The world's busiest airports

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

Airports Council International (ACI) has released the latest edition of the World Airport Traffic Report.

With comprehensive data coverage for almost 2,000 airports in 160 countries worldwide, 2013 can best be characterized as a year of unstable recovery for the global economy.

Worldwide airport passenger numbers are increased by 4.6% in 2013 to 6.3 billion, registering increases in all six regions.

Atlanta (ATL) remains the busiest airport on the globe with 94.4 million passengers in 2013. Although traffic at the airport was down 1.1% over 2012, the second ranked Beijing (PEK), with 83.7 million passengers, experienced more subdued growth of 2.2% in 2013 as compared to the double-digit growth it achieved in previous years.

Airport traffic in emerging markets and developing economies grew faster (8.7%) than in advanced countries (1.8%) in 2013, with emerging markets reaching a 42% share of global passenger traffic.


During 2013, the highest number of passengers went through airports in the Asia-Pacific region:

1. Asia-Pacific (2.06 billion, up 8.7% over 2012)

2. Europe (1.73 billion, up 3.2% over 2012)

3. North America (1.57 billion, up 1.1% over 2012)

4. Latin America-Caribbean (501 million, up 5.5% over 2012)

5. Middle East (278 million, up 7% over 2012)

6. Africa (164 million, up 0.5% over 2012)

With almost 1.3 billion passengers, BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which represent 20% of global passenger traffic, achieved strong growth of 8.6% in passenger traffic. MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) achieved similar traffic growth, with an 8.8% increase for passenger traffic in 2013.

One of the fastest-growing airports among the world's busiest is Dubai International (DXB), which moved from 10th to 7th position in 2013 as a result of its passenger traffic growing more than 15% during the year.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST, which ranks 18th) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL, which ranks 20th) are two other airports that experienced double-digit passenger growth rates in 2013, with increases of 13.7% and 19.1% respectively.

The world's top 30 airport cities handle more than one-third of global passenger traffic. London remains the world's largest airport system with almost 140 million passengers handled at six airports. New York maintains the second position with 112 million passengers at three airports. Tokyo is the third city market with 105 million passengers.

The world's busiest international airports (international passenger traffic):

1. London, United Kingdom – LHR (67.3 million, up 3.2% over 2012)

2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – DXB (65.9 million, up 15.3% over 2012)

3. Hong Kong, China – HKG (59.3 million, up 6.5% over 2012)

The world's busiest domestic airports (domestic passenger traffic):

1. Atlanta GA, USA – ATL (84.2 million, down 1.7% over 2012)

2. Beijing, China (People's Rep. of China) – PEK (67.5 million, up 1.6% over 2012)

3. Tokyo, Japan – HND (60.9 million, up 3.5% over 2012)


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