About 4.5 billion people flew in 2021, official statistics out today show. Here’s the world’s busiest airports.
About 4.5 billion people flew in 2021, according to the latest report from Airports Council International (ACI). That may seem a lot in itself, but it was about half of the 9.1 billion who flew in 2019.
The world’s 10 busiest airports
Atlanta is once again the world’s busiest airport, regaining the top spot after falling to second in 2020. It ended last year with 75.7 million passengers and was one of eight US airports in the top ten list, as shown below.
Two airports in China also feature. Like all airports in the table, their traffic levels were lower than in 2019. However, they are also lower than in 2020, showing just how badly affected the country continues to be.
Beijing Capital, Dubai International, Tokyo Haneda, London Heathrow, Shanghai Pudong, and Paris CDG were all in the list in 2019 but no longer are. They’re replaced by Denver, Charlotte, Orlando International, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Las Vegas.
The top-ten airports in 2021 all had significant domestic operations, benefiting from the much higher demand than international given far fewer restrictions. The importance of leisure places is also clear to see. Orlando was 7th (up from 31st in 2019) and Las Vegas 10th (from 30th).
The world’s 10 international airports
The results are, of course, very different if only looking at international passenger traffic. Dubai International was again number-one, although it has one of the lowest levels of traffic recovery versus 2019. Still, it has been helped by having relatively minimal COVID restrictions and the enormity of Emirates and partner flydubai.
Not one airport in the Far East made the list. Unlike in 2019, there was no Hong Kong, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, or Taipei. Some continue to suffer enormously in 2022, none more so than Hong Kong.
In contrast, Istanbul Airport was especially strong for international traffic. It rose to second, its highest ever, up from 6th in 2020 and 14th in 2019. While passengers remained down by a third, its recovery continued strongly, mainly thanks to Turkish Airlines’ continued recovery.
But the true standouts are Antalya (in 8th, up from 26th in 2019) and Cancún (10th, from 61st). It’s hard to comprehend that the Turkish report of Antalya had almost as many international passengers as London Heathrow, ordinarily number-two in the world. However, it is, of course, just temporary.
The Mexican resort of Cancún, always popular, saw a massive influx of additional US seats for sale in 2021, up by three million. It had minimal restrictions and was quick, easy, and pretty inexpensive to reach. Multiple carriers grew, especially JetBlue, American, Spirit, Frontier, and Delta, with 111 routes in all.
Source: Simple Flying