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Busiest airports in the world

There were nearly 7 billion global flight passengers last year, and these were the busiest airports:

Overall, volumes are up 54% compared to 2021 (not surprising). But we are still down about 26% compared to pre-pandemic levels (2019). The one exception — at least when it comes to this top 10 list — is Denver. It’s right back to where it was in 2019. I wonder why.

I find this list interesting because, one the one hand, airports are what connect global cities to the rest of the world. If you’re a big and important city, you need a big and important airport. But on the other hand, having a busy airport could also mean that you’re a hub in the hub-and-spoke airline model.

And that’s what Atlanta is. It is the world’s largest airline hub and the primary hub for Delta Air Lines. Apparently, it was also the first airport to adopt the hub-and-spoke model following deregulation of the industry in the 1970s. Which could be why it’s still number one on this list.


  1. Two Questions come to mind:
    1) How would this change if cargo flights are included?
    2) Sad but expected: Seattle home of Starbucks, Amazon & Microsoft is not on there


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