is a 953% increase on 2021, it is down more than half compared to 2019 – heavily impacted by the strict lockdowns seen across Asia Pacific and the impact on the Chinese market.

“The reopening of China, the second-largest aviation market after the US, is now expected to bring an overall gain, both domestically and for international travel,” added Oliveira.

Just recently, Singapore Changi was named the World’s Best Aiport by Skytrax, voted for by passengers. 

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been named Best Airport at Arrivals Globally by ACI, alongside Abu Dhabi International Airport and Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport.

Other award winners recognised by ACI in its recent awards include the following airports by passenger numbers:

Under 2 million passengers per year
Fort McMurray International Airport

2 to 5 million passengers per year
Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport

5 to 15 million passengers per year
Indianapolis International Airport
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

15 to 25 million passengers per year
San Jose Mineta International Airport

25 to 40 million passengers per year
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport

Over 40 million passengers per year
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
San Francisco International Airport

ACI serves 712 members, operating 1,925 airports in 171 countries. 

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