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The Airports with the Most Direct Connections Around the World

Ranking is based on the total number of unique destinations each airport served in 2022, with Frankfurt Airport topping the list

by Fergus Cole

January 12, 2023

Photo: Vancouver International Airport. Courtesy of Tomas Williams / Unsplash

Aviation data analytics firm Cirium has released its list of the 20 most connected airports in the world, with Frankfurt Airport (FRA) coming out on top.

The rankings were based on the total number of unique destinations each airport served in 2022. And with 330 destinations linked to Frankfurt last year, the German hub came on top of Istanbul Airport (IST) by 20 points.

Cirium said the most connected airport in North America was Chicago O’Hare (ORD), with 278 unique destinations, making it the fifth most connected airport in the world.

Photo: Chicago O’Hare. Courtesy Ben Wicks on Unsplash

Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) landed sixth place, offering direct connections to 269 destinations last year.

Denver International (DEN) ranked 10th with its network of 226 destinations, while Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental came in 12th and 15th place, serving 220 and 213 places, respectively.

The top 20 list comprised almost entirely of North American and European airports, with Dubai International (DXB) being the only one outside these regions. The Emirates hub is seventh on the list, with 262 unique destinations.

It is somewhat surprising that Dubai was the only airport from the Middle East to rank in the top twenty. The region is also home to other hubs— such as Abu Dhabi and Doha—which have also seen heavy investment in recent years. None of these ranked within the top 20.

Photo: Dubai Airport. Courtesy of Milind Shah / Unsplash

Also, surprisingly, New York-JFK didn’t make it into the top 20. However, the fact that New York has three major airports played a significant role in JFK not making it.

Across the Atlantic, however, London’s three airports—Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), and Stansted (STN)—scored a position within the top 20. Heathrow landed seventh with 242 unique destinations.

Here is the complete list of Cirium’s most connected airports in the world in 2022:

Ranking Airport Number of direct connections
1 Frankfurt Airport (FRA) 330
2 Istanbul Airport (IST) 309
3 Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) 308
4 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) 293
5 Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) 278
6 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) 269
7 Dubai International Airport (DXB) 262
8 London Heathrow Airport (LHR) 242
9 Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) 239
10 Denver International Airport (DEN) 226
11 Vienna International Airport (VIE) 221
12 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 220
13 Munich Franz Josef Strauss International Airport (MUC) 216
14 Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) 214
15 London Gatwick Airport (LGW) 213
16 Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) 213
17 Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport  (BCN) 210
18 Manchester Airport (MAN) 210
19 London Stansted Airport (STN) 209
20 Zurich Airport (ZRH) 205