Airports Aviation News

Atlanta Busiest Airport, Dubai Busiest For International Traffic in 2023

Never as in the last few years have the standings of the world’s busiest airport changed so dramatically and drastically from one year to the next. With air travel coming to a standstill in 2020 the way countries and airports resumed operations varied massively. Therefore we are seeing some airports come back to firing on all cylinders much later than others. That translates to constantly changing standings from 2021 onwards in terms of the busies airport. However with most airports back to normal operations we’re seeing standings go back to a pre 2020 normality, so to speak. Let’s take a closer look at the standings ACI (Airport Council International) announced.

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Atlanta World’s Busiest Airport By Passengers Volumes

If you don’t closely follow all news on civil aviation (shame on you LOL), you might not be aware of how Atlanta is actually the world’s busiest airport. An airport that dwarfs most other international airports around the globe. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, home to Delta Air Lines, has retained once again in 2023 the title of world’s busiest airport.

Over 104 million passengers transited through the airport’s terminals in 2023. However it must be noted that a huge proportion of this traffic is domestic traffic. The airport actually drops out of the top 10 positions if we consider take into account international traffic only. The second placed airport has a completely opposite paradigm. Dubai International’s traffic, second busiest airport worldwide in 2023, was only international as the UAE is too small to have a domestic flight network. Third place goes to another US airport, Dallas Fort-Worth which dropped down a place due to Dubai’s rapid rise.

Recapping here are ACI’s rankings for the world’s 10 busiest airports:

RankNationAirportCodePassenger VolumesIn 2022
2UAEDubai Intl.DXB86.994.36566.069.981
3USADallas Fort WorthDFW81.755.53873.362.946
4Regno UnitoLondon HeathrowLHR79.183.36461.614.230
7TurchiaIstanbul Intl.IST76.027.32164.289.107
8USALos AngelesLAX75.050.87565.924.298
9USAChicago O’HareORD73.894.22668.340.461
10IndiaNew DelhiDEL72.214.84159.490.074
Emirates Boeing 777-300ER parked at the gate of Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport DXB, the world's second busiest airport in 2023 behind Atlanta, but first by international passenger traffic.

Dubai The World’s Busiest Airport By International Traffic

The standings change dramatically when only international traffic is taken into account. US airport, whose traffic relies hugely on domestic passengers, fall out of the top placements. On the other hand major transit airport in Europe and the Middle East have a larger representation in the International passenger standings.

Dubai is in fact the world’s busiest airport by international traffic as reported by ACI. The airport has no domestic traffic, therefore every single passenger that transits through the airport is inevitably international. However the top 10 standings see many European airports too. Airports such as London’s Heathrow, Paris CDG, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid. Each of them home to a major airline.

Asia is represented by 2 airports I know quite well Singapore and Seoul Incheon. Singapore I have visited countless times as a passenger and as crew, while working for Emirates, on my way to Australia. This is one of my favourite airports in the world. Seoul I visit regularly when visiting my wife’s family and I love the modern facilities it offers, although I do prefer Terminal 2 (the SkyTeam dedicated one) over T1.

Here are the complete standings for 2023’s world’s busiest airports by international traffic as reported by ACI

RankNationAirportCodePassenger VolumesIn 2022
1UAEDubai Intl.DXB86.994.365
2Regno UnitoLondon HeathrowLHR74.909.019
3Paesi BassiAmsterdamAMS61.882.546
6TurchiaIstanbul Intl.IST58.232.674
7Corea del SudSeoul IncheonICN55.763.768

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