The start of travel recovery marked 2022. With it, a worldwide chaos brought on by airports and airlines not being able to cope with the sudden surge in demand as Covid-19 restrictions were scrapped around the world. While the aviation sector is overall not back to pre-pandemic levels, the increase in demand can be clearly seen in passenger traffic at the world’s airports.
Airports Council International (ACI) World has published the latest World Airport Traffic Dataset, confirming the return of international traffic and the prevalence of US airports in the top rankings. The council has also revealed the 20 busiest airports in the world, ranking from over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories.
Airports have once more proven their resiliency as reflected in the key findings from the ACI World Airport Traffic Dataset.Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General
“In the face of cost pressures and tight labour markets, the world’s airports continue to serve the public’s thirst to travel by air. (…) Airports and aviation stakeholders must continue to focus wholeheartedly on building a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable air transport system fit to welcome the doubling of passengers that will travel through our doors in the next two decades”, said ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira.
ACI collects airport traffic every year through its global network of airport operator members, investors, and aviation stakeholders. The dataset allows users to filter through accurate and reliable numbers that can be segmented on a regional, national, and airport level and by traffic type.
Global total passengers surpassed 6.6 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 43.8% from 2021 or a recovery of 72.5% compared to 2019 levels, with the top 20 airports representing 18% of global traffic (1.2 billion passengers).
From the top 20 rankings, 10 airports are in the US, almost all having significant domestic passenger shares (between 75%–95%), while the biggest jump was recorded for Heathrow Airport, leaping from the 54th to the 8th place as all travel restrictions were lifted by the UK Government in March 2021 after two years of impediment.