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The busiest and biggest airport in the World, Europe, UK and US

Every year, Airport Council International provides information on the most popular passenger and most downloaded airports around the world. Having analyzed all the information and data from airports for 2017, the first step in this ranking was occupied by the American Atlanta-Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, which is located in Georgia. On average, every month, the airport is visited by about 8 million passengers, which is the highest rate among all airports in the world.

The second position in the world ranking of downloaded airports is owned by Beijing Airport — Should International Airport, which is the largest airport in China.

The Dubai International Airport is the largest civilian airport in the United Arab Emirates, located 4 kilometres south-east of Dubai’s centre, which occupied the third place in the world ranking of downloaded airports.

Taking into account the list of the 20 most loaded passengers of airports around the world, according to annual data, all these airports offer their services to about 1.5 billion passengers, which provides about 17% of the world’s passenger traffic.

Also, Airport Council International has analyzed the data of those airports which positions on passenger capacity have increased dramatically and which have a potential for expansion, they are considered promising, such airports such as:

  • Benito Juárez International Airport, Mexico.
  • Sukarno Hatta International Airport, located in Indonesia.
  • Indira Gandhi International Airport, located in India.
  • Barcelona International Airport, Spain.

The list of the busiest airports in the world

After analyzing information from 1,202 airports located around the world, specialized experts provided information about the most popular airports among the tourists. Here is TOP 10 the most downloaded airports in the world listed below.

Rank Airport Location Country Code
(IATA/ICAO)
Traffic,
mln ppl
1 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport Atlanta, Georgia USA ATL/KATL 103,9
2 Beijing Capital International Airport Chaoyang-Shunyi, Beijing China PEK/ZBAA 95,8
3 Dubai International Airport Garhoud, Dubai UAE DXB/OMDB 88,2
4 Tokyo Haneda Airport Ōta, Tokyo HND/RJTT 85,4
5 Los Angeles International Airport Los Angeles, California USA LAX/KLAX 84,6
6 O’Hare International Airport Chicago, Illinois USA ORD/KORD 79,8
7 London Heathrow Airport Hillingdon, London UK LHR/EGLL 78
8 Hong Kong International Airport Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong China HKG/VHHH 72,7
9 Shanghai Pudong International Airport Pudong, Shanghai China PVG/ZSPD 70
10 Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport Roissy-en-France, Île-de-France France CDG/LFPG 69,5

#1 International Airport Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, USA

103,9 mln — annual passenger traffic

-0,3% — decreased passenger traffic

Airline’s main hub: Delta Air Lines

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

What’s the biggest airport in the world? This question is being asked by many people. The official opening of the airport took place in 1926, and the location of the airport is 11 kilometres from Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. It takes the first position on the top of this list for about 10 years and stands ground. Over the year, more than 100 million passengers use the airport’s services. There are more than 190 exits in the airport building. Flights are made to Asia, Europe, Africa. However, there are a lot of flights to the cities of the United States and South America. It has its own metro station. This is the southernmost station according to the MARTA system.

#2 Beijing Capital International Airport, China

95,8 mln — annual passenger traffic

+1,5% — increased passenger traffics

The main hub of airlines: Air China, Hainan Airlines, and China Southern Airlines

International Airport, Shawda, China

The second largest passenger traffic airport in the world. About 84 million passengers are served by the airport throughout the year. The official opening of the airport took place in 1958. Since then, the airport has had 3 global redevelopments for modernization and in accordance with modern requirements and needs. The height of the tower’s flight control is 98.3 meters, making it the tallest building of this airport. Red is the colour of luck in Chinese culture so as the painted roof of the third terminal. In the third terminal, there are cafes and restaurants with a wide range of dishes, both Chinese and European cuisine. It should be noted that there are 72 cafes with a great variety of the European and Chinese cuisine only in Termination 3.

#3 International Airport Dubai, UAE

88,2 mln — annual passenger traffic

+5,5% — increased passenger traffic

The main hub of the airlines: Singapore Airlines, Yemenia, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Air India, Pakistan International Airlines

This is the largest civilian airport in the United Arab Emirates, located 4 kilometres southeast of Dubai’s historic city centre in the Al-Garhoud district. Each year, the Dubai International Airport provides up to 60 million passengers and carries more than 2 million tons of cargo, with an estimated budget of about $ 5.5 billion.

