Airports Council International confirms top 20 airports of 2022 

Aerial view of the multiple runways and terminals at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Airports Council International (ACI) has released a report confirming the top 20 airports in the world for 2022. 

The international industry body grouped 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries, representing most of the world’s air traffic.  

In the document, airport rankings are provided by number of passengers, number of movements and volume of cargo handled. 

ACI also confirmed its member airports handled 6.6 billion passengers in 2022, which is up 43.8% from 2021. While these figures represent a bounce back after the COVID-induced trough seen in 2020 and 2021, they are still 28% below pre-pandemic levels. 

The top three ACI airports were all in based in the United States.  

  1. Atlanta (ATL) – 93.6 million passengers 
  1. Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – 73.3 million passengers 
  1. Denver (DEN) – 69.2 million passengers 
Airports Council International (ACI)

The first non-American airport to be included in the list is Dubai International Airport (DXB), ranking fifth, with 66 million passengers in 2022. 

The domination of American airports is still more prominent if one looks at aircraft movements, with nine out of the top 10 based in the US.  

The top three were: 

  1. Atlanta (ATL) – 724,145 movements 
  1. Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) – 711,561 movements 
  1. Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – 656,676 movements 

Istanbul’s new airport is the first non-US airport, 10th overall, with 425,890 movements.  

Airports Council International (ACI)

When it comes to cargo, the leaders were: 

  1. Hong Kong (HKG) – 4,198,937 metric tons 
  1. Memphis (MEM) – 4,042,672 metric tons 
  1. Anchorage (ANC) – 3,462,874 metric tons 
Airports Council International (ACI)

Remarkably, air cargo volumes decreased by 6.7% in 2022 compared to the previous year when many airlines switched a significant share of their operations to the freight market. However, this still represents a 2.6% decrease compared to 2019. 

One insight that can be taken away from the ACI data is how much more concentrated cargo flows in a small number of air hubs are compared to passenger ones. While the top 20 airports combined handled 18% of global traffic, the equivalent figure for air cargo is 42%. 

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