On Wednesday, the Airports Council International (ACI) published the top ten busiest airports worldwide for 2022. The preliminary figures indicate that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) remains the world’s busiest overall, and Dubai International (DXB) is the world’s busiest international hub.
The results for total passenger traffic
With the resumption of international travel, 2022 global passenger traffic reached close to 7 billion, said ACI in a statement. This number represents a 73.8% recovery from 2019 results, showing the industry was still profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
The top ten airports for total passenger traffic (representing 10% of global traffic) closed in 2022 with an 85.9% recovery versus pre-pandemic 2019 results. In this segment, Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International held its position as the world’s largest hub. It received 93.7 million passengers in the year. This is what the top ten look like:
Compared to 2021, Atlanta, Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) remained as the top four airports in the world. Dubai International reached the number 5 position, which last year belonged to Los Angeles (LAX). The last four spots (seven to ten) of 2021’s top ten did not crack this year’s list. These airports were Orlando (MCO), Guangzhou (CAN), Chengdu (CTU), and Las Vegas (LAS).
Instead, Istanbul, London, New Delhi, and Paris became the top ten as borders opened. ACI said that the biggest jump in the top ten was recorded for London Heathrow (LHR). The airport improved its ranking from the 54th position in 2021.
The international passengers’ results
Internationally, results were also very interesting. Dubai International retained its spot as the world’s busiest international airport. It received 66.06 million travelers, a 127% increase versus 2021 levels. Nonetheless, it was still 23.5% below pre-pandemic traffic trends. Here’s the top ten:
London Heathrow soared back to the international top ten. Last year the number two busiest international airport was Istanbul, which this year fell to the fifth position. Amsterdam Schiphol retained its spot as the number three globally, and Paris was number four.
In 2021, some odd airports cracked the top ten busiest international hubs, including Antalya International and Cancun International. This year, none of these two hubs cracked the top ten.
ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said,
“The new top 10 busiest airports for passenger traffic reflects the resilience of the airport and aviation industry and the eagerness of passengers to travel by air. While US airport hubs were able to recover quicker due to their strong domestic market, we are now witnessing global hubs joining upper ranks—including Dubai, Istanbul, and London Heathrow Airport. While we continue to march forward cautiously amidst multiple headwinds that could impact the speed and magnitude of global air traffic recovery, the latest rankings represent an important milestone in reaching pre-pandemic levels. The re-opening of China, the second largest aviation market after the US, is now expected to bring an overall gain, both domestically and for international travel.”
He added that the ongoing recovery of air travel demand would not be possible without the continuous work of airports.