Featured Image: Atlanta International Airport

The Busiest International Airports in April 2024

DALLAS — The aviation industry continues its climb in April 2024, with passenger traffic surging gradually as we enter the peak season.

In April, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) maintained its position as the world's busiest airport, but other airports around the globe also experienced exciting changes. 

In this post, we dive deeper into the latest traffic data as reported by OAG, to see how the busiest airports are performing.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-900 arriving at ATL. Photo: Rohan Ramalingam/Airways

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) retained its crown as the busiest Global airport, handling 5.2 million seats in April 2024. Holding steady at the top, this figure represents a 3% increase in capacity compared to the previous month.

This indicates a strong and consistent demand for air travel through ATL, solidifying its position as a major global hub. Serving as a major hub for Delta Air Lines (DL), ATL plays a pivotal role in connecting passengers to destinations worldwide. 

Some other notable airlines operating out of ATL include Southwest Airlines (WN), United Airlines (UA), American Airlines (AA), Frontier Airlines (F9), and Spirit Airlines (NK).

Concourse A is part of the Terminal 3 complex used exclusively by Emirates and Flydubai. Photo: Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport

Hot on Atlanta's heels is Dubai International Airport (DXB) with nearly 4.9 million seats offered in April alone. As a key international transit hub, DXB continues to attract visitors and transit passengers from across the globe, despite experiencing a 22% decline in international seats compared to the previous month. 

Nevertheless, DXB's location in the Middle East, modern infrastructure, and extensive connectivity contribute to its success in the face of challenges.

Tokyo Haneda serves as a hub for both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Tokyo Haneda International Airport

Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) offered 4.5 million seats in April 2024. As a gateway to Japan, HND plays a crucial role in facilitating both domestic and international travel. 

With a significant presence of prominent carriers such as Japan Airlines (JL) and All Nippon Airways (NH), HND offers extensive connections within Asia and beyond.

British Airways Airbus A380 at London Heathrow. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport (LHR), the busiest airport in Europe handled 4.3 million seats in April.

With carriers like British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic (VS) at its helm, LHR remains a pivotal gateway to the United Kingdom and beyond.

Photo: DFW

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) served 4.1 million seats in April 2024. As a major hub for American Airlines (AA), DFW plays an instrumental role in connecting passengers across the United States and long-haul routes.

Additionally, Frontier Airlines (F9) and Spirit Airlines (NK) contribute to DFW's large pool of domestic destinations.

Photo: Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport

In April, IST emerged as a standout performer, experiencing a remarkable 10% increase in capacity compared to the previous month. IST's surge in seats per day highlights its growing networks and significance as a global aviation hub, with Turkish Airlines (TK) spearheading its expansive network.

Capitalizing on the start of the IATA Summer Season, IST witnessed a significant surge in capacity, gaining a position among the busiest airports. 

Multiple China Southern Airlines parked at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Photo: Guangdong Airport Authority

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) handled 4.0 million seats in April. As a vital gateway to southern China, CAN facilitates hundreds of domestic and international routes, contributing to the region's economic development and connectivity.

The airport serves as a major gateway to South China, and with China's growing role in the global economy, CAN is expected to maintain its position as a major aviation hub in the coming years.

Denver International Airport (DEN) Aerial View. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport (DEN) also served close to 4.0 million seats in April. DEN serves as a hub for UA, offering connections to various domestic and international destinations. Other notable airlines operating to and from DEN include WN, F9, AA, and DL.

Photo: ORD

Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) follows closely behind DEN, serving 3.9 million seats in April. ORD added 7% more seats per day compared to the previous month and this increase reflects ORD's growing importance as a major hub, with carriers such as AA and UA offering their extensive network.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport serves as a hub for as many as ten airlines including Air China. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) rounds out the busiest airports globally in April 2024 with over 3.8 million seats offered. This reflects a significant jump from its 29th-place ranking in 2023. 

This surge highlights China's gradually recovering aviation industry and PVG's role as a major gateway to Eastern China.

| 2024 Ranking | Airport Name | Seats | 2023 Ranking | | :----------- | :------------------------------------------------- | :-------- | :----------- | | 1 | Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport | 5,207,792 | 1 | | 2 | Dubai International Airport | 4,879,128 | 2 | | 3 | Tokyo Haneda International Airport | 4,460,693 | 3 | | 4 | London Heathrow Airport | 4,253,739 | 4 | | 5 | Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport | 4,110,577 | 6 | | 6 | Istanbul Airport | 4,007,397 | 5 | | 7 | Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport | 4,004,202 | 7 | | 8 | Denver International Airport | 3,992,502 | 8 | | 9 | Chicago O'Hare International Airport | 3,858,108 | 9 | | 10 | Shanghai Pudong International Airport | 3,851,669 | 29 |
Emirates Boeing 777 Banking after take-off. Photo: Ryan Scottini/Airways

Busiest International Airports by Seats in April

In April, Dubai International Airport (DXB) maintained its stronghold as the world's busiest international airport, serving 4.9 million seats. 

