Top Ten Busiest Airports


How busy an airport is can be defined in many different ways; from how many planes take off and land there each year to the amount of destinations and countries served. However, when we think of a busy airport minds wander to that awful crush of people queuing from security through to boarding with lines at newsagents and coffee shops in between. While the biggest airports have the best facilities and access, they are also very crowded. With that in mind here’s a list of the 10 busiest airports worldwide to enjoy or avoid at your discretion.

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Posted on: June 01, 2012 by Robert Frische
1. The Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport
Atlanta Airport is undisputed daddy of all airports with a staggering 88 million passengers going through its doors in 2009 and the number down to 74 million in 2010. While some may be surprised to see this accolade going to an airport which is not in main American cities of New York and Los Angeles, Atlanta airport (airport code ATL) has an incredible number of domestic connections right across the country and a lot of international flights too.

2. Beijing International Airport
Beijing International Airport may be number two in our list with 62 million annual passengers but at the rate that the Chinese population is growing it won’t be long before it is number one. The airport is also ranked 14th in the world in terms of cargo traffic. Beijing Airport facilities are top notch and won the best airport in the world from travel magazine Condé Naste last year. Located in the Chaoyang District, Beijing airport is a hub for three airlines including Air China. The airport code PEK designates the old name of the Chinese capital.

3. Chicago O'Hare International Airport
This list gives a good indication of how North America dominates much of the world’s air traffic with Chicago O'Hare International Airport as the third busiest flight facility worldwide welcoming over 56 million passengers in 2010. But Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) is excellent at coping with the masses and has regularly been voted as the Best Airport for service in North America. Again, most of the traffic is domestic through the two main airlines which have hubs here, United Airlines and American Airlines.

4. London Heathrow Airport
As the busiest airport in the UK, London Heathrow Airport (LHR) dealt with 55 million passengers in 2010 and serves a wide array of transatlantic destinations and countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. If we were judging on international passengers alone then London Heathrow Airport would be the busiest airport in the world. Did you know, Heathrow was awarded Best Airport for Shopping in 2011 and 2012.

5. Tokyo Haneda Airport
With 53 million passengers registered in 2010, Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) is the fifth busiest airport in the world and the second busiest airport in Asia. The airport is a hub for five different Japanese airlines and it serves the Greater Tokyo Area. While nearby Tokyo Narita airport deals with domestic traffic mainly, Haneda airport is best for international flights from Japan. 

6. Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
France’s main airport dealt with around 49 million passengers in 2010. It was named after the founder of the French Fifth Republic, but is alternatively known as Roissy airport. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is the second busiest airport in Europe after Heathrow but the busiest in terms of cargo traffic dealing with 2 million tonnes per year. CDG airport has a multitude of international connections, especially to former French colonies in North Africa.

7. Los Angeles Airport
With a only slightly fewer passengers in 2010 than CDG, Los Angeles Airport (LAX) needs nine terminals to cater to all the comings and goings. Many of these passengers are tourists who are coming here to experience the Californian sunshine, marvel at the stars on Hollywood Boulevard or take the kids to Disney Land Park. United Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines all have hubs here while LAX is a focus city for many others including Allegiant Air.

8. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
This huge Texas airport dealt with 47 million passengers in 2010, reflecting the importance of Texas as an international business destination, particularly in the oil industry. In terms of land mass this is the second largest airport in the USA behind Denver airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport even has its own post code, let alone its own post office. 638, 782 aircraft movements annually make DFW airport the third busiest in the world by this measurement and American Airlines and UPS Airlines both have hubs here.

9. Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport is the third busiest airport in Europe and a major hub for Lufthansa and Condor which both offer many international flights. Flughafen Frankfurt am Main (airport code FRA) is very important to business travellers on the Continent as the city of Frankfurt is the home of one of the world’s largest Stock Exchanges. Frankfurt Airport served 45 million people in 2010 and with passenger numbers only expanding a third terminal and a new runway will be built there soon.

10. Denver airport
Denver airport in Colorado is a very impressive airport as it has the longest runway in America and is the fifth busiest airport in the world for aircraft movements. 43 million passengers used Denver airport (airport code DEN) in 2010 and many of them were skiers who were on their way to the world class facilities in Aspen. Denver airport is a pivotal airport for business travellers and readers of the business travel voted it Best North American Airport for five years in a row up until 2009.   



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