ACI confirms Atlanta is world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic

By Kristiane Sherry |

Atlanta is world's busiest airport - pictured from above

ACI has confirmed Atlanta is the world’s busiest airport. IMAGE: Atlanta Airport

Airports Council International (ACI) has released its latest World Airport Traffic Dataset, which names Atlanta as the world’s busiest airport, handling 93.7 million passengers in 2022.

Dallas Fort Worth ranked second with 73.3m passengers, with Denver third at 69.2m.

Dubai International was the highest ranking airport outside the US with 66.0m passengers for the year.

The biggest mover was London’s Heathrow Airport, which leapt from 54th position in 2021 to 8th in 2022. Its 61.6m passengers represents year-on-year growth of 217%. 

While the US accounted for 10 of the top 20 spots, ACI notes they all have significant domestic passenger shares from 75-95%.

The top 20 airports collectively account for 18% of global traffic, which hit 6.6 billion passengers in 2022. 

While the total represents a 43.8% increase on 2021 traffic, numbers are still far below 2019 levels. 2022’s recovery accounts for 72.5% of pre-pandemic levels. 

The global share of international traffic has climbed from 25.3% in 2021 to 38.4% in 2022.

world’s busiest airport

ACI has revealed the world’s busiest airports for 2022.

“In the face of cost pressures and tight labour markets, the world’s airports continue to serve the public’s thirst to travel by air,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General.

“Airports have once more proven their resiliency as reflected in the key findings from the ACI World Airport Traffic Dataset. 

“As always, reliable data remains fundamental to our advocacy and development of timely airport guidance. 

“Airports and aviation stakeholders must continue to focus wholeheartedly on building a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable air transport system fit to welcome the doubling of passengers that will travel through our doors in the next two decades.”

World’s busiest airport by cargo and air movements

Hong Kong is the world’s busiest airport for cargo, handling just under 4.2m metric tonnes in 2022. Memphis ranked second (4.0m metric tonnes) and Anchorage third (3.4m metric tonnes). 

Despite the world-leading standings, all three posted declines for the year.

World's busiest airports by cargo

World’s busiest airports by cargo in 2022

Globally, air cargo volumes fell 6.7% year-on-year (-2.6 compared to 2019). In total, 117m metric tonnes of cargo were carried in 2022.

ACI attributed the declines to ongoing geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions. 

Of the top 20 busiest airports by cargo, only two saw growth. Louisville, ranked 5th, saw 0.5% growth to 3.0m metric tonnes. Cincinnati, 17th with 1.7m metric tonnes, posted 16.8% gains, thanks to Amazon Air’s primary U.S. Hub and DHL Express’ Global Superhub for the Americas.

ACI's world's busiest airports by movements

World’s busiest airports by aircraft movements.

Global aircraft movements were close to 85m in 2022, an increase of 14.8% on 2021. Recovery stands at 82.4% of 2019 levels. 

Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth were the top three, with the US accounting for 13 of the 20 best ranking airports. 

Earlier this month, TRBusiness presented its bumper annual special report on the top 10 airports ranked by international passenger traffic volumes.

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