In this article, we take a look at the 21 largest airports in the world. If you want to see more of the world’s largest airports, go straight to 5 largest airports in the world.
Airports are the hub of air travel where passenger and cargo planes take off and land.
Airports help businesses connect and navigate. In many cases, airports are essential because they are the fastest and most economical way for people to get from one place to another. While it would take about a week by ship for trips from New York to England, for example, the average trip from New York City to London takes only about 7 hours by plane.
Large airports can mean big business for many cities as they can facilitate economic activity such as increasing demand for hotels, taxis and restaurants.
According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 2021 Airport Traffic Report, New York City’s largest airport, JFK, plays a large role in New York City’s regional economy. In addition to directly employing 34,850 people, JFK contributes $42 billion to the economic activity of the New York New Jersey Metropolitan Area and supports approximately 195,000 total jobs. According to the same report, Newark Liberty International Airport generates $29.3 billion in annual economic activity and supports 128,000 jobs.
The largest airports in the world
Some of the largest airports are gigantic.
In 2019 before the pandemic, JFK served 62.55 million passengers including 34.3 million international passengers. In 2021, JFK served 30.7 million passengers as air travel begins to recover.
As it has the largest economy in the world, the United States has many of the largest airports in the world including the largest overall. With its large population and second largest economy, China has many of the largest airports in the world.
Since building large airports costs a lot of capital, many airports have been built or supported by governments. Given that private companies can sometimes achieve more efficiencies than governments, some airports that were originally built by governments have been privatized.
As a result, companies such as Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited own and operate the UK’s largest airport, Heathrow, and companies such as Auckland International Airport Limited (ASX: AIA.AX) own an airport in Auckland, New Zealand.
In terms of airport business, many private airport companies have not fully recovered from the pandemic in terms of their revenue since passenger traffic has not fully recovered from the pandemic.
Pandemic and recovery from traffic
Many public airports have not seen passenger traffic fully recover from the pandemic. However, the current passenger traffic is higher than in 2020, and many analysts believe that passenger traffic will be higher in a year or two.
According to World Economic Forum data, total passenger numbers in 2021 reached 47% of 2019 levels, and international passengers reached 27% of pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, the industry has recovered further, with industry-wide passenger numbers at 83% of 2019 levels. For the year, international passengers at 69% of pre-pandemic levels, and domestic air travel at 93%.
While analysts expect air traffic to increase further, the future depends on consumer behavior, economic conditions, and the current pandemic. If there is a worse-than-expected recession, for example, the time it takes to reach pre-pandemic levels may be longer than expected. For those who are interested, also check out the 15 largest airlines in the world in 2022.
For our list of the world’s 21 largest airports, we used the 2021 Airport Traffic Report from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to top 60 airports worldwide ranked by passenger traffic for 2021.
21 largest airports in the world
#21 Kunming International Airport
2021 Passengers: 32,221,295
Kunming International Airport is an airport that serves the capital of Yunnan Province in China, Kunming. With China having a population of 1.4 billion and the second largest economy in the world, Kunming International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world with more than 32.2 million passengers passing through in 2021. Given the expected growth in China’s middle class, it is likely to handle Kunming International Airport with more passengers to come.
#20 Beijing Capital International Airport
2021 Passengers: 32,639,029
Beijing Capital International Airport is the busiest airport in the Chinese capital with over 32.6 million passengers passing through the airport in 2021. Originally built as a gateway to Beijing for the Olympics in 2008, Beijing Capital International Airport is highly advanced technologically and operationally with an aerodynamic roof . Welcome architecture. Beijing Capital International Airport ranks #20 on our list of the 21 largest airports in the world.
#19 Hongqiao International Airport
2021 Passengers: 33,207,337
Hongqiao International Airport is one of two airports serving the main city of Shanghai in China along with Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Hongqiao International Airport is located near the city of Hongqiao, which is about 8 miles west of downtown Shanghai. The airport handled more than 33.2 million passengers in 2021.
