The Top 10 Busiest World Airports For 2023 Revealed

View over airport at night.
Photo Credit: ACI World

The Airports Council International (ACI) World recently released its preliminary report on the top 10 busiest world airports for 2023, revealing a dynamic shift driven by a surge in international travel.

Passenger numbers are nearing pre-pandemic levels, with a remarkable 93.8% recovery compared to 2019.

Notably, international traffic played a more significant role in this resurgence than domestic travel, highlighting its crucial role in propelling the industry forward.

International Hubs Rise in Prominence

This surge in international travel has significantly impacted the pecking order of the world’s busiest airports.

Dubai International Airport, a major global hub, soared to the coveted second spot for the first time, displacing Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Interior of Dubai International Airport
Dubai (BXB) Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tokyo Haneda Airport also witnessed a meteoric rise, jumping a staggering 11 places to claim the number 5 position.

These shifts reflect the growing importance of international travel hubs that facilitate seamless connections between continents.

View across Japan Tokyo Haneda Airport
Tokyo Haneda (HND) Masahiro TAKAGI from Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

ACI World Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, attributes the 2023 boom to several factors. The anticipated benefits of China’s reopening after pandemic restrictions definitely played a key role.

This came alongside the more general public yearning for travel experiences despite lingering economic uncertainties.

US Airports: Strong Showing in Top 10

Atlanta Welcomes Staggering 104.7m Passengers in 2023
Atlanta Jackson (ATL) Photo Credit: redlegsfan21 via Wikimedia Commons.

Overall, US airports continue to hold a strong presence in the Top 10, taking out 5 slots. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) holds onto the top rank.

The US airport is followed by Dubai International Airport for the first time. DXB has surpassed Dallas Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) in third position.

List of Top 10 busiest world airports for 2023.

However, this landscape is undoubtedly evolving. Preliminary data reveals the strengthening of Asia-Pacific and Middle East hubs alongside perennial US leaders

The biggest jump in the top 10 rankings is recorded for Tokyo Haneda, leaping from 16th position in 2022 to the 5th spot in 2023.

List of Top 10 busiest world airports for 2023 by international passenger numbers

Cargo Takes a Dip

While passenger traffic soared, air cargo volumes saw a slight dip of 3.1% year-over-year. Ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global supply chains are believed to be contributing factors.

Nevertheless, even in this climate, Hong Kong International Airport maintained its top position for cargo traffic. It was closely followed by established players like Memphis International and Shanghai Pudong.

List of Top 10 busiest world airports for 2023 by cargo movements

The ACI World report goes beyond just numbers, emphasizing the crucial role airports play in global connectivity, trade, and economic development.

Their adaptability in the face of an ever-changing travel landscape is a testament to their resilience. ACI World remains committed to advocating for airports throughout policy formulation and supporting continuous improvement within the industry.

List of Top 10 busiest world airports for 2023 by aircraft movements.

Key Statistics: Overview

Here’s a look at some for the key statistics in highlight:

  • Global passenger traffic in 2023 is estimated at a staggering 8.5 billion, a significant 27.2% increase from 2022 and a near-complete recovery (93.8%) from pre-pandemic levels.
  • International travel led the charge with a robust 36.5% growth rate, compared to a still-impressive 20.2% increase in domestic travel.
  • The top 10 busiest airports handled a substantial portion of global traffic, nearly 10% or 806 million passengers, reflecting a healthy 19.8% rise from 2022.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta continues to reign supreme as the world’s busiest passenger hub, but Dubai International Airport has made a power move, securing the coveted second-place position.
  • Aircraft movements globally reached close to 95 million, showcasing a remarkable recovery of 92.7% from pre-pandemic levels. The top 10 busiest airports for aircraft movements represent a significant portion of global traffic, handling over 6%.
An airliner approaches to land at dusk.
Photo Credit: Shoval Zonnis via Pexels

Solidifying ACI World’s position as the leading authority on airport travel demand, this report is based on data collected from a staggering network of over 2,600 airports worldwide.

The findings for busiest airports 2023 offer some valuable insights. They give a glimpse into the current state of the air travel industry and its future trajectory.

As international travel continues to regain momentum, we can expect to see further shifts in the global airport landscape, with major hubs strategically positioned to play a vital role in fostering global connections.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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