The Top 10 Busiest Airports Of 2022 – Simple Flying

Atlanta retains the crown!
As the end of 2022 nears, it is an excellent time to look at the world's busiest airports this year. Of course, it'll be a few months until the official full-year global passenger statistics are available from Airports Council International and IATA. Until that is available, I look at the 'busiest' regarding flights, seats for sale, and available seat miles. Each measures something different, and each provides a different perspective. For comparison, I've included numbers for 2021 and pre-pandemic 2019.
The top 10 by this measure are as follows, based on OAG data. Not surprisingly, the top seven airports are all within the US, with Atlanta, Denver, and Charlotte all higher ranked than in 2019.
Notice JFK, Delhi, and Istanbul, which are now in the top 10; they were previously much lower. They've replaced Beijing Capital, Frankfurt, and London Heathrow. Not that the 'new entrants' have more flights than before: JFK's services are down by 2% this year versus 2019, Delhi's by 7%, and Amsterdam's by 19%.
Rank
Airport
2022 departing flights
2021 ranking
2019 ranking

1
Atlanta
348,000
1
2

2
Chicago O'Hare
337,000
2
1

3
Dallas Fort Worth
315,000
3
3

4
Denver
296,000
4
5

5
Los Angeles
239,000
6
4

6
Charlotte
227,000
5
7

7
New York JFK
211,000
29
19

8
Delhi
206,000
16
17

9
Istanbul Airport
196,000
30
21

10
Amsterdam
193,000
33
10

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Atlanta is first by seat capacity, precisely as you'd expect. But this category has seen much change over 2019. No longer is Beijing Capital in the top 10 (it was second). Nor are Shanghai Pudong, Frankfurt, or Hong Kong. They'll slowly reappear in the coming years.
Notice Denver. It was the world's fourth airport by this metric, up from 21st in 2019, because capacity jumped by 4%. It was the only airport of the global 10 by seats to have grown seats this year, despite the big ranking rises of some others.
Ranking
Airport
2022 departing seats
2021 ranking
2019 ranking

1
Atlanta
54.9 million
1
1

2
Dubai
45.3 million
13
3

3
Dallas Fort Worth
43.3 million
2
13

4
Denver
41.3 million
3
21

5
Chicago O'Hare
41.2 million
5
7

6
Tokyo Haneda
41.1 million
11
4

7
London Heathrow
40.5 million
37
6

8
Los Angeles
39.8 million
6
5

9
Istanbul Airport
39.3 million
19
15

10
Delhi
38.8 million
10
18

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ASMs are a standard aviation industry measurement. They mean one seat flown one mile. For example, a 250-seat aircraft flying 1,000 miles would have 250,000 ASMs. It is one way of gauging airline output.
Aircraft size and distance disproportionately influence the results of this measure, as is evident from the top 10 list, with no Atlanta, Dallas, or Denver, despite their vast activity, including routes. Instead, major global airports feature, led by Dubai. Notice how the first five have returned to their pre-pandemic order but that four of the remaining five weren't in the top 10 in 2019.
Ranking
Airport
2022 departing ASMs
2021 ranking
2019 ranking

1
Dubai
107.4 billion
2
1

2
London Heathrow
99.0 billion
8
2

3
Los Angeles
87.7 billion
1
3

4
New York JFK
86.6 billion
3
4

5
Paris CDG
70.8 billion
9
5

6
Doha
66.8 billion
4
13

7
Istanbul Airport
62.5 billion
11
19

8
Frankfurt
61.8 billion
12
10

9
San Francisco
57.9 billion
17
11

10
Chicago O'Hare
57.5 billion
6
16

Which of the airports mentioned in this article have you flown to/from this year? Let us know in the comments.
Route Development Analyst – James lives and breathes route development. Educated in Air Transport Management at Loughborough and Cranfield, James was Market Opportunity Analyst at London Luton Airport and Chief Analyst at anna.aero. Now writing data-driven analysis for Simple Flying. Based near London, UK.

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