Despite a decline in international seats compared to the previous month, DXB remains a crucial transit hub, attracting travelers with its extensive connectivity and state-of-the-art facilities. Thanks to the strong presence of Emirates (EK) in Dubai. DXB serves as a home base for EK, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), offering a vast network of international connections and handling tens of thousands of transit passengers everyday.

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 approaching LHR. Photo: Ervin Eslami/Airways

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) holds the second position but with a significant gap of 22% fewer seats compared to DXB. While LHR remains a major international airport, DXB has established itself as a clear leader in international traffic. 

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) continues its impressive performance, handling over 3.3 million international passengers. SIN's strategic location in Southeast Asia makes it a crucial hub for connecting flights across the region and beyond.

KLM Boeing 777 departing from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Photo: Rohan Ramalingam/Airways

Multiple European Airports Lead

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) witnessed a notable rise this month, with a 7% increase in seats. Yet another SkyTeam hub airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) experienced the most significant growth in international traffic this month. 

Paris CDG added 9% more seats and climbed to greater heights, showcasing a positive outlook for the French aviation sector. Istanbul Airport (IST) also experienced significant growth in capacity, adding 8% more seats per day in April. With Turkish Airlines (TK) as its home carrier, IST offers seamless connections between Europe, Asia, and beyond.

Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) also witnessed a 7% increase in daily seats. As a key aviation gateway in Germany, FRA facilitates international travel to and from Germany, with carriers such as Lufthansa (LH) catering to tens of thousands of passengers.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 arriving at HKG. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Rounding off the Busiest International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) round off our busiest international airports. HKG served 2.7 million seats, whereas DOH served 2.6 million seats in April.

Both of these airports serve as a key gateway in their respective region, with Cathay Pacific (CX) leading at HKG and Qatar Airways (QR) leading at DOH. 

| April 2024 Ranking | Airport Name | Seats (Total) | April 2023 Ranking | | :----------------- | :------------------------------------------ | :------------ | :----------------- | | 1 | Dubai International Airport (DXB) | 4,879,128 | 1 | | 2 | London Heathrow Airport (LHR) | 3,993,917 | 2 | | 3 | Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) | 3,313,663 | 6 | | 4 | Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) | 3,308,636 | 3 | | 5 | Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) | 3,237,639 | 8 | | 6 | Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) | 3,174,013 | 4 | | 7 | Istanbul Airport (IST) | 3,157,843 | 5 | | 8 | Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) | 2,949,319 | 7 | | 9 | Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) | 2,741,731 | 12 | | 10 | Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) | 2,623,564 | 9 |
American Airlines Boeing 777 at LHR. Photo: Ervin Eslami/Airways

Busiest European Airports in April

In April, the busiest airports in Europe remained unchanged in terms of ranking compared to March 2024. However, this doesn't signify inactiveness among these hub airports.

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) continues to lead the pack among European airports with over 4.2 million seats offered in April. This reflects a 3% growth from the previous month, indicating a gradual increase in passenger traffic through London.

Istanbul Airport (IST) follows closely behind with 4.0 million seats. As mentioned earlier, IST's significant rise exemplifies the impact of the IATA Summer Season on European travel.

Air France operates the majority of its long-haul routes from CDG. Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways

IATA Summer Season

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) sits comfortably in third place with over 3.4 million seats. CDG's impressive growth in international traffic positions it as a major hub in Europe, especially due to the strong presence of SkyTeam members.

The start of the IATA Summer Season spurred significant seat increases for some European airports. Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) saw the most dramatic rise, adding 20% more seats and landing in the eighth position. This surge suggests a rise in demand for travel to and from Italy during the peak season.

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN), Munich International Airport (MUC), and London Gatwick Airport (LGW) also experienced substantial growth in seat capacity in April, solidifying their spots in the top 10 busiest European airports. LGW’s growth can be attributed to the expansion of routes and flight frequency by British Airways (BA) and easyJet (U2). 

Vueling Airbus A320 at Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

This growth signals a positive outlook for travel within Europe as the summer season progresses. However, as compared to other Global airlines, European airlines still seem to suffer from employee strikes time and again.

| April 2024 Ranking | Airport Name | Seats (Total) | April 2023 Ranking | | :----------------- | :----------------------------------------------- | :------------ | :----------------- | | 1 | London Heathrow Airport (LHR) | 4,253,739 | 1 | | 2 | Istanbul Airport (IST) | 4,007,397 | 2 | | 3 | Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) | 3,455,877 | 3 | | 4 | Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) | 3,309,036 | 4 | | 5 | Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) | 3,276,937 | 5 | | 6 | Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas Airport (MAD) | 3,107,717 | 6 | | 7 | Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN)| 2,705,391 | 7 | | 8 | Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) | 2,577,395 | 8 | | 9 | Munich International Airport (MUC) | 2,252,430 | 10 | | 10 | London Gatwick Airport (LGW) | 2,065,864 | 9 |

As the aviation industry adapts to changing circumstances and prepares for the peak travel season, these individual airports' growth underscores the adaptation and dynamism of global air travel networks. By closely monitoring airport performance and trends, stakeholders can better navigate the evolving demand and seize opportunities for growth and innovation.

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