#4 Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan

85,4 mln — annual passenger traffic

+6,5% — increased passenger traffic

Airline’s main hub: Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Hokkaido International Airlines and Skymark Airlines

Tokyo Haneda Airport

This is a state-owned international airport, located in Japan, in the district of Haneda, Ota district of Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The official opening took place in 1931. Initially, it carried out only domestic and international air transportation, but when it was opened in 1978, this airport began to accept only domestic flights. This is one of the largest airports in the world.

#5 Los Angeles International Airport, USA

84,6 mln — annual passenger traffic

+4,5% — increased passenger traffict

Airline’s main hub: Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Volaris

Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport is ranked the 2nd in congestion in the United States and the 4th in terms of congestion in the world. The official opening of the international airport took place in 1929, at that moment the first hangar was built on the site of the modern airport. As of today, the Los Angeles airport is receiving around 85 million passengers a year.

#6 O’Hare International Airport, USA

79,8 mln — annual passenger traffic

+2,4% — increased passenger traffic

Airline’s main hub: Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines

O'Hare International Airport

This international airport was the most loaded airport in the world until 2005. The opening of this international airport took place during the Second World War, in 1942-1943. As of today, the total passenger traffic is about 80 million passengers within one year. The airport cooperates with the largest airlines in the world.

#7 London Heathrow Airport, UK

78 mln — annual passenger traffic

+3,0% — increased passenger traffic

Airline’s main hub: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways

London Heathrow Airport
This airport belongs to the British Airports Authority (BAA), its location is 22 kilometres west of central London. Its area is 1 227 hectares, contains 2 runways and there are 5 terminals for receiving passengers. The airport operates 84 international airlines and connects 184 destinations in 80 countries. The airport was built in the 30’s of the last century and fully began its work in 1946. The fifth terminal was built and put into operation only in 2008, and the major repair of the fourth terminal was carried out in 2009.

#8 Hong Kong International Airport, China

72,7 mln — annual passenger traffic

+3,4% — increased passenger traffic

Airline’s main hub: Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Express Airways, Hong Kong Airlines and Air Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Airport

The airport’s official opening took place in 1998, the airport became both a regional cargo transportation centre and a passenger airport, which operates flights to China, East, and South-East Asia. Hong Kong International Airport operates its passenger reception service 24 hours a day and is currently one of the most loaded airports in the world in terms of international passenger and freight traffic. Each year, this airport carries around 70 million passengers and 4 million tons of different cargo.

#9 Shanghai Pudong International Airport, China

70 mln — annual passenger traffic

+6,1% — increased passenger traffic

Airline’s main hub: China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Air China

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

This international airport has 2 passenger terminals and also has 3 runways. Based on the airport master plan, there are plans for the construction of 3 passenger terminals and 2 additional runways, which will provide passenger traffic to 80 million passengers per year. The airport operates around the clock, which is not commonplace for Chinese airports. The airport is the third largest airport in China. Also, the airport is strategic for the purpose of cargo transportation, each year it carries about 3 million tons of cargo, which is a high indicator in the world.

#10 Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, France

69,5 mln — annual passenger traffic

+5,4% — increased passenger traffic

The main hub of airlines: Air France

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport

The location of this airport is 25 kilometres northeast of the city of Paris, the official opening took place in the spring of 1974. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport contains 8 terminals, which are interconnected between free shuttle buses every 7 minutes. The airport accepts and sends more than 1,400 flights to more than 100 airlines. Its services are used by approximately 150,000 passengers a day.

The Biggest airport in Europe

The demand for flights across Europe is growing very rapidly, in this connection, there is a need for world-class airports that would provide not only high and comfortable conditions for passengers but also large passenger traffic.

Of the 10 the most downloaded airports, there are 2 European ones:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • Charles de Gaulle Airport

These, London and Paris’s airports are of great importance in air travel for many European and world airlines. The number of flights operated by these two airports is equivalent to most of the world air traffic. These two airports not only do not reduce their passenger traffic but also increase passenger traffic figures, which, according to information for the past 2017 year, is 78,014,598 passengers for Heathrow Airport and 69,471,442 passengers for the Charles de Gaulle Airport, which is an extremely high figure.

The busiest airports in the UK

There are a large number of British international airports, including commercial international airports and various private airfields.

Today, the commercial Heathrow International Airport is one of the largest and at the same time one of the most loaded airports in the UK, it provides passenger services for the vast majority of domestic flights in the UK itself, as well as international flights to most of the world, this airport is a definite centre for international flights to many other countries. Great Britain is a fairly small country, an internal flight can take several hours to travel from one end of the UK to another, according to this, it can be concluded that domestic flights within the country are carried out at small airports, and in larger airports, passengers make outbound flights to other countries of the world.

