06photo/ShutterstockAirports are notorious for long lines and crowds of travelers—especially in some of the world’s biggest hubs. If you had to guess the busiest airport in the world, what would you guess? New York? London? Paris? Beijing?
Here are a couple hints: It’s none of the ones listed above. It’s also an American airport.
Los Angeles International Airport would be a reasonable guess. It saw nearly 81,000,000 passengers depart and land in 2016, but it’s only the fourth busiest airport, according to Airports Council International. Granted, that could change with time. In 2015, it was only the seventh busiest, meaning LAX jumped three spots in one year, beating out Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Chicago O’Hare, and London Heathrow. (Though the biggest airport in the world, opening in 2019, could affect the numbers, too.)
Beating LAX on the list of busiest airports, Beijing Capital International (94,000,000) and Dubai International (84,000,000 passengers) airports came in second and third, respectively.
But the busiest airport, with a whopping 104,000,000 passengers in 2016, is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In fact, its held its number one spot since 1998. ATL also holds the top spot for the airport with the most takeoffs and landings in the world. (Learn what the most popular flight route in America is.)
Compared to homes of bigger cities, Georgia seems like an unlikely candidate for so much air traffic, but a closer look reveals why it became such a hub. For one thing, it takes no more than two hours to reach 80 percent of the U.S. population if you’re flying from Atlanta, according to the airport’s website. But the bigger secret might have to do with its airlines. (Before your next flight, check out these 16 airport mistakes every traveler makes.)
Delta Airlines is the world’s second most popular airline (it was number one until American Airlines merged with U.S. Airways), and its headquarters are in Atlanta. The city even agreed in 2017 not to build another airport over the next 20 years as long as the airline stayed put there. When it comes to profits, both the city and airline have an investment in keeping Atlanta number one. Find out what the most and least delayed airports in America are.
Look below for the ten busiest airports in the world, or visit aci.aero for the top 20.
|Rank||Airport||Number of travelers|
|1||Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport||104,171,935|
|2||Beijing Capital International Airport||94,393,454|
|3||Dubai International Airport||83,654,250|
|4||Los Angeles International Airport||80,921,527|
|5||Haneda Airport (Tokyo)||79,699,762|
|6||O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)||77,960,588|
|7||Heathrow Airport (London)||75,715,474|
|8||Hong Kong International Airport||70,305,857|
|9||Shanghai Pudong International Airport||66,002,414|
|10||Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris)||65,933,145|