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Top 10 World’s Busiest Airports

by Matt Falcus

The results are in…

The world’s busiest airports for 2015 have been announced. The Top 10 are:

1. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, GA, USA

World's Busiest Airports

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International (C) 2010 Craig Butz

Retaining its position at the top despite close competition from Beijing and Dubai. Atlanta is home to Delta Air Lines with its vast network and fleet of aircraft.

2. Beijing Capital International, China

Photo: Paul Moiser

Photo: Paul Moiser

With 89.9 million passengers in 2015, Beijing Capital didn’t quite do enough to reach Atlanta as was expected. Nevertheless, the mega Chinese hub is still set to be replaced by an even bigger airport in the coming years.

3. Dubai International, UAE

Dubai Airport © Dubai Airports

Much was made of the news that Dubai became the busiest international airport in 2015. It also rose three places to become the third busiest airport overall thanks to its excellent airline links and the size of Emirates Airline.

4. Chicago O’Hare International, IL, USA

By Curimedia (Boeing 747-4B5 Korean Air HL7492) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Curimedia (Boeing 747-4B5 Korean Air HL7492) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to a new runway Chicago O’Hare was able to rise three places as it dealt with congestion and overcrowding. The American and United hub is the second busiest in the USA and is still seeing growth.

5. Tokyo Haneda, Japan

Tokyo Haneda HND

With 75 million passengers, Tokyo’s busiest airport is Haneda, which has grown in recent years thanks to new international slots being unlocked which now brings many additional passengers every yer.

6. London Heathrow, UK


The biggest loser in this year’s list. Formerly the busiest international airport in the world, Heathrow is still the busiest in Europe with 74.9 million passengers. It has dropped from third place in this year’s list.

7. Los Angeles International, CA, USA

Los Angeles LAX

Los Angeles LAX

Another airport to fall in the list, LAX was fifth in 2014 but now resides in seventh position. Despite this, the Californian hub still saw a rise in passenger numbers over the previous year thanks to new routes, larger aircraft and infrastructure developments.

8. Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok, China


More than 68 million passengers passed through Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok in 2015 – up 8.2% on the previous year. It retains its position as the world’s busiest cargo airport.

9. Paris Charles de Gaulle, France

Paris CDG

Paris CDG Terminal 1. Photo (c) Dmitry Avdeev

The second busiest airport in Europe with 65 million passengers. However, its hopes of surpassing Heathrow are not yet realised – partly due to a downturn in traffic at the end of the year because of terrorist threats. It slips one place.

10. Dallas Fort Worth, TX, USA

Dallas Ft Worth

Rounding off the top ten is the American Airlines mega-hub at Dallas Forth Worth in Texas. It saw 64 million passengers, but slipped one place from ninth in the 2014 list.


There are no major surprises in the list. However, it has been anticipated for a couple of years that Atlanta will relinquish its top spot to Beijing, Dubai or Chicago O’Hare. This has not happened, but 2016 could be the year we see this change.

For London Heathrow the effects of being close to capacity (and no decision yet on a third runway) has seen its rank drop as other, larger airports see year-on-year growth.



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