On Monday April 11th, Airports Council International (ACI) World released the top 10 busiest airports in the world in 2021, showing encouraging signs of traffic recovery as many previous busiest airports rejoin the top ranks.
The global airport rankings are based on the preliminary compilation of 2021 global data from airports around the world. Due to ACI’s reach as the trade association for the world’s airports, the rankings reflect the most up-to-date airport data used by the industry and include passenger traffic, cargo volumes and aircraft movements.
We are cautious that recovery could face multiple headwinds, the momentum created by reopening plans by countries could lead to an uptick in travel in the second half of 2022Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General
Eight of the 10 airports with the busiest passenger traffic in the past year are in the United States and the other two are in China. All 10 have a significant share of domestic traffic, the traffic segment that has been leading the global recovery. The biggest improvement recorded was from Orlando International Airport, with 40.4 million passengers (+86.7%) jumping from 27th position in 2020 to seventh place in 2021.
Total global passengers in 2021 were estimated to have been close to 4.5 billion, representing an increase of nearly 25% over 2020, or a drop of more than 50% from 2019 results. Passenger traffic at the 10 busiest airports, which collectively account for nearly 10% of global traffic (463 million passengers), saw a 51.8% increase over 2020, or a 29.1% drop from their 2019 results.
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with 75.7 million passengers (+76.4%) is again at the top of the 2021 rankings, followed by Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, with 62.5 million passengers (+58.7%) and Denver International Airport, with 58.8 million passengers (+74.4%). After reaching the top spot in 2020, Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport, with 40.3 million passengers (-8%) fell to eighth position in 2021.
The ACI World passenger traffic rankings tell the story of an encouraging trend of recoveryLuis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General
Dubai International was again at the top of the ranking. It has, however, one of the lowest levels of traffic recovery versus 2019. Istanbul Airport rose to second, its highest ever, up from 6th in 2020 and 14th in 2019. The airport’s recovery continues to go up steadily, mainly thanks to Turkish Airlines’ solid recovery.
Cancún, the Mexican resort, saw a large influx of US travelers in 2021, up by three million. According to Simple Flying, it few restrictions and was quick, easy, and inexpensive to reach. Severals carriers grew, especially JetBlue, American, Spirit, Frontier, and Delta, with 111 routes in all.