10 Busiest Airports in the World

People around the world have started to travel again after COVID slowed things down significantly in 2020. As an avid traveler myself, I thought it would be interesting to round up the ten busiest airports in the world. Some of them were obvious (looking at you, Atlanta!), but I was really surprised at just how many them are in China. It will be interesting to see what this list will look like in 2021 with travel back on the rise. Use the NEXT button below to navigate through the top 10.

10. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (Shanghai, China)

With over 31.1 million travelers in 2020, Shanghai’s airport comes in at number ten on our list. The number of passengers was actually down 30%+ after seeing more than 45 million passengers travelling through in 2019.

9. Kunming Changshui International Airport (Kunming, China)

Kunming’s airport saw 32.9+ million travelers in 2020, making it the ninth busiest airport in the world. This was a big jump from 2019 where it was only the 37th busiest, even though there was a 30%+ decrease in passengers. Pretty impressive for a city that many people have likely never heard of!

8. Denver International Airport (Denver, Colorado)

COVID must not have kept people from wanting to ski and hike, because Denver saw 33.7 million passengers in 2020. The airport was undergoing extensive renovations too, making it even more impressive that they were able to claim the number 8 spot.

7. Beijing Capital International Airport (Beijing, China)

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) has historically been one of the top five busiest airports in the world, ranking number 2 in 2019. COVID took a massive toll on PEK’s traffic, which was likely due to the lack of business travel. This caused the number of passengers to drop 65% in 2020 with only 34.5 million travelers, making PEK the 7th busiest airport in the world.

6. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (Chongqing, China)

Another airport most people have probably never heard of, Chongqing Jiangbei International Aiport (CKG) saw 34.9 million passengers in 2020. CKG jumped from 48th busiest in 2019 to 6th busiest in 2020 thanks to more steady traffic than most hubs around the world during COVID.

5. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (Shenzhen, China)

Shenzhen is one of China’s largest cities and an international technology hub, so it’s no surprise that the airport saw 37.9 million passengers in 2020. Schenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX) jumped from 26th busiest in 2019 to 5th busiest in 2020.

4. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (Grapevine, Texas)

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) was the United States’ second busiest airport with 39.3 million passengers in 2020. DFW moved up from 10th busiest in 2019 to 4th busiest in 2020.

3. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (Chengdu, China)

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) saw 40.7 million passengers in 2020. Although it saw 27.1% fewer travelers in 2020 vs 2019, CTU was still the 3rd busiest airport in the world.

2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta, Georgia)

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) was previously the busiest airport in the world, seeing over 110 million passengers in 2019. COVID caused these numbers to drop 61% in 2020, with only 42.9 million travelers going through the airport. Still, this was enough for ATL to claim the number two spot.

1. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (Guangzhou, China)

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) claimed the number one spot for busiest airport in the world in 2020 with over 43.7 million passengers. CAN saw 73 million travelers in 2019, so these numbers are still down significantly. How far do you think CAN will drop in the rankings in 2021 with restrictions being lifted around the world?
About author
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Adam Ewing has worked as an Engineer for aerospace and steel manufacturers as well as a Consultant for an R&D tax credit firm. He currently works as an Implementation Consultant for a financial software company. Adam has a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama. His interests include traveling, cars, cooking, and triathlons. You can also find Adam on LinkedIn.

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