We analyzed the popularity of airports, also taking into account the following criteria:

  • Comfort for passengers, this criterion is provided by figures that show this criterion according to the number of passengers who landed at a particular airport.
  • Possibility for passengers to make connecting flights from one airport according to another destination of the passenger.
  • Information provided by the International Airport Council, which carries out an analysis and gives its assessment in accordance with all the criteria for one full year.

Concluding all of these criteria and indicators, we have conducted an analysis according to which we can provide information on the top 10 busiest airports in the UK.

London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport, the biggest airport in London, as mentioned above, is one of the most loaded airports in the United Kingdom, which according to recent data, has taken about 50 million passengers in half a year, which gives grounds to consider this airport one of the most loaded airports. Our list is headed by the London Heathrow Airport, Britain’s busiest airport because it has such a high passenger flow that equates to about 200,000 passengers daily.

Gatwick Airport

This is an internationally popular airport, located 40 kilometres south of London. With a passenger flow of more than 35 million passengers throughout the year, this airport is the second largest airport in the United Kingdom and is ranked the 10th in terms of traffic in airports in Europe as a whole.

The airport provides services to 45 international airlines, which connect more than 200 different international destinations in more than 90 countries, as well as 12 domestic routes that enable domestic flights to citizens and guests of the United Kingdom.

The 346 airport shuttle racks provide quick check-in for passengers. The airport itself serves about 24,000 people and generates an annual profit of 2 billion pounds sterling, which is invested in the economy of London and the UK as a whole.

Manchester airport

This airport, located 15 minutes from central Manchester, is the international and the most popular and loaded north airport in the UK. By busy, this airport ranks the third in terms of downloaded airports in the UK.

Manchester Airport provides its services to more than a hundred different airlines and provides 225 airline destinations around the world. Britain’s busiest airport provides high-quality passenger services and fast air service.

The airport contains 2 parallel runways with a total length of 3,048 meters, the airport has 3 passenger terminals, 1 international general cargo terminal, 46 airbridges and 254 places for registration.

As noted above, at Manchester airport there are three passenger terminals, each of which is interconnected. The location of the first and third terminals is one building, and terminals 1 and 2 are connected via a closed passage, which also connects these terminals to the railway station.

Terminal №1
The first terminal provides for international flights. The total area of this terminal is about 110,000 m². Built in 1962, to this day, this terminal has been expanded and upgraded to meet the needs of today’s passengers. The capacity of the first terminal is about 11 million passengers a year.

Terminal №2
Terminal 2, in most cases, is served by various charter airlines. Built and put into operation in 1993, this terminal serves a large number of regular international European and transcontinental flights. The terminal itself has a total area of 52,000 m². Passenger capacity of the second terminal is about 8 million passengers a year.

Terminal №3
This terminal provides domestic flights through the UK and a small number of European flights. This terminal has a total area of 44.400 m².

The Manchester airport was put into operation in June 1938. At this very moment, he provided job positions for 19,000 people in the northwest of Great Britain.

London Stansted Airport

This airport is the 4th most loaded airport in England for half a year its passenger traffic amounted to about 12 million passengers. The airport is owned by the Manhattan Airports Group — MAG, starting in January 2013.

The airport services are under the control of 12 international airlines, which operate in more than 160 international destinations in 30 countries of the world. The airport has 135 registered places for checking passengers, 25,726 parking spaces for cars. The airport terminal itself was under reconstruction.

At the airport terminal, there are luggage storage cameras, a small number of shops and restaurants, and the airport is provided with free wi-fi.

London Luton Airport

Luton Airport takes the 5th position, it is the UK airport, which location is 30 kilometres north of London. Over the past half year, more than 7 million passengers have used the airport’s services.

This airport was opened in the summer of 1938 and was named Luton. Today, the airport serves almost all popular air carriers, and also works with charter carriers. From the airport, 100 international destinations are operated. This is one of the biggest airports in the UK.

The runway is about 2160 meters, the airport provides passengers with two terminals that were opened in 1985 and 1999, and also there is a cargo terminal serving more than 500 people.

At the airport there are various upgrades, through which there is an accelerated process of registration of passengers, respectively, all these and subsequent extensions, in the plans, will increase the passenger traffic to 14-15 million passengers throughout the year who will use the services of this airport.

