The world’s busiest airport is Atlanta, once again

9 April 2023

Once again — and perhaps to no surprise — Atlanta reigns as the busiest airport in the world.

In 2022, around 93.7 million people traveled through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), a 23.8% increase in passenger traffic from 2021, according to a report released by Airports Council International.

Atlanta was the busiest airport for 22 consecutive years until it lost its title to China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) in 2020 due to the pandemic. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, China airports took up seven of the top 10 rankings.

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However, Atlanta regained its status as the world’s busiest airport in 2021.

Similar to 2021, U.S. airports dominated this year’s rankings, accounting for half of ACI’s list. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Denver International Airport (DEN) took second and third place, respectively.

Dallas Fort Worth saw around 73 million passengers in the past year, whereas Denver had 69 million passengers. The other two U.S. airports on the list were Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), ranking at No. 4 , and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), at No. 6  on the list.

U.S. airports dominated ACI’s rankings for the past two years because of a rebound in domestic travel that came faster than in other regions.

However, international airports gained ground in 2022, accounting for half of the top 10. Last year, U.S. airports took eight of the 10 slots in ACI’s report.

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), Dubai International Airport (DBX), Istanbul Airport (IST), Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) also made the list, marking a recovery in international travel, which has largely lagged behind domestic travel.

“While U.S. airport hubs were able to recover quicker due to their strong domestic market, we are now witnessing global hubs joining upper ranks,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director general at ACI World.

Travel is still catching up to pre-pandemic levels, but U.S. airline CEOs anticipate that strong demand for travel will continue into 2023. The only airport on the list that had more passengers in 2022 compared to 2019 was Denver.

“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,” added de Oliveira.

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