Airports Council International (ACI) World has published its preliminary ranking of the world’s busiest airport in 2023, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International again topping the list.

The airport welcomed more than 104 million passengers last year, significantly ahead of Dubai International which served just under 87 million.

Dallas Fort Worth was third with around 82 million passengers, with London Heathrow in fourth place – as previously reported the London hub served 79.2 million passengers in 2023.

Tokyo Haneda jumped from 16th place in 2022 to fifth last year, welcoming just under 79 million passengers.

In terms of the busiest airports for international passengers, Dubai International took top spot, followed by London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris CDG and Singapore Changi.

ACI World also reported that global passenger numbers reached nearly 8.5 billion last year, just under 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Domestic traffic reached 96.8 per cent of 2019 levels while international traffic lagged behind at 90.4 per cent, but the latter saw significant growth of 36.5 per cent compared to 2022.

Last month ACI EUROPE released its traffic report for January 2024, showing international passenger volumes reaching 2019 levels for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

European airports’ international passenger traffic reaches pre-pandemic levels

Commenting on the news 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 ten 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.

“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.”