Press Releases

The top 10 busiest airports in the world revealed

Initial data shows many previous busiest airports have now re-joined top ranks as recovery continues

Note: Since issuance, figure for air cargo representing total metric tonnes at top 10 airports has been amended to 34.2 million and cargo figures for Taipei (TPE) have been updated.

Montreal, 11 April 2022 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has today published the top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2021 showing encouraging signs of traffic recovery as many previous busiest airports re-join top ranks.

The world airport rankings are based on the preliminary compilation of 2021 global data from airports around the world. Due to ACI’s reach as the trade association of the world’s airports, the rankings reflect the most updated airport data used by the industry and include passenger traffic, cargo volumes, and aircraft movements.

Passenger traffic

Total global passengers in 2021 is estimated to be close to 4.5 billion, representing an increase of almost 25% from 2020, or a drop of more than 50% from 2019 results.

Passenger traffic at the top 10 busiest airports, representing collectively almost 10% of global traffic (463 million passengers), witnessed a gain of 51.8% from 2020, or a drop of 29.1% vis-à-vis their 2019 results.  

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL, 75.7 million passengers, +76.4%) is back at the top of 2021 rankings, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW, 62.5 million passengers, +58.7%), and Denver International Airport (DEN, 58.8 million passengers, +74.4%). After reaching the top rank in 2020, Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport (CAN, 40.3 million passengers, -8.0%) slid to the eighth position in 2021.

Eight of the top 10 airports for passenger traffic are in the United States with the two remaining in China. All top 10 airports have a significant share of domestic traffic, the traffic segment that has been leading global recovery. The biggest improvement recorded was from Orlando International Airport (MCO, 40.4 million passengers, +86.7%) that jumped from 27th position in 2020 to seventh spot in 2021.

“The ACI World passenger traffic rankings tell the story of an encouraging trend of recovery, with most of the recurrent busiest airports pre-COVID-19 back at the top,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “Although we are cautious that recovery could face multiple headwinds, the momentum created by reopening plans by countries could lead to an uptick in travel in the second half of 2022.

“As such, ACI World continues to advocate to governments to follow the data and ease travel restrictions to safely restore the movement of people, goods, and services. This will provide travellers with more travel options and boost the overall recovery through aviation’s unique role in boosting trade, tourism, investment and creating jobs.”

PASSENGERS*

202120202019Airport2021% change vs 2020% change vs 2019
121ATLANTA GA, US (ATL) 75 704 76076.4-31.5
2410DALLAS/FORT WORTH TX, US (DFW) 62 465 75658.7-16.8
3816DENVER CO, US (DEN) 58 828 55274.4-14.8
4136CHICAGO IL, US (ORD) 54 020 39975.1-36.2
5153LOS ANGELES CA, US (LAX) 48 007 28466.8-45.5
61834CHARLOTTE NC, US (CLT) 43 302 23059.2-13.4
72731ORLANDO FL, US (MCO) 40 351 06886.7-20.3
8111GUANGZHOU, CN (CAN) 40 259 401-8.0-45.1
9324CHENGDU, CN (CTU) 40 117 496-1.5-28.2
102230LAS VEGAS NV, US (LAS) 39 754 36678.6-23.1

* Total passengers enplaned and deplaned, passengers in transit counted once

INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS*

202120202019Airport2021% change vs 2020% change vs 2019
111DUBAI, AE (DXB) 29 110 60912.7-66.3
2614ISTANBUL, TR (IST) 26 466 16966.0-33.1
323AMSTERDAM, NL (AMS) 25 488 78322.1-64.4
458FRANKFURT, DE (FRA) 22 697 49034.8-64.0
546PARIS, FR (CDG) 22 616 99518.7-67.6
6715DOHA, QA (DOH) 17 701 97841.4-54.4
732LONDON, GB (LHR) 17 624 931-14.7-76.8
83126ANTALYA, TR (AYT) 17 148 111160.4-40.3
91011MADRID, ES (MAD) 15 337 77538.8-65.9
102861CANCÚN, MX (CUN) 13 261 95194.5-19.7

* International passengers enplaned and deplaned

Cargo and aircraft movements

Air cargo, which was less impacted by COVID-19, had its volumes increase by close to 15% year-over-year (+3.5% versus 2019), to an estimated record 124 million metric tonnes in 2021.

