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Atlanta Retains Top Spot as the World’s Busiest Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport served over 93 million passengers in 2022, more than 20 million more than the runner up, Dallas/Fort Worth

by Fergus Cole

April 5, 2023

Photo: Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport. Courtesy of Skyler Smith / Unsplash

Airports Council International (ACI) revealed the ten busiest airports in the world in 2022, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) being named the busiest for the second consecutive year.

As global air travel continues to recover following years of pandemic restrictions, the latest rankings from ACI World suggest that some regions are recuperating better than others. For example, no less than half of the world’s ten busiest airports last year were in the U.S. – evidence that the country’s domestic aviation market is rebounding stronger than international and other major domestic markets.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport / Photo: Sean Pavone Alamy Stock Photo

According to ACI World, more than 93 million passengers traveled through ATL in 2022, representing a 23.8% increase compared to passenger numbers in 2021. However, it was still 15.2% lower than the number of passengers in the airport in 2019.

The second busiest airport in the world last year was Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), with over 73 million passengers. Denver International Airport (DEN) came in third with more than 69 million passengers.

In total, almost 7 billion passengers passed through airports across the globe in 2022—more than 53% higher than 2021 levels and around 73.8% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Of the nearly 7 billion air passengers last year, around 10% of them passed through the ten busiest airports.

Dubai Reigns International Traffic

A list of the world’s ten busiest airports in terms of international passenger numbers was also released by ACI World, with Dubai International Airport (DXB) coming out on top with over 66 million passengers.

Photo: Dubai International Airport, Emirates Airbus A380 / Courtesy of Emirates

This was followed by London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in second with more than 58 million international passengers and Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) in third place with over 52 million.

Interestingly, no U.S. airports made the top ten for international passenger volume, despite making up half of the ten busiest airports overall.

These were the ten busiest airports in the world in 2022, according to ACI World:

Ranking Airport 2022 Passenger Numbers % Change vs 2021 % Change vs 2019
1 Atlanta (ATL) 93,699,630 +23.8 -15.2
2 Dallas (DFW) 73,362,946 +17.5 -2.3
3 Denver (DEN) 69,286,461 +17.8 +0.4
4 Chicago (ORD) 68,340,619 +26.5 -19.3
5 Dubai (DXB) 66,069,981 +127 -23.5
6 Los Angeles (LAX) 65,924,298 +37.3 -25.1
7 Istanbul (IST) 64,289,107 +73.8 +23.2
8 London (LHR) 61,614,508 +217.7 -23.8
9 New Delhi (DEL) 59,490,074 +60.2 -13.1
10 Paris (CDG) 57,474,033 +119.4 -24.5


“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,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director general of ACI World. “While U.S. 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 airports.”

Photo: Courtesy of Miami International 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,” added de Oliveira, also noting that the re-opening of China should bring an overall gain, both domestically and for international travel.

“The ongoing recovery of air travel demand would not be possible without the continuous work of airports to provide a safe, secure, efficient, and sustainable air transport ecosystem for the passengers that we depend on and the communities we serve. ACI World will remain committed to representing the best interests of airports on the global stage during key phases of policy development and to promoting airport excellence.”