The Ten Busiest Airports in the World

 

Each year hundreds of millions of travelers take to the skies, but some airports are a bit busier than others. The following is a list of the world’s ten busiest airports by passenger traffic with some information on the airports themselves and the cities in which they reside. The data is from Airports Council International 2012 year-end report.

[For another take on airports, also see our travel article “The World’s Best Airports“]

10. Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates (DXB) with 57,684,550 passengers

[Also see our travel article “Travel Profiles on Dubai and Abu Dhabi“]

The Dubai International Airport sees almost 60 million passengers transit through its halls each year, and more than 6,000 flights land and takeoff from the airport each week. The airport is the hub of the UAE’s Emirates Airlines, which is the exclusive patron of the airport’s brand new Terminal 3 – the world’s largest airport terminal and second largest building.

The futuristic architecture of Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3.

The futuristic architecture of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3.

9. Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, Indonesia (CGK) with 57,772,762 passengers

[Also see our “Travel Guide to Jakarta and its Attractions“]

Jakarta is a bustling megacity of nearly 10 million persons situated on Java, the world’s most populous island with 141 million people, and the capital and main transit hub of Indonesia, which has a population of 246 million people. What all these numbers mean is that the Jakarta airport is plenty busy, despite not ranking in the top 30 of world’s busiest airports for international passenger traffic.

The Jakarta Airport is the main gateway to Indonesia and its almost 20,000 islands. Photo credit Prayitno.

The Jakarta Airport is the main gateway to Indonesia and its almost 20,000 islands. Photo credit Prayitno.

8. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas (DFW) with 58,591,842 passengers

Two reasons explain why so many passengers travel through the DFW airport: Firstly, it serves the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and its 6.8 million residents. Secondly, it’s the principal hub of American Airlines, which is one of the world’s largest airlines, and will soon be the world’s largest airline if the merger with US Airways proceeds as expected.

Reading Suggestion: See 5 tips, like when to book your ticket, from the Hopper research team that can save travelers hundreds on their flights to Dallas.

American Airlines operates thousands of flights out of DFW each week. Photo credit Grant Wickes.

American Airlines operates thousands of flights out of DFW each week. Photo credit Grant Wickes.

7. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, France (CDG) with 61,611,934 passengers

[Also see our “Travel Guide to Paris and its Cultural Attractions“]

One of two airports to serve Paris and its 12 million residents, the Charles de Gaulle Airport is the primary entry point to France, the world’s most visited country, for international travelers. In fact, Paris Charles de Gaulle is the fourth busiest airport in the world when it comes to international passenger traffic. Domestic flights to Paris, however, are just as likely to fly to Paris Orly (ORY) across town.

If you're flying on Air France, the French flag carrier, there's a good chance you'll fly to CDG. Photo credit BriYYZ / CC BY-SA.

If you’re flying on Air France, the French flag carrier, there’s a good chance you’ll fly to CDG. Photo credit BriYYZ / CC BY-SA.

6. Los Angeles International Airport, California (LAX) with 63,688,121 passengers

[Also see our travel article “Top Ten Reasons to Visit Los Angeles“]

LAX is a big airport, as evidenced by its 63 million yearly passengers and five runways. The airport is also the world’s busiest origin and destination airport, which means that its numbers aren’t inflated by hordes of connecting passengers. But just because LAX is busy doesn’t mean it’s good. Travelers should expect lengthy waits at security, check in and immigration, and prepare for the airport’s inconvenient transportation options into the city.

The giant LAX sign at the entrance to the Los Angeles International Airport. Photo credit Mark Luethi.

The giant LAX sign at the entrance to the Los Angeles International Airport. Photo credit Mark Luethi.

Click to see the five busiest airports in the world!

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