Edinburgh airport

Edinburgh Airport is the 6th on the passenger flow of airports in England. The official opening of the airport took place in 1977, and today, the airport provides its services to about 25 thousand passengers daily.

Besides, the airport offers its services to about 40 airlines, contains 2 runways and 1 passenger terminal, which provides work for 2,500 airport employees.

The airport contains only 1 terminal, which today, according to modern needs, requires expansion, so now the project of expansion of this terminal is presented, which will be realized by constructing a completely new premises with a total area of 6000 m², that will perform the function, as well as a trading venue where stores and a recreation area.

Airport Birmingham

Birmingham Airport, which is located 12 kilometres east of Birmingham City Centre and about 75 kilometres from central London, operates about 6 million passengers for a half-year. Also, it holds the 7th position in the airport’s capacity rating according to the British passenger traffic.

The official opening of this airport took place in 1939, the first name was — Elmdon. Updated, more extensive, implemented and built to accommodate a large flow of passengers, the new terminal began its operation in 1961, and the runway was updated and implemented in a larger scale during the 1966-1970 period. The second terminal of the airport began its operation and began to receive the first passengers since 1991. The merger of the two terminals took place in 2011, with about 100 million pounds spent.

The length of the runway at the airport is 1315 meters. This is the biggest airport in the world by size since its compactness simultaneously provides high passenger traffic and high-quality service.

Glasgow Airport

The location of this airport is 11 kilometres west of Glasgow city centre, over the past half year, this airport has received about 5 million passengers and, accordingly, has taken the 8th step on the list of the most popular and the most loaded by passenger traffic to the airports of England. Every day, about 15-20 thousand passengers use this airport.

The airport has 2 terminals, which serve thousands of passengers daily. The second terminal offers, for the most part, the provision of such functions as passenger registration. The airport operates more than 30 international airlines, which carry out more than 100 flights in different directions.

The official opening of this airport took place in the summer of 1966. In the summer of 2007, a significant amount of funds was allocated to increase and modernize the first terminal in order to improve the comfort of passengers in accordance with current needs. Following the general development plan of the airport, in the next 10 years, the airport plans to make 25 million passengers in one year.

Bristol Airport

The location of this airport is 13 kilometres northwest of the city centre of Bristol, the 9th popular and loaded passenger traffic in the UK airport. For half a year, this airport has served about 4 million passengers.

As of today, about 500 thousand passengers pass through the airport terminal every month, however, this figure is increasing or decreasing depending on the particular month.

The official opening of this airport took place in the summer of 1930. In the spring of 2000, a new modern terminal building was opened. The take-off landing strip of the airport is 2000 meters long.

For the next 5 years, the airport is going to implement certain reforms that would ensure the reception of 10 million passengers a year.

Newcastle Airport

The location of this airport is 10 kilometres from downtown Newcastle, it is owned by local authorities, which holds about 51 percent of its shares and AMP Capital, that owns 49 percent of its shares.

Over the past half-year, Newcastle Airport has been used by around 3 million people in accordance with passenger traffic. This is Britain’s busiest airport, which provides quality and fast services.

The official opening of this airport took place in 1935. It contains one passenger terminal, which receives tens of thousands of passengers every day.

The airport operates in 81 international destinations around the world, providing more than 4,000 jobs. In 2007, a 45-meter aerospace tower was built. In the general plan of this airport, there are the implementation of large-scale updates, which will help reach the level of 10 million passengers a year.

The busiest airports in the US

The United States of America, by the number of airports, is on the 1st place all over the world. Travelling in America is a quick, inexpensive and convenient option to get from point A to point B. Every day, the level of passenger traffic in the United States is increasing. Of the hundred best airports in the world, the location of 44 airports is in the United States.

Here is the list of the top 10 busiest airports, it should be noted that all information was compiled by counting the passenger traffic of all airports in America for one year.

#1 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Atlanta International Airport is the most loaded airport in the world. The official opening place in 1925, from an aerodrome that contained a small one runway, turned into the largest, modern and loaded airport. On average, every month, the airport is visited by about 8 million passengers, which is the highest rate among all airports in the world. The magnitude of this airport is so huge that it has its own metro station. For one year, the passenger flow of this airport is about 100 million passengers!

