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Which are the biggest airports in the world?  Which is the largest airport in the United States? Which is the largest airport in Europe? Which is the largest airport in Asia? Are these question that have ever crossed your mind as you’ve sprinted from city A to city B through crowded airports?


More than 771 million people passed through American airports in 2017. During the last couple of years, airports have been getting busier. In particular, from 2016 to 2017, airports witnessed passenger traffic increase by 6.6%.

The data is from January 2017 to April 2018.

What is the largest airport in the United States?

1.Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (Atlanta) ATL
Number of passengers: 103,902,992

  • Since 1998, ATL’s high passenger traffic has placed the buzzing airport as a permanent fixture on the world’s busiest airport list
  • The airport covers 4700 acres of land and has five parallel runways
  • ATL has 209 domestic and international gates

2. Los Angeles International Airport (Los Angeles) LAX
Number of passengers departing: 84,557,968

  • LAX is the primary international airport serving in Los Angeles, California
  • It stretches across 3500 acres of land and has four parallel runways
  • The airport connects nonstop to 101 domestic and 85 international destinations; it has nine passenger terminals with 128 gates arranged in a horseshoe shape

3. O’Hare International Airport (Chicago) ORD
Number of passengers departing: 79,828,183

  • In the 1950s, ORD’s innovative design spearheaded design concepts such as underground refuelling systems and direct highway access to a terminal
  • The airport covers 7627 acres and has seven runways
  • ORD has 185 gates and direct flights to 217 destinations

Largest airports in Europe

1. Heathrow Airport (London) LHR
Number of passengers departing: 78,014,598

  • LHR’s passenger traffic makes it one of the busiest airports in the world, as well as in Europe; it is one of six international airports serving Greater London
  • In the 1950s, it had six runways, arranged in three pairs at different angles in the shape of a hexagram; two of its runways would always be within 30° of the wind direction. As the required length for runways grew, Heathrow now has only two parallel runways running east–west on a 3032-acre site
  • For security, LHR uses full-body scanners which highlight where passengers may conceal prohibited items; the airport, between four operational terminals (T-1 is permanently closed) has 176 operational gates

2. Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris) CDG
Number of passengers departing: 70,001,237

  • CDG is the largest international airport in France
  • The airport covers 8001 acres of land and has a very efficient runway system consisting of two pairs of parallel runways with a physical layout that enables them to be used independently
  • Charles de Gaulle Airport has three terminals

3. Schipol Airport (Amsterdam) AMS
Number of passengers departing: 68,515,425

  • Schipol opened in Sep 1916 as a military airbase. It is built as a single-terminal concept: one large terminal split into three large departure halls. It is the hub for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, as well as for Corendon Dutch Airlines, Martinair, Transavia and TUI fly Netherlands. AMS is also the European hub for Jet Airways
  • The airport covers 6887 acres of land and has six runways
  • AMS has 165 gates including 18 double jetway gates used for widebody aircraft.


Largest airports in Asia

1. Capital International Airport (Beijing) PEK
Number of passengers: 95,786,296

  • This airport’s’s passenger traffic makes it the second busiest airport in the world
  • It has three runways and three terminals on a site that covers 3656 acres
  • The new Daxing International Airport in Beijing, which will open in October 2019,  will be the world’s largest airport with 4 runways, 268 parking bays and a 700,000 square metre terminal area on a 6600 acre site. It is also expected the busiest in terms of passenger traffic at full capacity, accommodating 620,000 flights per year.

2. Dubai International Airport (Dubai) DXB
Number of passengers departing: 88,242,099

3. Haneda Airport (Tokyo) HND
Number of passengers departing: 85,408,975

  • Haneda was the primary international airport serving Tokyo until 1978; from 1978 to 2010, Haneda handled almost all domestic flights to & from Tokyo, while Narita International Airport handled the vast majority of international flights. In 2010, a dedicated international terminal was opened at Haneda in conjunction with the completion of a fourth runway, allowing long-haul flights during night-time hours. Haneda opened up to long-haul service during the daytime in March 2014. The Japanese government is currently encouraging the use of Haneda for premium business routes and the use of Narita for leisure routes and by low-cost carriers
  • The airport is regularly rated as one of the five best airports in the world by International air passengers
  • Following Tokyo’s winning bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Japanese government plans to increase the combined slot capacity of Haneda and Narita, and to construct a new railway line linking Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station in approximately 18 minutes

So here are the world’s busiest airports. As you can see, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport made it on the list last year by climbing five spots. Mumbai’s Chhatrapati International Airport is at number 29, and did not change rank last year. Three of the four busiest are now in Asia, showing the continent’s overall rise in economic growth.

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