Where are the 10 largest airports in the world? Already developed countries or developing countries? If you have ever visited a major airport, then you know how large they are, but imagine how big an airport would have to be to make the list of the top 10 largest airports in the world. There are thousands of commercial airports all around the world, and they are of different shapes and sizes, but some are bigger than others. Much bigger.
Airports are the most common gateway from one country to another, and they are not just about the landing of major planes from Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) and Airbus. Airports not only provide the infrastructure for the aircraft to land, but they also handle immigration issues, cargo, and even catering for the passengers. Not to mention flight control.
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Two years ago we published a more comprehensive list of the 21 biggest airports in the world. The rankings changed as new mega airports were built in China and Turkey, so we decided to publish this updated list. This list reveals the trend that world's economic center of gravity is shifting to east as there is only one "western" airport among the top 4 results.
The criteria used to select these airports are primarily based on the number of travelers that they handle annually. It is because the number of passengers directly correlates with the number of planes that the Airport can handle and, subsequently, the physical size of the airport. Some of the data has also been corrected from research on similar websites that have touched on the same topic. A result of our criteria is the exclusion of Istanbul Airport which partially opened last year and will officially open at the end of 2019. Istanbul Airport currently handles a small number of passengers and it costed nearly $12 billion to build.
Also, popularly known as the Charles de Gaulle Airport is a French Airport that is also the largest in the country, and it also happens to be one of the busiest airports in Europe. To put its capacity into perspective, this airport served about 72 million passengers in 2018, taking into account arrivals and departures, while in 2016, it served almost 66 million passengers.
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong is one of the busiest business hubs in the world, and it subsequently has one of the busiest air travel sectors. It is why the Hong Kong International Airport, which goes back to 1998, has rapidly grown to become one of the largest airports in the world. Interestingly, this particular airport was built on land that was reclaimed from the sea, and expansion efforts are still ongoing. The Hong Kong International Airport served more than 70 million travelers in 2016, and with its expansion efforts, this number is expected to rise.
Heathrow Airport in London is also one of the busiest and also the largest airports in the world. London has the most extensive airport system in the world, and Heathrow Airport contributes significantly to this system. This airport served roughly 75 million people in 2016, and for the past two years, it averaged 80 million passengers. The number is expected to continue growing over the next few years. Heathrow has four active terminals, three of which are dedicated to significant partnerships while British Airways use the remaining one.
O’Hare International Airport
O’Hare International Airport is located in Chicago, and it is also one of the oldest airports in this list. It held the title for the busiest airport from 1963 and 1998. It is currently the second-largest airport in the US, and it serves roughly 78 million customers annually. This massive number of travelers gives it a strong spot in the list of the largest airports in the world.
Tokyo’s Haneda Airport
The Haneda Airport, also known as the Tokyo International Airport, is Tokyo's pride and joy as far as the air travel industry is concerned. Japan’s two major airlines, namely Japan Airlines and Nippon Airways, operate from this airport. Some of the other airlines that have their operations at the Haneda Airport include Air Do, Solaseed Air, StarFlyer, and Skymark Airlines. The average number of travelers served by this airport each year is around 79 million, thus earning it a spot among the top five airports in the world.
Los Angeles International Airport
It is also known as LAX and is one of the most popular airports in the US. It handles on average about 80 million passengers annually. About 87 million passengers went through this airport in 2018. It is also one of the most popular stopovers for connecting flights, especially the international ones, particularly for flights bound to countries in Asia, South America, and North America.
Dubai International Airport
It is one of the busiest airports in the world for numerous reasons. Dubai has, over the years, evolved to a tourist, trade, and business hub, therefore attracting a lot of travelers. It is also arguably the main gateway into the Middle Eastern region or the Emirates countries, thus a transport gateway. The Dubai International Airport served almost 90 million travelers in 2018, and about 140 airlines use this airport. However, the leading local carriers are FlyDubai and Emirates.
Beijing Capital International Airport
A Chinese Airport was bound to rank highly on this list, and that happens to be Beijing Capital International Airport, but it is not the only one as you shall soon find out. This particular airport is located in Beijing, which is one of the major business hubs in the world. Beijing Capital International Airport handles more than 94 million travelers annually. The leading airline that operates through this airport is Air China, although other international airlines have flights that stopover at this airport. Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited (BJCHY) is a publicly traded company.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
This US airport held the top spot as the largest airport in the world for more than 20 years, but it was recently dethroned by the top airport. This particular airport serves an average of 104 million travelers every year. The famous Delta Airlines mainly operates from this airport. It also caters to flights, both domestic and international destinations.
Beijing Daxing International Airport
It is yet another Chinese airport, but this one was launched recently. It is so recent that construction activities at this airport were completed just a few weeks ago. It hands down the biggest airport that has ever been built, even looking at its geographical footprint. It can handle 130 million travelers annually, thus solidifying its spot at the top of this list. The design of this airport is also quite interesting. It looks like an alien ship that you could find in a SCI-FI film.
Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.