#2 Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport is ranked the 2nd in congestion in the United States and the 4th in terms of congestion in the world. The official opening of the international airport took place in 1929, at that moment the first hangar was built on the site of the modern airport. As of today, the Los Angeles airport has about 70 million passengers per year. Also, this airport has its own metro station. The main airport terminal is the Tom Bradley Terminal, carries out a major upgrade, which is being carried out within the framework of the reconstruction to increase the passenger traffic by 5000 passengers per hour, and the total area of this terminal will be 365 thousand square meters. It is safe to say that it is the best airport in the world!

#3 O-Hare International Airport

This international airport takes the 3rd step according to the airport occupancy rate by passengers in the United States and is the 5th in the world in terms of congestion. The airport was the most loaded airport in the world until 2005. The opening of this international airport took place during the Second World War, in 1942-1943. As of today, the total passenger traffic is about 80 million passengers in one year. Moreover, the airport cooperates with the largest airlines in the world.

#4 Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

This international airport occupies the 4th step according to the airport occupancy rate by the passengers in the United States and is the 9th in the world in terms of congestion. However, the airport takes the 1st step in accordance with the square criterion. The area of this airport is considered to be one of the largest. The official opening of the international airport took place in autumn, September 12, 1973. Passenger traffic is about 60 million passengers a year. The airport provides flights in more than 200 destinations around the world, containing 7 runways. It has 4 passenger inland terminals and 1 international terminal. Besides, the airport itself provides work for 60 thousand people.

#5 Denver International Airport

The location of this Denver International Airport is 40 kilometres from the city of Denver, the airport is the 5th in the US loading rating. The official opening of the international airport took place in February 1995, and the cost of its design and the very structure was about $5 billion. As of today, the total passenger flow of this airport is about 55 million passengers a year. The reconstruction plans include an upgrade of the airport, which will take place through the redevelopment of the Southern Terminal, renovation of runways, as well as the construction of new runways.

#6 John F. Kennedy International Airport

The International Airport occupies the 6th place in the United States Airport’s airport traffic rating. The airport is located in New York City, Quinn County. The official opening of the international airport took place in 1947, the primary name of the airport was Idlewild, named after it in honor of the golf club, according to the territory in which it was designed and built. However, in 1963, the airport was renamed in honor of John F Kennedy. Currently, the airport has 6 passenger terminals, 15 thousand parking spaces, and an annual passenger flow of about 55 million passengers.

#7 San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport is the 7th in the United States Ambient Rating Rating. Today, this international airport is one of the highest quality and most convenient airports in the United States, thanks to high-quality passenger services. The official opening of this international airport took place in 1927, and now the airport has an annual passenger traffic of about 50 million passengers.

#8 Charlotte Douglas International Airport

The location of this international airport is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and this airport is the 8th in the ranking of downloaded airports in America. The opening of this airport took place in 1936. The passenger flow of the airport is about 45 million passengers per year. The airport has 1 passenger terminal with a total area of 548 thousand square meters and there is a parking lot for 26700 parking spaces.

#9 McCarran International Airport

The location of this international airport is situated in Nevada, the city of Las Vegas, which is the 9th in the US Air Traffic Rating rating. The start of the construction of this airport starts in 1942 when the pilot George Crockett built a platform for his plane on the site of the modern airport. The passenger flow of the airport is about 42 million passengers per year. At the airport, there is a museum of aviation, a hotel for tourists, an entertainment area for children as well as a gambling zone.

#10 Miami International Airport

This is the 10th international airport in Miami according to the United States Fertility Scoreboard. This international airport is the main link between the United States and Latin America. The annual passenger flow of the airport is about 41 million passengers. The worlds biggest airport daily serves a very large number of passengers.

Growth of the world’s air traffic passenger

Now, there is a need for high-quality and fast service of transportation of a large number of passengers, various cargo, and cargo flights, but not all airports can boast a high passenger flow and only a few of the total number of airports have the opportunity to provide passengers with the services of the high quality. In this article, airports are analyzed according to such criterion as passenger traffic, as this criterion not only ensures speed of reception of passengers, but it is also an important criterion for raising the local economy and increasing the proportion of people employed at the airport. With the emergence of a large number of passenger flights, the busiest airports in Europe should provide a quick registration process and quality service.

Year Number of passengers Earth population
2014 3,3 billion 7,3 Billions of people
2015 3,7 billion
2016 3,8 billion
2017 4 billion
2036 7,2 billion Forecast of IATA

All airports, that are listed in this article, have modern engineering technologies, which provide a high passenger flow, in accordance with this, the service becomes qualitative impressive. That’s why the busiest airports provide a quick check-in process for passengers and convenient service.