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ACI World: Top 10 Busiest Airports for 2023

DALLAS — ACI World, the Airports Council International, has recently revealed the preliminary rankings for the top 10 busiest airports globally in 2023.

These rankings demonstrate significant shifts influenced by the resurgence of international air travel. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has retained its position as the world's busiest airport.

Amsterdam-Schiphol Tower AMS EHAM. Photo: Adrian Nowakowsky/Airways

Recovery of International Air Travel

The global total passenger forecast for 2023 indicates a remarkable recovery, with passenger numbers expected to reach close to 8.5 billion. This reflects a recovery rate of 93.8% from pre-pandemic levels, highlighting the resurgence of the aviation industry. The recovery of international air travel has drawn closer to that of domestic travel, emphasizing its crucial role in the industry's expansion and recovery.

The influx of passengers at international airports has played a vital role in revitalizing hubs that heavily rely on international travel. As a result, the composition of the top 10 busiest airports for total passengers has been significantly influenced.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, the Director General of ACI World, explains that global air travel in 2023 was primarily driven by the international segment, propelled by factors such as China's reopening and an increasing desire to travel despite macroeconomic conditions. While airports in the United States continue to dominate the top 10 rankings, there have been notable shifts.

  • Dubai International Airport (DBX) has jumped to the second rank for the first time, while Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) witnessed a remarkable ascent from 16th position in 2022 to 5th in 2023.
  • Istanbul (IST) and New Delhi (DEL) airports have also made significant progress, maintaining their top ranks and showcasing their growth since 2019.

The rankings also highlight the continued significance of cargo in global commerce, despite a year-over-year decrease. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) maintains its position as the top cargo airport, followed by Memphis International Airport (MEM) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). Additionally, Doha International Airport (DIA) rejoins the top 10, experiencing a growth of 6.3% over 2019.

These rankings underscore the crucial role that transportation hubs play in global connectivity, commerce, and economic development. Despite the ever-evolving landscape of global travel, airports continue to demonstrate resilience and adaptability. ACI World remains committed to advocating for airports worldwide and promoting airport excellence through policy formulation and industry advancement.

Tables: ACI World

Passenger Traffic

  • The global total passengers figure for 2023 is close to 8.5 billion, representing an increase of 27.2% from 2022 and a recovery rate of 93.8% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The domestic market saw a growth rate of 20.2%, recovering 96.8% of the 2019 level.
  • The international market drove the recovery with a growth rate of 36.5%, recovering 90.4% of the 2019 level.
  • The top 10 airports, which represent close to 10% of global traffic (806 million passengers), experienced a gain of 19.8% from 2022 or a gain of 0.7% compared to their 2019 results.
  • ATL remains the top-ranked airport, followed by DXB, surpassing Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the third position.
  • Five airports from the United States are included in the top 10 rankings for total passenger traffic.
  • Tokyo Haneda made the biggest jump in the rankings, moving from the 16th position in 2022 to the 5th spot in 2023.
Tables ACI World

Aircraft Movements, Cargo Traffic

  • Global aircraft movements in 2023 reached close to 95 million, representing an 11.8% increase from 2022 and a recovery rate of 92.7% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The top 10 airports, which account for over 6% of global traffic (6 million movements), experienced a gain of 7.4% from their 2022 results or a recovery rate of 96.4% compared to their 2019 levels.
  • ATL is the top-ranked airport for aircraft movements, followed by Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) in second place and DFW in third.
  • Air cargo volumes are estimated to have decreased by 3.1% year-over-year (-4.6% versus 2019), reaching close to 113 million metric tonnes in 2023.
  • The top 10 airports, which represent around 26% (29.6 million metric tonnes) of global volumes, experienced a 3.5% decline in 2023 year-over-year. This decline can be attributed to ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains.
  • HKG remains the top-ranked airport for cargo, followed by MEM, PVG, Anchorage Airport (ANC), and Incheon International Airport (ICN).

One last note, ATL has been selected to host the 2024 ACI World Customer Experience Summit and Exhibition. The event will take place from September 23 to 26 in Atlanta, US.

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