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Atlanta Retains the Title as the World’s Busiest Airport in 2023

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remains the busiest airport in the world with over 100M passengers in 2023

by Fergus Cole

April 16, 2024

Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport / Photo: Courtesy of PANTHER MEDIA GMBH/Alamy Stock Photo

According to the latest Airports Council International (ACI) World report, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) remained the busiest airport in the world, with over 100 million passengers passing through its gates in 2023. This marks an almost 12 percent increase from the previous year, although it is still behind pre-pandemic levels by over 5 percent.

Based on data from more than 2,600 airports worldwide, the report also found that global passenger numbers are recovering strongly and are close to surpassing pre-pandemic levels. ACI World reported that almost 8.5 billion passengers embarked on commercial flights last year, representing a 93.8 percent recovery compared to 2019.

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

Dubai International Airport (DXB) came in second place, with almost 87 million passengers, surpassing Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), which dropped to third place.

Five U.S. airports made it to the top 10 globally—Denver International Airport (DEN) was the 6th busiest with almost 78 million passengers, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was 8th with over 75 million, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) came in 9th place with just under 74 million.

Photo: Courtesy of Denver International Airport.

Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) saw the biggest increase in passenger volume last year, with over 78.7 million passengers—a 55.1 percent increase compared to 2022, which helped it climb from 16th place up to 5th.

Istanbul Airport (IST), home to Turkish Airlines, was also a big mover, with more than 76 million passengers last year, a 45.7 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels.

These were the world’s busiest airports in 2023 by total passenger volume, according to ACI World:

RankAirportPassengers in 2023% Change vs 2022% Change vs 2019
1Atlanta (ATL)104,653,451+11.7-5.3
2Dubai (DXB)86,994,365+31.7+0.7
3Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)81,755,538+11.4+8.9
4London (LHR)79,183,364+28.5-2.1
5Tokyo (HND)78,719,302+55.1-7.9
6Denver (DEN)77,837,917+12.3+12.8
7Istanbul (IST)76,027,321+18.3+45.7
8Los Angeles (LAX)75,050,875+13.8-14.8
9Chicago (ORD)73,894,226+8.1-12.7
10New Delhi (DEL)72,214,841+21.4+5.4

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

“While perennial leaders from the U.S. 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.

Photo: Courtesy of Dubai International Airport

“Additionally, the unwavering strength of Istanbul and New Delhi airports keep them in top ranks, marking significant progress over 2019.”

The ACI World Report also ranked the world’s busiest airports in international passenger volume, with Dubai International Airport taking the spot. This is, however, somewhat unsurprising as its entire flight schedule consists of global services, and it has led this metric since before the pandemic.

In second place with London Heathrow Airport (LHR), with almost 75 million passengers, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) in third with nearly 61.9 million.

Photo: London Heathrow. Courtesy of Elizabeth Leyden/Alamy Stock Photo

No U.S. airports made the top 10 for international passenger volume, Atlanta included, which perhaps highlights ATL’s position as a major hub for domestic U.S. travel.

These were the world’s busiest airports in 2023 by international passenger volume, according to ACI World:

RankAirportInternational Passengers in 2023% Change vs 2022% Change vs 2019
1Dubai (DXB)86,994,365+31.7+0.8
2London (LHR)74,909,019+28.6-1.5
3Amsterdam (AMS)61,882,546+17.9-13.7
4Paris (CDG)61,412,198+18.6-12.1
5Singapore (SIN)58,411,000+83.1-13.6
6Istanbul (IST)58,232,674+2047.1
7Seoul Incheon (ICN)55,763,768+212.9-21
8Frankfurt (FRA)54,089,293+20.8-14.2
9Doha (DOH)45,913,805+28.5+18.4
10Madrid (MAD)43,799,968+20.9-2.5

“The rankings highlight the crucial role these transportation hubs play in global connectivity, commerce, and economic development,” added de Oliviera. “Airports continue to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability amidst the challenges posed by the ever-evolving landscape of global travel.”