Atlanta retains title as world’s busiest airport, Haneda leaps into top 10

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Rob Wilson /

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) has regained its title as the world’s busiest airport with 104,653,451 passengers travelling through the aviation hub in 2023. 

The Airports Council International (ACI), which announced the results on April 14, 2024, said that the global total passenger forecast for 2023 stands close to 8.5 billion, an increase of 27.2% from 2022. 

Passenger numbers also recovered to 93.8% of pre COVID-19 pandemic levels with international travel noted as a strong driver of this.  

“Global air travel in 2023 was chiefly fueled by the international segment, propelled by several factors,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “Among these were the anticipated benefits from China’s reopening and a growing inclination towards travel despite macroeconomic conditions.” 

Dubai International Airport (DXB) climbed three positions to become the second busiest in the world with nearly 87 million passengers and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) served 81 million, finishing third.  

“While perennial leaders from the US continue to dominate the top 10 busiest airports for passengers, notably Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport retaining its number one position, there are notable shifts. Dubai International Airport jumped to second rank for the first time, while Tokyo Haneda International Airport witnessed a remarkable ascent from 16th position in 2022 to 5th in 2023,” Felipe de Oliveira added.  

London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) was in fourth place with 79 million passengers. The other airports to make it into the top ten were Denver (DEN), Istanbul (IST), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD) and New Delhi (DEL).  

When looking at only international passenger numbers, DXB came out top with 86 million, followed by LHR with 74 million and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) with 61 million. 

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) also maintained the top position for the world’s busiest cargo airport followed by Memphis International Airport (MEM) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). 

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