Preliminary data reveals the strengthening of Asia-Pacific and Middle East hubs alongside perennial US leaders

Montreal, 15 April 2024 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has today unveiled the highly anticipated preliminary top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2023, showcasing significant shifts driven by the resurgence of international air travel.

The global total passenger forecast for 2023 stands close to 8.5 billion, reflecting a remarkable recovery of 93.8% from pre-pandemic levels. Notably, international traffic recovery drew nearer to that of domestic traffic, emphasizing its essential role in propelling the industry’s resurgence and expansion.

The influx of passengers at international airports has been central in bolstering the recovery of hubs reliant on this segment, consequently influencing the composition of the top 10 busiest airports for total passengers.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said, “Global air travel in 2023 was chiefly fuelled by the international segment, propelled by several factors. Among these were the anticipated benefits from China’s reopening and a growing inclination towards travel despite macroeconomic conditions. While perennial leaders from the US continue to dominate the top 10 busiest airports for passengers, notably Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport retaining its number one position, there are notable shifts. Dubai International Airport jumped to second rank for the first time, while Tokyo Haneda International Airport witnessed a remarkable ascent from 16th position in 2022 to 5th in 2023. Additionally, the unwavering strength of Istanbul and New Delhi airports keep them in top ranks, marking significant progress over 2019.

“Notably, cargo continues to play a key role in world commerce despite the year-over-year decrease. Hong Kong International Airport has maintained the top position, followed by Memphis International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Doha International Airport rejoins the top 10, jumping to number 8 with a growth of 6.3% over 2019.

“The rankings highlight the crucial role these transportation hubs play in global connectivity, commerce, and economic development. Airports continue to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability amidst the challenges posed by the ever-evolving landscape of global travel. ACI World remains dedicated to advocating for airports worldwide throughout pivotal stages of policy formulation and to advancing the pursuit of airport excellence.”

Airport rankings are based on data gathered from over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories globally. This vast dataset places ACI World in a distinctive position as the foremost authority on airport travel demand, ensuring the utmost accuracy and reliability in its rankings.

Passenger traffic highlights

  • Preliminary figures indicate that the 2023 global total passengers’ figure is close to 8.5 billion, representing an increase of 27.2% from 2022 or a recovery of 93.8% from pre-pandemic results (2019).
  • While the domestic market grew by 20.2% (or a recovery of 96.8% of the 2019 level), the international market drove recovery with a 36.5% growth rate (or 90.4% of the 2019 level).
  • The top 10 airports representing close to 10% of global traffic (806 million passengers), witnessed a gain of 19.8% from 2022 or a gain of 0.7% vis-à-vis their 2019 results (801 million pax in 2019).
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport holds onto the top rank and is followed by Dubai International Airport for the first time, surpassing Dallas Forth Worth International Airport in third position.
  • From the top 10 rankings for total passenger traffic, 5 airports are in the US.
  • The biggest jump in the top 10 rankings is recorded for Tokyo Haneda, leaping from 16th position in 2022 to the 5th spot in 2023.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is set to host the 2024 ACI World Customer Experience Summit and Exhibition, from 23 to 26 September in Atlanta, USA.

Cargo traffic highlights

  • Air cargo volumes are estimated to have decreased by 3.1% year-over-year (-4.6% versus 2019), to close to 113 million metric tonnes in 2023.
  • Air cargo volumes in the top 10—representing around 26% (29.6 million metric tonnes) of the global volumes in 2023—lost 3.5% in 2023 year-over-year. The decline can be attributed to the ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains.
  • Hong Kong International Airport remained in top rank followed by Memphis International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Anchorage Airport ranks 4th and is followed by Incheon International Airport in 5th.

Aircraft movements

  • 2023 global aircraft movements are close to 95 million, representing a gain of 11.8% from 2022 results or a recovery of 92.7% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The top 10 airports representing over 6% of global traffic (6 million movements), witnessed a gain of 7.4% from their 2022 results or a recovery of 96.4% vis-à-vis their 2019 results (6.2 million in 2019).
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is at the top, followed by Chicago O’Hare Airport in second, and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in third.

About ACI

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, is a federated organization comprising ACI World, ACI Africa, ACI Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, ACI EUROPE, ACI Latin America and the Caribbean and ACI North America. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2024, ACI serves 757 members, operating 2109 airports in 191 countries.

Editor notes

  1. Learn more about ACI World.
  2. Join us at the 2024 ACI World Customer Experience Summit and Exhibition.

Media contacts      

Sabrina Guerrieri 
Director, Communications  
ACI World 
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254 

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