The top 10 busiest airports in the world

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By Dan Sears

The U.S. is home to the majority of the busiest airports worldwide.

Airports Council International, an airport trade association, ranked the top 10 busiest airports around the world using statistics from 2022. The nation had five of the top ten airports flying the most passengers. 

Closed borders during the pandemic impacted the 2021 rankings. London Heathrow made an impressive jump from 54 in 2021 to eight in the 2022 industry recovery.

The top 10 only account for about 10% of air traffic worldwide though, according to ACI.

Only one international airport made the top 10 for the most takeoffs and landings. 

World’s busiest airports for takeoffs and landings

Airports Council International ranked the 10 global airports with the most takeoffs and landings in 2022

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson easily took the top spot for the most passengers, takeoffs and landings. Atlanta’s passengers surpassed second-place Dallas by 20 million. ATL also bested second-place Chicago by more than 12,000 takeoffs and landings.

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Infographic about airport statistics
Airports Council International, an airport trade association, ranked the top 10 busiest airports around the world using statistics from 2022. Airports Council International

Looking at on-time performance as reported by Cirium, an aviation analytics firm, Atlanta came in 20th worldwide. Los Angeles scored the best of the busiest in the nation, ranking 15th, with Chicago O’Hare following at 16.

The U.S. failed to impress when it came to international passengers. The nation is home to zero airports carrying the most international passengers. The council noted that domestic travelers accounted for 75% to 95% of business for all American airports on the lists. 

Europe accounted for seven of the ten busiest airports for international travel. London alone is home to two of them.


Pasasengers at Atlanta airport
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson took the top spot for the most passengers, takeoffs and landings. ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

World’s busiest airports for international passengers

While the number of airline passengers increased, cargo volumes have decreased. ACI points to a 6.7% drop in air freight and mail year over year. Within the top 10 airports for cargo, which carries about 27% of all global volume, it dropped 9.9% from 2021 to 2022.

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“The decline can be attributed to the ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains,” said the council in a statement.

World’s busiest airports for cargo

Memphis has been holding on to the number two spot behind Hong Kong for four years. Memphis is FedEx’s worldwide shipping hub.

Anchorage is halfway between Asia, a major manufacturer of electronics and pharmaceuticals, and the mainland U.S. The airport serves as a refueling spot so jets can carry more freight and less fuel. The Anchorage Daily News reports that FedEx and UPS move about a fourth of Anchorage’s cargo.

Anchorage is the highest-ranked U.S. airport for international freight. Miami is the only other that made the list.

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