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Do you know what the busiest airports of the world are – and why?

Article published
12.06.2018 kl 09:00
People & Aviation
Close to 1.5 billion passengers passed through the terminals of the world’s 20 busiest airports in 2017. But which ones are the busiest?

Every year, Airport Council International (ACI) World releases preliminary world airport traffic rankings. The organization bases these results on reports from 1,202 airports worldwide and examines data such as passenger numbers, cargo, international freight and total aircraft movements.

So which airports finished in the top 20 for 2017? Here are five interesting facts about ACI’s latest list.

1. As far as 2017 is concerned, the title of most travelled airport once again goes to Atlanta-Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL). With almost 104 million passengers, the airport is within a two-hour flight of 80% of the United States’ population. 

However, the major connecting hub and port of entry into North America was the only airport in the top 20 to see a decrease in passenger traffic last year, which went down by 0.26%.

2. The busiest airports are also growing fast: More people are flying on increasingly busy flight routes. Numbers reveal that passenger traffic at the world’s 20 busiest airports grew by 5.2% in 2017.

Nearly 1.5 billion passengers passed through their terminals in 2017 – that’s almost the population of China or close to five times that of the United States. It’s no wonder that this group of 20 represents 17% of global passenger traffic.

3. Beijing Capital International (PEK) came in second place again with 94.4 million passengers, which represents a 1.5% increase. It’s the busiest Asian airport in this year’s top 20, which counts nine Asian airports in total. Apart from Beijing, three other Chinese airports are the world’s busiest: Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai (PVG) and Guangzhou (CAN).

Beijing Capital International and Helsinki Airport are sister airports and collaborate in developing their operations.

4. Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates remained in third position. Dubai is a major connection point for long-haul international flights, so it should come as no surprise that it is also the world’s busiest in terms of international passengers. In 2017, total passenger traffic at DXB grew by 5.5% from the previous year, achieving over 88 million passengers.

5. London Heathrow Airport (LHR), at number 7, is Europe’s busiest. A little over 78 million passengers enplaned and deplaned at LHR last year, allowing it to finish ahead of Aéroport de Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG, #10), Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS, #11), Flughafen Frankfurt/Main (FRA, #14) and Atatürk International Airport (IST, #15).

Sources: ACI

Read more about passenger volumes at Helsinki Airport