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2023’s Busiest Airports and Routes Revealed

Travel industry data platform OAG has revealed 2023's busiest airports and routes, showing a continually uneven post-pandemic recovery slope across different regions.

Aircraft at ATL Airport (Photo: Shutterstock)

According to OAG, a leading data platform for the global travel industry. U.S. airports once again dominated the world’s busiest airports list in 2023; the figures include domestic and international flights, based on seat capacity. After over three years of the pandemic, some international hubs are also not out of the woods.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is again crowned the busiest global airport with 61 million seats. The capacity at Atlanta has increased by 12% year-over-year and is just 3% below 2019. Followed closely after is Dubai International Airport as the second with 57 million seats. The capacity in Dubai has increased by 5% compared to 2019.

Japan’s Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport is in third place with 52 million seats. London’s Heathrow Airport is fourth with 49 million seats and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport ranked fifth with 48 million.

Denver and Los Angeles International Airport are ranked 6th and 8th respectively. Dubai and Dallas/Fort Worth have surpassed 2019 levels in the top five list.

Busiest International Hubs

In addition, the data shows New York’s JFK Airport offers more international connections than any other U.S. airport.

OAG also unveils the busiest international airports, which are calculated using international airline capacity only.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) is crowned the busiest international airport with 57 million seats in 2023. Dubai was also the busiest international airport in 2022 and 2019. London Heathrow Airport is the second busiest with 47 million seats. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the third with 37.2 million seats. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is the fourth with 36.7 million seats and Singapore Changi Airport is 5th place with 36 million seats.

Dubai is the only airport that has surpassed 2019 levels in the top five busiest international airports list.

A flydubai Boeing 737 departs from Dubai International (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hisham Qadri)

Meanwhile, OAG data reveals the busiest European airports, which are using the total airlines’ domestic and international capacity in Western Europe. European airports are left behind after the pandemic as Munich Airport has dropped by 26% in capacity compared to 2019.

London Heathrow Airport is ranked number one with 49 million seats followed by Istanbul Airport with 46 million. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport ranked 3rd. Istanbul is the only airport to see an increase in the top 10 list, compared to 2019. Amsterdam and Munich are ranked 4th and 5th respectively.

Busiest Route in 2023

Honolulu – Kahului is the U.S.’s busiest domestic flight with 3.6 million seats, only 3% more than Atlanta – Orlando in second place with 3.5 million. Las Vegas – Los Angeles ranked third with 3.49 million seats.

Los Angeles to San Francisco was the busiest route in the U.S. but in 6th place with 3.1 million in 2023.

Kuala Lumpur – Singapore was the busiest international route in 2023 with 4.9 million seats, and Cairo – Jeddah is in second place with 4.8 million seats. New York’s JFK Airport to London Heathrow is ranked 8th, the only international route originating in the U.S. featured in the Top 10 list.

Jeju International – Seoul Gimpo Airport is the busiest global domestic flight route with over 13 million seats. Sapporo New Chitose – Tokyo Haneda became the second with almost 12 million.

OAG also reveals Beijing Capital Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao is the busiest domestic airline route in China with 8 million seats.

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