1. Home
  2. life
  3. news
  4. 8 of the 10 busiest airports in the world are in the US — see the list

8 of the 10 busiest airports in the world are in the US — see the list

Taylor Rains   

8 of the 10 busiest airports in the world are in the US — see the list
  • Airports Council International revealed the top 10 busiest airports in the world, with eight being in the US.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport reclaimed the number one spot after temporarily losing it in 2020.

The US is now home to eight of the 10 busiest airports in the world, according to a new report by Airports Council International compiling 2021 flight data.

According to ACI, a global organization of airport authorities, global airports saw 4.5 billion passengers in 2021, with the top 10 handling 10% of that, or 463 million people. Eight of those were in the US, with the other two airports in China.

Passenger traffic in the top 10 has outpaced 2020 by 51.8%, though it still lags behind 2019 numbers by 29.1%, ACI revealed. Nevertheless, travel is bouncing back and the industry is optimistic about the continued recovery in 2022, with US airlines including Alaska, Southwest, and JetBlue on track to top 2019 capacity this summer, according to financial services company Cowen.

"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 in a press release. "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."

The busiest airports in the world were dominated by domestic traffic, which has led the global travel recovery, according to ACI. The international segment has been slower to recover due to continued quarantine requirements and border closures, though most of the world's nations have opened or plan to open by summer.

Orlando International Airport was the most-improved airport on the list in terms of passenger volume, jumping 20 spots from 27 in 2020 to seven in 2021, ACI revealed. According to local media reports, the increase can be attributed to the airport reopening to international travel to places like Brazil and England, which brought in nearly two million people in 2021, and increased international traffic by 20.5% compared to 2020.

Take a closer look at the top eight busiest airports in the world.

10. Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport

Just under 40 million travelers passed through Las Vegas airport last year, with the airport seeing the second-biggest increase in passenger traffic compared to 2020 at 78.6%. Volume fell 23.1% percent compared to 2019 despite the uptick in travel. Allegiant uses Las Vegas as a major hub and operating base.

9. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport

Chengdu Airport managed just over 40 million travelers in 2021, which was actually a 1.5% decrease from 2020, and 28.2% below 2019 levels. The airport is home to several Asian carriers, including Air China, Chengdu Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Tibet Airlines, Lucky Air, and Shenzhen Airlines.

8. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Guangzhou was the busiest airport in the world in 2020, stealing the title from Atlanta. The airport managed about 4.2 million passengers in 2021, however, it saw the biggest drop in passenger volume from last year compared to other airports on the list, with an 8% decrease. It was also 45.1% below 2019 levels. Guangzhou is a hub for China Southern Airlines, 9 Air, FedEx Express, Shenzhen Airlines, and Hainan Airlines.

7. Orlando International Airport

Orlando handled about 40.3 million passengers last year, seeing the biggest rise in passenger traffic at 86.7%, which can be attributed to the popular beaches and theme parks that Florida has to offer. Despite the rise, Orlando's volume fell 20.3% compared to 2019. No major airline uses the airport as a hub.

6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte handled about 43.3 million passengers in 2021, which is 59.2% more than in 2020, but still 13.4% fewer passengers than in 2019. The airport has improved the most in terms of busiest airport rankings, having come in at number 34 in 2019. Charlotte is a major hub for American Airlines.

5. Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles handled 48 million travelers in 2021, which was a 66.8% increase in traffic compared to 2020. Despite the high volume, Los Angeles' passenger traffic was 45.5% below 2019 levels, which was the biggest drop of any airport on the list. The airport is a hub for several carriers, including Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American, and Delta Air Lines.

4. Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Chicago's larger airport saw just over 54 million passengers last year, up 75.1% from 2020. However, the airport had the second-biggest drop in passenger levels compared to 2019 with a 36.2% decrease. O'Hare is a hub airport for United and American, and a focus city for low-cost rivals Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

3. Denver International Airport

Denver handled about 59 million passengers in 2021, up 74.7% from 2020 and about 15% below 2020. Denver is home to legacy carrier United and low-cost giant Frontier.

2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas/Fort Worth is the second-busiest airport in the US in 2021, with some 63 million travelers traversing the airport in 2021, which is 58.7% more than in 2020, but still 16.8% below 2019 levels. The airport serves the Dallas metropolitan area and is American's largest base.

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Atlanta, which is home to Delta, has reclaimed its title as the busiest airport in the world after temporarily losing the crown to China's Guangzhou airport in 2020. Atlanta handled over 75 million passengers in 2021, increasing traffic by 76.4% compared to 2020. However, it still lags behind 2019 levels by about 32%.


Popular Right Now