#18 Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
2021 Passengers: 35,766,284
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport is another Chinese airport that ranks in our list of the 21 largest airports in the world. The airport is located about 12 miles north of the Chinese city center of Chongqing and is a hub for many Chinese airlines. Although it is not as famous as Beijing or Shanghai, Chongqing is a huge city with more than 30 million people.
#17 Mexico City International Airport
2021 Passengers: 36,056,614
Mexico City International Airport is the largest airport in the Mexican capital, Mexico City. With over 36 million passengers, the airport is a major contributor to the city’s economy. Mexico City International Airport is also the busiest airport in Mexico and Latin America.
#16 Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
2021 Passengers: 36,154,015
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the largest airport in Seattle. In its history, the airport has been one of the fastest growing in the United States with a steady increase in international flights in the past decade. As a result of its growth, more than 36.1 million passengers passed through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2021.
#15 Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport
2021 Passengers: 36,358,185
Shenzhen Baoan International Airport is the largest airport in Shenzhen, the technology hub of China. Due to Shenzhen’s economic growth, the airport plans for long-term passenger traffic to reach 100 million by 2030 against about 36.4 million transit passengers in 2021 and 52.93 million in 2019. Shenzhen is one of the richest cities in China in terms of GDP per capita. .
#14 Istanbul International Airport
2021 Passengers: 36,988,067
Istanbul International Airport is one of the three airports serving the capital of Turkey, Istanbul. However, Istanbul International Airport is the newest and largest of the three airports, with nearly 37 million passengers passing through in 2021. Europe, Asia and Africa.
#13 Indira Gandhi International Airport
2021 Passengers: 37,139,957
Indira Gandhi International Airport is the largest airport in India serving the country’s capital, New Delhi. With a throughput of over 37.1 million in 2021, the airport connects India to several major economic hubs around the world that can boost economic growth. With India’s population of nearly 1.4 billion and its rapid rate of economic growth, the Indira Gandhi International Airport is likely to handle a lot more people in the future as well.
#12 Miami International Airport
2021 Passengers: 37,302,456
Miami International Airport is one of the busiest airports for international travelers due to more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other US airport. Miami International Airport is located in Miami, more than 37.3 million passengers will pass through it in 2021, and it is a leading economic engine for Miami Date County which generates business revenue of $31.9 billion annually.
#11 Sky Harbor International Airport
2021 Passengers: 38,846,713
Sky Harbor International Airport is the primary airport in the greater Phoenix area with approximately 1,200 flights daily serving more than 120 domestic and international destinations. In 2021, the airport’s population was 38.8 million people, dwarfing the population of Phoenix which has a population of only about 1.625 million.
#10 Harry Reid International Airport
2021 Passengers: 39,754,366
Harry Reid International Airport is the largest airport in Las Vegas with more than 39.7 million passengers passing through it. The airport is also known as Las Vegas Airport and was previously known as McCarran International Airport. Due to its significant traffic, Harry Reid International Airport ranks #10 on our list of the 21 largest airports in the world.
#9 Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
2021 Passengers: 40,117,496
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is the main airport for the Chinese city of Chengdu, which has a population of more than 16.3 million. The airport is located about 10 miles from the city center and served more than 40.1 million passengers in 2021. Due to its location, the airport is an important hub for many domestic flights in China.
#8 Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
2021 Passengers: 40,259,401
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is the main airport serving the city of Guangzhou in China. As a major hub for China Southern Airlines, the airport receives a lot of traffic with over 40.2 million passengers in 2021. In terms of airports, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is relatively new with its opening in 2004.
#7 Orlando International Airport
2021 Passengers: 40,351,068
Orlando International Airport is the primary airport for Orlando and Florida’s busiest airport with over 40 million passengers in 2021. The airport offers nonstop service connecting Orlando to more than 150 destinations worldwide including more domestic destinations than any other airport in Florida.
#6 Charlotte Douglas International Airport
2021 Passengers: 43,302,230
Charlotte Douglas International Airport had 1,424 arrivals and departures each day as well as 4,330,230 passengers in 2021. The airport provides nonstop air service to 184 destinations around the world and is home to eight major airlines as well as 15 regional carriers.
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Disclosure: None. The 21 largest airports in the world Originally posted on Insider Monkey.