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London Heathrow Reclaims Title as World’s Most Connected Airport

The main hub of British Airways has surged 21 places in OAG's annual rankings, with New York JFK in second place and Amsterdam Schiphol in third

by Fergus Cole

September 22, 2023

Photo: London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5. Photo. Courtesy of BAA Airports Limited.

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has once again been named the world’s most connected airport by the aviation database OAG, reclaiming the top spot it last held in 2019.

Heathrow has been ranked as the world’s most connected international airport in the OAG Megahubs Index 2023. This index ranks the top 50 airports globally based on the number of international connections.

Photo: London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5A. Photo. Courtesy of BAA Airports Limited.

In 2022, Heathrow fell as low as 22nd but has now regained the top spot. British Airways, the U.K.’s flag carrier, remains the dominant airline at LHR, operating around 50% of all flights.

OAG’s annual rankings are compiled by comparing the volume of scheduled international connections – arrivals and departures – with the total number of destinations served worldwide. According to OAG, London Heathrow is also the fourth largest airport in the world in terms of total scheduled capacity.

JFK Comes Second

The second most connected international airport in the world in 2023, according to OAG’s rankings, is New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), climbing from 7th place in 2022 to 18th place in 2019. The most dominant carrier at JFK is Delta Air Lines, with a share of around 34% of all flights.

Photo: New York JFK Airport. Courtesy of Miguel Ángel Sanz / Unsplash

In third place was Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), dominated by KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines with a 53% share of flights, followed by two of Asia’s most rapidly growing airports – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND), which are dominated by AirAsia and All Nippon Airways, respectively.

“OAG Megahubs demonstrates the enduring vitality of international connectivity,” said John Grant, chief analyst at OAG. “From London Heathrow’s resurgence to the impressive ascent of Asian hubs like Kuala Lumpur, these findings underscore the resilience and adaptability of airports worldwide.”

Hall of Flags at Chicago O’Hare International Airport / Photo: Rosamar/Shutterstock

Last year’s top-ranking airport – Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – fell nine places down to 10th in the 2023 rankings. The primary hub of United Airlines was the only U.S. airport other than JFK to make the top ten, representing a stark contrast to last year’s findings, in which thirteen U.S. airports made up the top twenty.

The Top-20 Rankings

This year, the top twenty was relatively evenly spread globally, with seven being in the Asia-Pacific region, six in Europe, six in North America, and another six in the Middle East and Africa region.

Here are the top 20 international airport mega hubs in 2023 according to OAG:

Rank Airport Dominant airline (Share of flights):

1 London Heathrow (LHR) British Airways (50%)
2 New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) Delta (34%)
3 Schiphol Amsterdam (AMS) KLM (53%)
4 Kuala Lumpur (KUL) AirAsia (34%)
5 Tokyo Haneda (HND) All Nippon Airways (36%)
6 Frankfurt (FRA) Lufthansa (61%)
7 Istanbul (IST) Turkish Airlines (79%)
8 Seoul Incheon (ICN) Korean Air (22%)
9 Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Air France (55%)
10 Chicago O’Hare (ORD) United (48%)
11 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Thai Airways (14%)
12 Toronto Pearson (YYZ) Air Canada (54%)
13 Singapore Changi (SIN) Singapore Airlines (31%)
14 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) Delta (75%)
15 Manila Ninoy Aquino (MNL) Philippine Airlines (32%)
16 Dubai (DXB) Emirates (39%)
17 Newark Liberty (EWR) United (70%)
18 Mexico City (MEX) Aeromexico (58%)
19 Jakarta Seokarno-Hatta (CGK) Batik Air (21%)
20 Los Angeles (LAX) Delta (20%)