Press Releases

Preliminary World Airport Traffic and Rankings 2013 – High Growth Dubai Moves Up to 7th Busiest Airport

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Montreal, 31 March 2014 – Based on reports from over 1105 airports worldwide, Airports Council International (ACI) preliminary passenger traffic results for 2013 show that the top six ranked positions with respect to the world’s busiest airports remained unchanged as compared to the previous year. Although Atlanta (-1.1%) remains the world’s busiest airport, Beijing (+2.2%) continues to close the gap in second position. London-Heathrow (+3.3%) remains in third while Tokyo-Haneda (+3.2%) preserves fourth position. Chicago-O’Hare (+0.2%) and Los Angeles (+4.7) maintain fifth and sixth ranks respectively.

One of the fastest-growing airports in the world is Dubai, moving from 10th to 7th rank. Dubai passenger traffic grew by over 15% in 2013. Istanbul (18th rank) and Malaysia (20th rank) were two other airports experiencing double-digit growth rates, increasing by 13.6% and 19.1% respectively.

The world’s largest air cargo hub continues to be Hong Kong (+2.3%). Memphis (+3%) is in second followed by Shanghai (-0.3%) in third rank. Incheon (+0.3%) and Dubai (+6.8%) move up ahead of Anchorage (-1.7%) to the 4th and 5th positions respectively (see tables 1, 2 and 3).

Global Summary

The global economy remains in a vulnerable state moving forward into 2014. As many advanced economies continued to experience varying degrees of recovery, with the ongoing risks in the euro area and fiscal imbalances in the United States, emerging markets also felt the burden of the slowdown.

Passenger traffic remained resilient in the face of the global uncertainties and downside risks that beleaguered many economies in 2013. While airports in the developed economies of Europe and North America experienced modest gains in passenger traffic with year-over-year growth of +2.9% and +1.1% respectively, air transport markets in emerging economies continue to show buoyant activity. Both the Middle East and Asia-Pacific posted robust growth in passenger traffic at 9.2% and 7.4% respectively. Overall global passenger traffic grew at a rate of 4% while aircraft movements were almost flat as compared to 2012.

Air cargo inched up only slightly by 0.7%. The volume of air cargo has remained at essentially the same levels over the last three years. Most regions remained relatively weak in relation to year-over-year growth rates with the exception of the Middle East (+5.1%). A third of the world’s top 30 busiest cargo airports experienced declines in 2013.

“The airport that really makes its mark in 2013 is Dubai (DXB),” says ACI World’s Economics Director Rafael Echevarne. “Aviation’s nucleus appears to be moving eastward. With double-digit growth rates in passenger traffic for 2013, Dubai is likely to move up several spots again in the 2014 rankings, solidifying its status as the major hub connecting the east and west. Other emerging markets such as Turkey, China and South East Asia that have a critical mass of traffic also remain major contributors to the upward surge in air transport demand. This trend will continue into 2014.”

Summary: Preliminary Results for 2013 Compared to 2012

Total passengers: +4.0%
Total international passengers: +5.4%
Total cargo (includes mail): +0.7%
Total international freight: +0.9%
Total aircraft movements: +0.1%

*Please note that all figures and percentages are based on summed monthly data submissions by 1105 airports. The final confirmed report will be published in summer 2013 and will include 1400+ airports; therefore, figures are subject to variation.

WORLD’S BUSIEST AIRPORTS – Preliminary Ranking






Table_3 Table_4

Preliminary Results 2013



Preliminary Results 2013


Notes for Editors

1. ACI, the only worldwide association of airports, is a non-profit organization whose prime purpose is to represent the interests of airports and to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations. ACI has 591 members who operate over 1,861 airports in 177 countries.

2. Please note that preliminary results are based on the submissions of over 1105 reporting entities. The final confirmed report, which will be published in summer 2013, will include any outstanding airport reports. As a result, figures are subject to variation.

3. Click here for the PDF version of this media release »

Media Contacts

Martine Ohayon
Director, Communications and Events
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200

Ryan White
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200