Air cargo volumes at the top 10 airports, representing collectively around 25% (34.2 million metric tonnes) of the global volumes in 2021, gained 12.4% in 2021 year-over-year (or 15.0% vs. 2019 results). The gain can be attributed to the continued increase in demand for online consumer goods and pharmaceutical products.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG, 5.0 million metric tonnes, +12.5%) gained back the top rank and Memphis International Airport (MEM, 4.5 million metric tonnes, -2.9%) went back to second position, followed by Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG, 4.0 million metric tonnes, +8.0%) in third.

ACI World estimates that there were over 69 million global aircraft movements in 2021, representing a gain of more than 12% from 2020. The top 10 airports represent close to 8% of global traffic (5.3 million movements) and experienced a gain of 33.9% year-over-year, still representing a drop of 16.1% vis-à-vis 2019.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL, 708 thousand movements, +29.1%) leads, followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD, 684 thousand, +27.1%) and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW, 652 thousand, +26.7%). All top 10 airports for aircraft movements are in the United States.

CARGO (METRIC TONNES)*

202120202019Airport2021% change vs 2020% change vs 2019
121HONG KONG SAR, HK (HKG)5 025 49512.54.5
212MEMPHIS TN, US (MEM)4 480 465-2.93.6
333SHANGHAI, CN (PVG)3 982 6168.09.6
446ANCHORAGE AK, US (ANC**)3 555 16012.629.5
565INCHEON, KR (ICN)3 329 29218.020.4
654LOUISVILLE KY, US (SDF)3 052 2694.69.4
779TAIPEI, TW (TPE)2 812 06520.028.9
8813LOS ANGELES CA, US (LAX)2 691 83020.728.7
91110TOKYO, JP (NRT)2 644 07431.125.7
1098DOHA, QA (DOH)2 620 09520.518.2

*Cargo: loaded and unloaded freight and mail in metric tonnes
** Includes transit freight

INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT (METRIC TONNES)*

202120202019Airport2021% change vs 2020% change vs 2019
111HONG KONG SAR, HK (HKG)4 986 25612.86.0
233INCHEON, KR (ICN)3 273 00418.622.9
322SHANGHAI, CN (PVG)3 245 5489.914.9
446TAIPEI, TW (TPE)2 793 58420.229.0
577TOKYO, JP (NRT)2 591 25532.327.0
665DOHA, QA (DOH)2 589 28320.719.1
7510ANCHORAGE AK, US (ANC**)2 438 8099.825.5
884DUBAI, AE (DXB)2 319 18520.0-7.8
999FRANKFURT, DE (FRA)2 194 65320.711.9
101012MIAMI FL, US (MIA)2 040 54717.919.6

*International freight loaded and unloaded in metric tonnes
** Includes transit freight

AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS*

202120202019Airport2021% change vs 2020% change vs 2019
112ATLANTA GA, US (ATL)  707 66129.1-21.7
221CHICAGO IL, US (ORD)  684 20127.1-25.6
333DALLAS/FORT WORTH TX, US (DFW)  651 89526.7-9.5
445DENVER CO, US (DEN)  580 86632.9-8.1
567CHARLOTTE NC, US (CLT)  519 89530.6-10.1
674LOS ANGELES CA, US (LAX)  506 76933.6-26.7
7108LAS VEGAS NV, US (LAS)  486 54050.4-12.0
81325PHOENIX AZ, US (PHX)  408 28531.6-7.0
92430MIAMI FL, US (MIA)  387 97354.4-6.9
102114HOUSTON TX, US (IAH)  378 56241.4-20.8

*Movements: landings and take-offs

About ACI World

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2022, ACI serves 717 members, operating 1950 airports in 185 countries.

Media contacts

Adam Zampini
Director
Communications and Marketing
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254
Email: mediarelations@aci.aero