The top 10 busiest airports in the world by passenger number
In this article, we review which airports had the highest passenger numbers in 2020, 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 2020. 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 2020 being a significant one, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on passenger air travel.
This article was updated on 9 September 2021, based on figures published on 22 April 2021.
1. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
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: 43,767,558
Compared to 2019: 40.4 per cent decrease
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
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: 42,918,685
Compared to 2019: 61.2 per cent decrease
3. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
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: 40,741,509
Compared to 2019: 27.1 per cent decrease
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 fourth busiest airport by passenger number.
Total passengers: 75,066,956
Compared to 2019: 47.6 per cent decrease
5. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport
Located on the east bank of the Pearl River in the Bao’an District, the airport is fifth in the world for travelling passenger volume. Furthermore, Shenzhen Airport also has direct ferry routes to Hong Kong International Airport. This allows passengers to travel through without immigration and custom checks.
Total passengers: 37,916,054
Compared to 2019: 28.4 per cent decrease
6. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
Made up of three terminals, two for domestic flights and the other for international, Chongqing Airport is a 128-hour transit, visa-free airport for international passengers.
Total passengers: 34,937,789
Compared to 2019: 22.0 per cent decrease
7. 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 seventh largest passenger terminal in the world.
Total passengers: 34,513,827
Compared to 2019: 65.5 per cent decrease
8. 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: 33,741,129
Compared to 2019: 51.1 per cent decrease
9. Kunming Changshui International Airport
Kunming Changshui International Airport, along with Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport, are the two national gateway hub airports of China, with an influx of passengers yearly.
Total passengers: 32,990,805
Compared to 2019: 31.4 per cent decrease
10. Shanghai Pudong International Airport
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 passengers: 31,165,641
Compared to 2019: 31.7 per cent decrease
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.
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Denver International Airport (DEN), Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (ATL), Kunming Changsui International Airport (KMG), Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX), Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport (URC)