The title of World’s Busiest Airport is hotly contested. You may have heard that Atlanta’s airport holds the top spot, though others such as Dubai and O’Hare have also made the claim.
Which airport is the busiest? The numbers below from the Airports Council International clear up the confusion.
Officially, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) is the world’s busiest airport. In 2015, ATL serviced 101 million passengers either arriving or departing, breaking the 100 million mark for the first time. ATL passenger traffic jumped 5.5 percent last year, thanks to its strategic location and the growth of its major operator, Delta Air Lines.
In 2014, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) made a claim for the world’s busiest airport because it operated the most aircraft movements, which includes takeoffs and landings, though ORD still serviced fewer passengers than ATL. However, in 2015, ORD’s aircraft movements declined about 1 percent, putting it back in second place for number of flights. At 882,497 takeoffs and landings, ATL operated the most flights.
Most International Passengers
Here’s where it gets tricky. Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates services the most passengers on international flights, which some would say makes it the busiest airport in the “world.” In 2015, more than 77 million international passengers flew through DXB. To contrast, only about 10 percent of Atlanta’s passengers fly international.
Most Air Cargo
Passengers aren’t the only things that fly. The world’s largest hub for air cargo is Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), which loaded and unloaded about 4.5 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2015. HKG has been the world’s busiest airport for cargo since 2010, when it overtook Memphis International Airport (MEM), because of the region’s status as a major nexus for global trade.