The airports are the most common gateway to get from one country to another, for those who begin their air journey. The aviation hubs provide the infrastructure for the aircraft, handle immigration issues, cargo and also accommodate thousands of travelers every year.
Over the years, constantly growing passenger numbers made many airports too overcrowded. Since it has become difficult to squeeze in all the travelers into one building and park all the airplanes into one place, countries started to enlarge their aviation hubs with new terminals and runways.
Here are the largest airports that can accommodate thousands of travelers and land hundreds of airplanes daily. Take a look at the list of the top 10 largest airports in 2021, in terms of their area size.
10. Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) ~32.4 sq.km
Suvarnabhumi International Airport is known to be the largest international airport in Southeast Asia region. Having opened operations in 2006, the airport is currently a main hub for Thai Airways, Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, and Thai VietJet.
Suvarnabhumi has three main terminals. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 handle the international flights, while Terminal 3 serves only domestic operations. The airport has two parallel runways.
9. Cairo International Airport (CAI) ~36.3 sq.km
Cairo International Airport started its activity in 1945. The airport is located in Heliopolis, is the busiest airport in Egypt and a primary hub for Egypt Air and Nile Air.
Cairo International Airport has four terminals. Three major terminals serve both international and domestic flights. In 2011, the new terminal called Seasonal Flight Terminal (SFT) commenced services. The main purpose of SFT terminal was to ease operational strains on the existing terminals during pilgrim seasons. The airport has two runways.
8. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) ~39.1 sq.km
The airport started its commercial services in 1999. Shanghai Pudong Airport is a major aviation hub for Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA).
Pudong Airport has two major passenger terminals. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 operate domestic and international flights. A third terminal has been planned since 2015, in addition to satellite terminal and two additional runways. The airport currently has four runways.
7. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) ~40.5 sq.km
Initially named as “Houston Intercontinental Airport”, the airport was opened in 1969. The airport currently serves as the second largest aviation hub for United Airlines.
George Bush Airport has five terminals. Terminals A, B, C, D, and E serve both domestic and international operations. The airport has five runways.
6. Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) ~47 sq.km
Beijing Daxing Airport, being 6th on the largest airports list in terms of its area size, crowns itself as the largest single-building airport in the world. The airport was opened in 2019 and has become the main aviation hub for three major Chinese airlines – Air China, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) and China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA).
Daxing Airport has only one terminal. However, the terminal is the largest single-building terminal in the world, having five concourses and looking like a starfish from the sky. The “starfish” airport has four runways.
5. Orlando International Airport (MCO) ~50.9 sq.km
This airport started its commercial services in 1981. Orlando airport is a major operating base for JetBlue (JBLU), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Spirit Airlines (S64) (SAVE).
Orlando Airport features a main terminal which is divided into two terminals, A and B. Each is connected to two airside terminals, which operate international as well as domestic flights. The airport has four runways.
4. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) ~52.6 sq.km
Washington Dulles International Airport, usually known as Dulles International Airport, commenced its services in 1962. The airport is the first and main hub for United Airlines.
The airport’s terminal complex consists of a main terminal and two midfield terminal buildings – concourses A/B and C/D. Dulles Airport has four runways.
3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) ~69.5 sq.km
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport commenced its services in 1974. The airport is a major aviation hub for American Airlines (A1G) (AAL).
Dallas Airport has five terminals. Terminal A is fully occupied by American Airlines (A1G) (AAL). The remaining terminals B, C, D, and E serve international and domestic flights. The airport has a total of seven runways. DFW Airport is the only airport in the world with four serviceable paved runways longer than 4,000 meters.
2. Denver International Airport (DEN) ~135.7 sq.km
Denver International Airport commenced its operations in 1995. The airport is a hub for United Airlines and Frontier Airlines, also a base for Southwest Airlines (LUV).
Denver Airport has one terminal, which is connected to three major midfield concourses A, B and C. The airport has six runways.
1. King Fahd International Airport (DMM) ~776 sq.km
King Fahd International Airport, also known as Dammam Airport, was opened for operations in 1999. The airport serves as a hub to Saudia, SaudiGulf Airlines and Flynas.
The airport has three terminal buildings. The six-storey main terminal operates international and domestic flights. Aramco Terminal serves private airlines operated by Saudi Aramco. The Royal Terminal serves the royal family of Saudi Arabia, official guests and government officials. Dammam Airport has two runways.