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Top 50 Airport Rankings

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) maintains its place as the world’s largest hub by passengers handled—more than 107 million in 2018. ATL was overtaken, however, by Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) as the busiest airport by aircraft movements. ORD increased the number of flights it handled in 2018 by 4.2% compared with the previous year, taking its total to more than 903,000, while ATL’s year-over-year increase was 0.7%.

ORD’s growth also earned it third place in the fastest-growing airports ranking by aircraft movements.

Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) was the world’s fastest-growing by passengers handled and aircraft movements. Other fast-growing airports included those, like BLR, in regions where demand for air travel is booming or where major airport expansions have increased capacity, such as Seoul Incheon International (ICN) and Istanbul, which switched locations from Ataturk to Istanbul New Airport (IST) in April.

Long-established hubs in more mature markets can also find ways to accommodate strong growth. Frankfurt International (FRA) increased the passengers and aircraft movements it handled by almost 8%, placing it in both top 10 fastest-growth rankings. And four US airports—ORD, Boston (BOS), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) and Denver (DEN)—are among the world’s fastest-growing by aircraft movements.

In China, Beijing Capital International (PEK) and Shanghai Pudong (PVG) continue their steady growth, with PEK now the world’s second-largest airport in terms of passengers handled—almost 101 million in 2018. That capacity, combined with a 5.4% year-over-year growth rate, means it is getting closer to challenging ATL for the title of world’s largest airport, although the opening of a new airport in Beijing this fall will split capacity growth. 

And Dubai International (DXB), at 89 million passengers, has maintained its ranking as the world’s third-largest airport, with the United Arab Emirates benefiting from being both a destination in its own right as well as a major connecting hub. 

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