World's busiest airport

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The definition of world's busiest airport has been specified by the Airports Council International in Geneva, Switzerland.[1] The ACI defines and measures the following three types of airport traffic:

  • Passenger traffic: total passengers emplaned and deplaned, passengers in transit counted once[2]
  • Cargo traffic: loaded and unloaded freight and mail in metric tonnes[3]
  • Traffic movements: landings and take-offs of aircraft[4]

Busiest airports[edit]

The following airports make claims based on objective volume measures that are defined above (as per ACI):

Most passengers annually (1998–present)[5]
Most international passengers annually (2014–present)[6]
Most cargo traffic by weight annually (2010–present)[7]
Most aircraft movements annually (2015-present)[8]
Most passengers annually in all city airports combined (2010)[9]

Historical claims[edit]

In the late 1940s, Chicago Midway was the busiest airport in the United States by total aircraft operations – i.e., including every training aircraft practicing take-offs and landings.[10] New York LaGuardia had the most airline operations and passengers until the early 1950s, when Chicago became the busiest airport in the United States by any criterion. Before World War II, Chicago Midway was the origin or destination of one in four U.S. airline flights,[11] although a 1939 Official Aviation Guide shows more airline flights scheduled at Newark than at Chicago.[citation needed]
As the home of Fedex Express, Memphis had the largest cargo operations worldwide from 1993 to 2009. It remains the busiest cargo airport in the United States and the Western Hemisphere.[12]

Non-standard claims[edit]

Gatwick has the world's busiest single-use runway. It does have two runways on site but the close proximity of the two and the length and lack of guidance for the second means that only one is used.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Airports Welcome Record 4.4 Billion Passengers in 2006". Airports Council International. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Passenger Traffic 2007 Preliminary". Airports Council International. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "Cargo Traffic 2007 Preliminary". Airports Council International. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  4. ^ "Traffic Movements 2007 Preliminary". Airports Council International. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  5. ^ "Atlanta Hartsfield Earns 'World's Busiest' Title Once Again". Aero-News Network. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  6. ^ "Heathrow airport overtaken by Dubai as world’s busiest". Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "World Airport Rankings 2010 from Airports Council International". Airports Council International. 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Patterson, Thom (22 January 2015). "New stats spur rivalry between Chicago and Atlanta airports". CNN. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Beijing to overtake London as world’s largest aviation hub". CAPA. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  10. ^ American Aviation 15 Mar 1947, 15 Mar 1948, 15 Apr 1949, 15 Apr 1950
  11. ^ Michelle Mullins (18 July 1999). "Region leads the way in flight". Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  12. ^ "Table 2 – TOTAL CARGO TRAFFIC 2013 – Preliminary World Airport Traffic and Rankings 2013 – High Growth Dubai Moves Up to 7th Busiest Airport – Mar 31, 2014". Airports Council International. March 31, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  13. ^ "Facts and Stats – Gatwick Airport". 4 December 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 

External links[edit]