The top 10 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements

Posted: 27 April 2022 | | 2 comments

In this article, we review which airports had the highest number of aircraft movements in 2021, based on the total number of landings, take-offs, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following list is based on figures from Airports Council International (ACI) and displays the top 10 airports in order of total aircraft movements in 2021. Figures are calculated by totalling all aircraft landings and take-offs at each airport throughout the course of the year, with consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article was updated on 27 April 2022, based on figures published on 11 April 2022.

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

(ATL)View of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport's runway

Acting as the primary international airport serving Atlanta, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world by passenger number and is one of the busiest by aircraft movements.

Total aircraft movements:  707,661

Compared to 2020: 29.1 per cent increase

2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport


Located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Illinois, O’Hare International Airport is the second busiest airport in the world and one of the most significant transportation hubs in the U.S.

Total aircraft movements: 684,201

Compared to 2020: 27.1 per cent increase

3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

(DFW)Arial view of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Located across two counties due to its size, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the largest hub for American Airlines and third busiest airport by passenger number.

Total aircraft movements:  651,895

Compared to 2020: 26.7 per cent increase

4. Denver International Airport (DEN)Denver International

Generating over $26 billion for the region of Colorado each year, Denver International Airport is the fourth-busiest airport in the U.S., the world’s largest aviation market. 

Total aircraft movements: 580,866

Compared to 2020: 32.9 per cent increase

5. Charlotte Douglas International Airport

(CLT)Plane taking off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a civil-military airport located in North Carolina and is financially operated on a fully self-sustaining basis.

Total aircraft movements:  519,895

Compared to 2020: 30.6 per cent increase

6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)Arial view of Los Angeles International Airport

Located along the West Coast of the U.S., Los Angeles International Airport is a gateway to multiple international destinations, particularly Asia and the Pacific.

Total aircraft movements: 506,769

Compared to 2020: 33.6 per cent increase

7. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport

Airplanes on the runway at McCarran International Airport


Located in Paradise, Nevada, McCarran International Airport is the main airport for public and military use in the Las Vegas Valley.

Total aircraft movements: 486,540

Compared to 2020: 50.4 per cent increase

8. Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (DVT)Phoenix Deer Valley Airport

Phoenix Deer Valley Airport is a public airport in Maricopa County, Arizona. It is owned by the City of Phoenix and acts as a reliever airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

Total aircraft movements: 4402,444

Compared to 2020: 31.6 per cent increase

9. Miami International Airport (MIA)

Essential to Miami-Dade’s trade status, Miami International Airport is the world’s largest gateway to Latin America & the Caribbean for international freight.

Total aircraft movements: 387,973

Compared to 2020: 54.4 per cent increase

10. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) View of George Bush Intercontinental Airport's runway

Named after George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the U.S., the airport offers service to more Mexican destinations than any other U.S. airport and is the hub for Atlas Air and United Airlines.

Total aircraft movements: 378,562

Compared to 2020: 41.4 per cent increase

Passenger numbers

To view the top 10 busiest airports in the world by passenger number – click here.

Cargo handled 

To view the top 10 busiest airports in the world by tonnes of cargo handled – click here.

2 responses to “The top 10 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements”

  1. Yasser Shebib says:

    Very interesting informative news. I always thought Chicago O’Hare airport is the busiest, but these news are changing concepts. Even Dubai’s Airport is not in the ranking.
    Thank you

  2. Abrar Fahim Ahmed says:

    This is very interesting news. I want to know about top 100 busiest airports in the world .

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