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19 July 2023

ACI World confirms top 20 busiest airports worldwide

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ACI World

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ACI World

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Most authoritative source for global airport passenger, cargo, and aircraft movement traffic released

Montreal, 19 July 2023 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has today published the latest World Airport Traffic Dataset, confirming the top 20 busiest airports in the world and revealing airport passenger, cargo, and aircraft movement rankings for over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories.

The dataset’s key findings confirm total global passenger traffic for 2022—surpassing   6.6 billion—the return of international traffic, and the prevalence of U.S. airports in the top rankings.  

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “In the face of cost pressures and tight labor markets, the world’s airports continue to serve the public’s thirst to travel by air. Airports have once more proven their resiliency as reflected in the key findings from the ACI World Airport Traffic Dataset. As always, reliable data remains fundamental to our advocacy and development of timely airport guidance. Airports and aviation stakeholders must continue to focus wholeheartedly on building a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable air transport system fit to welcome the doubling of passengers that will travel through our doors in the next two decades.”

ACI collects airport traffic every year through its global network of airport operator members, investors, and aviation stakeholders. The dataset allows users to filter through accurate and reliable numbers that can be segmented on a regional, national, and airport level and by traffic type.

Passenger traffic

  • Global total passengers surpassed 6.6 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 43.8% from 2021 or a recovery of 72.5% versus pre-pandemic result (2019).
  • The top 20 airports for global passenger traffic represent 18% of global traffic (1.2 billion passengers).
  • The rankings welcome back some of the world’s largest airport hubs as international traffic returns. The global share of international traffic increased from 25.3% in 2021 to 38.4% in 2022.
  • From the top 20 rankings, 10 airports are in the U.S. Almost all have significant domestic passenger shares (between 75%–95%).
  • The biggest jump in the top 20 rankings is recorded for Heathrow Airport, leaping from 54th to 8th rank as all travel restrictions were lifted by the UK Government in March 2021 after two years of impediment.

Air cargo traffic

  • Global air cargo volumes decreased by 6.7% year-over-year (-2.6% versus 2019), to close to 117 million metric tonnes in 2022. The decline can be attributed to the ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains.
  • Air cargo traffic is more concentrated amongst the main airports: volumes in the top 20 represent around 42% (49.5 million metric tonnes) of the global volumes.
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport—home to Amazon Air’s primary U.S. Hub and DHL Express’ Global Superhub for the Americas—witnessed the largest cargo volume growth (+16.8%) amongst the top 20 airports.

Aircraft movements

  • Global aircraft movements were close to 85 million, representing a gain of 14.8% from 2021 results or a recovery at 82.4% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The top 20 airports represent 11.4% of global traffic (9.7 million movements).
  • From the top 20 rankings, 13 airports are in the U.S.

About ACI

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, is a federated organization comprising ACI World, ACI Africa, ACI Asia-Pacific, ACI EUROPE, ACI Latin America and the Caribbean and ACI North America. 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 2023, ACI serves 712 members, operating 1925 airports in 171 countries.

Notes for editors

  1. Access the World Airport Traffic Dataset, 2023 Edition.
  2. Compare 2022 to 2023. 20 busiest airports in 2023 revealed. Read more here.