The Busiest Airports in the World 2019

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Curious to know which is the busiest airport in the world? It can be measured in two ways, but the most common is to count the number of passengers flying to and from the airport annually. 

In this article, you’ll find out about the busiest airports in the world by passenger traffic as well as the largest airport in the world by size.

The Busiest Airports in the World (by passenger traffic)

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

With quite a large margin, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world with 8 million annual passengers.

It has held the 1st place since 1998, for more than 20 years, and has on average 8 million more passengers than Beijing Capital Airport. 

  • Yearly passengers: 103,9 million
  • Country: USA
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Photo: ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

The Beijing Capital International Airport comes at a solid 2nd place among the world’s busiest airports with more than 95,8 million passengers annually.

I flew from this airport last year and felt that it was modern and nice, even though there were too many people checking in at the same desks. It was also easy to get to and from the airport via taxi or public transport.

  • Yearly Passengers: 95,8 million
  • Land: China
Beijing Capital International Airport

Photo: WaitForLight / Shutterstock.com

3. Dubai International (DXB)

Normally, you’ll find Dubai breaking all kinds of world records and everything is glitter and glamour in this Emirate, but when it comes to busiest airports in the world, they will have to settle for 3rd place. 

From this airport, you can fly with Emirates (one of the best airlines in the world) and many other airlines from all over the world. Dubai is also a big connection hub, especially for destinations in Asia and Africa. 

  • Yearly Passengers: 88,2 million
  • Country: United Arab Emirates
Dubai International

Photo: Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

4. Tokyo International Airport (HND)

I’ve flown from both Haneda Airport and Narita Airport in Tokyo, and both of them are very busy. Haneda Airport is the busiest airport in Japan with more than 87 million passengers annually. 

If you’ve been to Japan before, you might have noticed how organized and well-functioning everything in the society is. And the Tokyo International Airport is not an exception, it’s almost flawless, and it’s definitely a pleasure to fly to and from this airport. 

  • Yearly Passengers: 87 million
  • Country: Japan
Tokyo International Airport

Photo: Sakarin Sawasdinaka / Shutterstock.com

5. Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

LAX is a real classic among the busiest airports in the world, and while some think that JFK might be bigger, the Los Angeles airport handles way more passengers annually than JFK in New York.

I flew from LAX last year and felt it was lacking quite a bit compared to other major international airports. Nonetheless, it handles more than 84,6 million passengers. 

  • Yearly Passengers: 84,6 million
  • Country: USA
Los Angeles Airport

Photo: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

6. O’Hare International Airport, Chicago (ORD)

Another American airport that often functions as a transit airport for many routes in the continental US. It’s the third busiest airport in the US with more than 79,8 million passengers annually.

  • Yearly Passengers: 79,8 million
  • Country: USA
O'Hare International Airport

Photo: Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

7. London-Heathrow (LHR)

The busiest airport in Europe comes in at a modest 7th place globally. There is no shortage of flights from London Heathrow though, and the 78 million passengers who fly to and from the airport also have a wide selection of tax-free shopping. 

The transport from the city center to the airport is also very good, in the form of Heathrow Express.

  • Yearly Passengers: 78 million
  • Country: United Kingdom
London Heathrow

Photo: pio3 / Shutterstock.com

8. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

Hong Kong has long been an economic center in the world, so it’s not that surprising that many people travel here from all over the globe. I’ve been here myself a few times, and the airport is one of the nicest and most organized I’ve flown from. 

Despite having more than 72,7 million passengers annually, everything is well-organized and smooth. They also have a wide selection of routes from the airport via public transportation. 

  • Yearly Passengers: 72,7 million
  • Country: China
Hong Kong international airport

Photo: Phuong D. Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

9. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)

Another Chinese airport that qualifies for the list. Shanghai Pudong International airport is one of two airports in Shanghai, and currently, around 70 million passengers are flying from and to the airport every year. 

  • Yearly Passengers: Circa 70 million
  • Country: China
Shanghai Pudong

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Charles de Gaulle, Paris (CDG)

Last but not least on the list, the international airport of Paris, Charles de Gaulle. I’ve only flown from here once, but it felt quite disorganized and outdated.

Nonetheless, it’s one of the busiest airports in the world with about 70 million passengers flying from CDG each year. 

  • Yearly Passengers: Circa 70 million
  • Country: France
Charles de Gaulle

Photo: Mila Che / Shutterstock.com

The Largest Airports in the World

King Fahd International Airport is the largest airport in the world with an area of 780 square kilometers. Of the world’s busiest airports, only Shanghai Pudong and Charles de Gaulle are found in the top 5 biggest airports in the world.

AirportArea
King Fahd International Airport 780 km²
Denver International Airport137.26 km²
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport78 km²
Shanghai Pudong International Airport33.5km²
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport32 km²

Istanbul Airport – The future busiest airport in the world

The new airport in Istanbul was recently inaugurated in 2019 and is expected to become the busiest airport in the world in the near future. However, there is still some way to go before the maximum capacity of 150 million passengers will be exceeded, but it’s likely to happen as Turkish Airlines continues to expand and introduce new routes around the world. 

In the first year (2019), Istanbul Airport expects to handle about 90 million passengers, which would make it the third busiest airport in the world, just before Dubai International Airport.

In the future, Istanbul Airport also has the option to increase its capacity to 200 million passengers. 

  • Passengers: Max 150 million
  • Country: Turkey
Istanbul New Airport

Photo: Dzerkach Viktar / Shutterstock.com


Did you know which was the busiest airport in the world? Leave a comment below!

July 14th, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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