The top 10 busiest airports in the world by passenger number
In this article, we review which airports had the highest passenger numbers in 2021, based on the total number of departing, arriving, transferring and direct passengers, throughout COVID-19.
The following list is based on figures from Airports Council International (ACI) and displays the top 10 busiest airports in order of total passenger numbers in 2021. Passenger figures are calculated by summing the totals of departing passengers, arriving passengers, transferring passengers and direct transit passengers at each airport throughout the course of the year. In particular, the year 2021 being a significant one, due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on passenger air travel.
This article was updated on 27 April 2022, based on figures published on 11 April 2022.
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Acting as the primary international airport serving Atlanta, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is second busiest airport in the world by passenger numbers and aircraft movements.
Total passengers: 75,704,760
Compared to 2020: 76.4 per cent increase
2. 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 fourth busiest airport by passenger number.
Total passengers: 62,465,756
Compared to 2020: 58.7 per cent increase
3. Denver International Airport (DEN)
Generating over $26 billion for the region of Colorado each year, Denver International Airport is the fifth-busiest airport in the U.S., the world’s largest aviation market.
Total passengers: 58,828,552
Compared to 2020: 74.4 per cent increase
4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
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 passengers: 54,020,399
Compared to 2020: 75.1 per cent increase
5. 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 passengers: 48,007,284
Compared to 2020: 66.8 per cent increase
6. 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 passengers: 43,302,230
Compared to 2020: 59.2 per cent increase
7. Orlando International Airport (MCO)
As a major public airport located six miles southeast of Downtown Orlando, Orlando International Airport is a major international gateway for the mid-Florida region, as well as one of the largest commercial airports, in terms of land area, in the U.S.
Total passengers: 40,351,068
Compared to 2020: 86.7 per cent increase
8. 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 and is the busiest airport in the world by passenger numbers. However, Guangzhou Airport did suffer a decline in passenger volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total passengers: 40,259,401
Compared to 2020: 8.0 per cent decrease
9. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU)
As an important aviation hub for Western China, Chengdu Airport ranks third in the world as busiest airport by passenger number for the capital of Sichuan province, China.
Total passengers: 40,117,496
Compared to 2020: 1.5 per cent decrease
10. 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 passengers: 39,754,366
Compared to 2020: 78.6 per cent increase
To view the top 10 busiest airports in the world by tonnes of cargo handled – click here.
To view the top 10 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements – click here.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Denver International Airport (DEN), Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (ATL), Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Orlando International Airport (MCO)