With the news that Turkey is currently building the world’s biggest airport, we take a look at the top 10 busiest airports in the world by passenger traffic.
10. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Banten, Indonesia
Serving the Jakarta region of Indonesia’s Java Island, this airport handles 52 million passengers per year. Opened in 1985, the airport is currently constructing a new terminal to open at the end of 2014 which will be able to handle and additional 10 million passengers each year.
9. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Texas, United States
The second largest airport in the USA (after Denver), the Dallas-Fort Worth airport currently serves some 57 million passengers per year. With 7 runways, 1 helipad, five terminals and 161 gates, this airport is so big it has its own zip code.
8. Frankfurt Airport, Hesse, Germany
The third busiest airport in Europe is based just outside Frankfurt, and serves the most international destinations, flying to 275 locations across 111 countries. This is also the busiest cargo airport in Europe and is the main hub of Lufthansa.
7. Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
The most visited country in the world currently has the second busiest airport in Europe with some 60 million annual passengers passing through Charles de Gaulle in Paris. With three terminals and 4 runways, Charles de Caulle opened in 1974 and was considered cutting edge at the time with a ten storey circular structure.
6. Los Angeles International Airport, California, USA
The gateway into America’s west coast, LAX, as its better known, handles around 64 million passengers each year. LAX has four runways and one helipad and saw a 3% passenger increase over the previous year, not bad considering that Los Angeles is also served by five other airports! There are also several excellent Los Angeles limousine companies so you can arrive in style.
5. Tokyo International Airport, Ōta, Tokyo, Japan
Over 68 million air travellers flew into Haneda Airport, aka Tokyo International Airport last year. Opened in 1931, the airport only offered domestic flights until very recently. In 2010 an international terminal and a new runway were built and passenger numbers greatly increased. It’s often recognised within the industry as the most punctual airport on earth.
4. O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, USA
This major airport serves the Chicago and greater Illinois region and was until 2005, the busiest airport on earth. With a total of seven runways O’Hare offers international flights to more than 60 destinations and has won the accolade of Best Airport in North America numerous times. Constructed in 1942 to serve as an aircraft manufacturing site during World War II, O’Hare was repurposed and quickly replaced Chicago’s old Midway Airport.
3. Heathrow Airport, Hillingdon, London, UK
It’s said that a plane takes off every 30 seconds from London Heathrow, and if you’ve ever stayed at an on-site hotel you’d believe it! Located in West London, Heathrow serves 70 million passengers a year and the 90 airlines fly to more than 170 different destinations around the world. A fifth terminal opened in March 2008 after a very long 19 years in the planning. Rather surprisingly Heathrow only has 2 runways and the building of a third runway has been in debate now for many years.
2. Beijing Capital International Airport, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
With a total of 82 million passengers flying through Beijing’s international airport last year, this is second busiest airport in the world. The Chinese airport has grown rapidly, thanks the worldwide attention from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Air China is the primary carrier out of Beijing and links the bustling metropolis with over 120 destinations. The airports code reflects the heritage too, as PEK (the IATA code) stands for Peking, Beijing former name.
1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
And now we come to the mighty Atlanta International Airport which handled more than 95 million passengers last year. This sees the airport retain its crown as the busiest airport in the world by far, which it’s held since 1998. Over 950,000 flights left last year from 207 gates. Hartsfield–Jackson opened in 1925 and was always busy with domestic flights up until 1940 when it became a military airport. However by the late 1940s a makeshift terminal had been built and more than one million passengers departed. June 1956 saw the first international flight out of Atlanta bound for Montreal in Canada. Today the airport has five runways and one helipad.