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The top 20 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements

Posted: 11 February 2020 | | 1 comment

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

The top 20 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements

The following list is based on figures from Airports Council International (ACI) and displays the top 20 airports in order of total aircraft movements in 2018. Figures are calculated by totalling all aircraft landings and take-offs at each airport throughout the course of the year.

View of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport's runway1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

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

Total aircraft movements: 879,560

Compared to 2017: 2.1 per cent decrease

View of Chicago O'Hare International Airport's runway2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

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

Total aircraft movements: 867,049

Compared to 2017: 0.1 per cent decrease

Arial view of Los Angeles International Airport3. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

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: 700,362

Compared to 2017: 0.5 per cent increase

Arial view of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

4. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

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

Total aircraft movements: 654,344

Compared to 2017: 2.7 per cent decrease

Beijing Capital International Airport5. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

Built to resemble a dragon, Beijing Capital International Airport is the primary international airport serving Beijing and is home to the second largest passenger terminal in the world.

Total aircraft movements: 597,259

Compared to 2017: 1.5 per cent decrease

View of Denver International Airport6. Denver International Airport (DEN)

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

Total aircraft movements: 574,966

Compared to 2017: 1.7 per cent increase

Plane taking off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport7. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

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: 553,817

Compared to 2017: 1.5 per cent increase

Airplanes on the runway at McCarran International Airport8. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)

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

Total aircraft movements: 542,994

Compared to 2017: 0.3 per cent increase

9. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)

Acting as the main international airport for the Netherlands, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is Europe’s best-connected cargo handling airport, with the most direct air destinations.

Total aircraft movements: 514,625

Compared to 2017: 3.6 per cent increase

10. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)

One of two international airports in the region, Shanghai Pudong International Airport is a major hub in the Chinese aviation industry, serving predominantly international flights. 

Total aircraft movements: 496,774

Compared to 2017: 3.5 increase

11. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

Named after a former French president, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is the largest international airport in France and also referred to as Roissy Airport.

Total aircraft movements: 482,676

Compared to 2017: 0.7 per cent

Arial view of London Heathrow Airport12. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

One of six airports located in London, the largest aviation hub in the world, London Heathrow Airport is the UK’s largest airport – welcoming over 80 million passengers in 2018.

Total aircraft movements: 475,915

Compared to 2017: 0.2 per cent increase

Arial view of Frankfurt Airport13. Frankfurt Airport (FRA) 

Located in the fifth largest city in Germany and operated by Fraport, Frankfurt Airport acts as a hub for multiple German and European cargo companies.

Total aircraft movements: 475,537

Compared to 2017: 2.7 per cent increase

Exterior view of Toronto Pearson International Airport14. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

Acting as the primary international airport for Toronto, Toronto Pearson International Airport is Canada’s largest airport in terms of total passenger traffic and North America’s second largest in terms of international traffic.

Total aircraft movements: 465,555

Compared to 2017: 2.0 per cent increase

View of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport's runway

15. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

The primary airport serving Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province in China, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is China’s largest transportation hub.

Total aircraft movements: 465,295

Compared to 2017: 6.9 per cent increase

View of Istanbul Airport from an airplane16. Istanbul Airport (IST)

The largest infrastructure project in the history of the Turkish Republic, Istanbul Airport first opened in 2018 and, since April 2019, has been completely operational with all units and at full capacity.

Total aircraft movements: 460,785

Compared to 2017: 1.2 per cent decrease

Arial view of San Francisco International Airport17. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco International Airport is an enterprise department of the City and County of San Francisco and acts as a major U.S. gateway to Europe and Asia.

Total aircraft movements: 460,343

Compared to 2017: 2.2 per cent increase

Planes on the runway at Haneda Airport

18. Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND)

One of two primary airports serving the Greater Tokyo Area, Haneda Airport handles significantly more domestic flights, compared to international flights.

Total aircraft movements: 453,126

Compared to 2017: 1.0 per cent increase

View of George Bush Intercontinental Airport's runway19. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Part of the three-airport Houston Airport System, George Bush Intercontinental Airport serves as the premier long-haul international airport facility within the region.

Total aircraft movements: 450,383

Compared to 2017: 4.3 per cent decrease

Plane taking off from Mexico City International Airport20. Mexico City International Airport (MEX)

Mexico City International Airport, officially known as Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez, is the busiest airport in Mexico and Latin America by passenger number and aircraft movements.

Total aircraft movements: 449,664

Compared to 2017: 0.3 per cent increase

Passenger numbers

To view the top 20 busiest airports in the world by passenger number – click here.

Cargo handled 

To view the top 20 busiest airports in the world by tonnes of cargo handled – click here.

One response to “The top 20 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

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