The top 10 busiest airports in the world by passenger number

Posted: 2 October 2019 | | 9 comments

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.

Top 20 Largest Airports in the World by Passenger Number in 2019

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

Airport (ATL)

View of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport's runway passenger

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


Arial view of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport4. 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)

Beijing Capital International Airport

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


Denver International8. 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


Shanghai Pudong

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

Cargo handled

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

Aircraft movements

To view the top 10 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements – click here.

9 responses to “The top 10 busiest airports in the world by passenger number”

  1. Although Atlanta remains in no. 1 spot, Beijing and Dubai are nipping at Atlanta’s feet! Moreover, it’s interesting that the bulk of Atlanta’s arrivals and departures come from domestic, and not foreign, flights. It’s also interesting that Dubai has grown so quickly that it now eclipses LAX!


    It is amazing how top International Airport have the most in infrastructure both in facilities and technologies all over the world.
    Passengers are requering more and more services and these 20 selected airports have them all. New services and technologies the very most important facts to serve and satisfy Internation al passenger…and I havehad the experience to be in Dallas Fortworth,TX DFW-US, twice while I was in American Airlines Learnig Center- Flagship University-today.
    Really, I was astonished and surprised for all of it.

  3. Diana Tohm says:

    I’m surprised u didn’t mention Bush International Airport in Houston Texas to be among the top 20 businesses whether it’s domestic and international airports. I’m a flighattendant 14 years with British Airways and always fly out of Bush. Bush is my home hub because I married an American.I’m originally from Oxford England

  4. What would be interesting to note is not how many passengers pass through an airport – but how many of those passengers actually enter the city itself.

  5. Thanks,China appears to be growing steadily.

  6. Eva Manyedi says:

    Amazing! I have recently been to Doha which when I checked I was given an impression that it’s number 6 largest in the world but to my surprise it is not among the top 20! Out of the 20 I have passed through 6, Atlanta and Dubai are amazing!

  7. Sujoy Kar says:

    6 out of the 20! Dubai is class apart in terms of shopping options… Bangkok is another cool airport. Changi and Hong Kong are little over hyped. Outside Asia, loved Sydney and Schiphol – amazing airports!!

  8. Mrityunjay Kumar says:

    Delhi Airport deserved to be in the list. Thank you for including this!

  9. Michael says:

    To me, there is no airport like Heathrow airport, especially Terminal 2, the most beautiful and friendly one! I hope no Brexit will bring it down in years to come.

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