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Atlanta and Dubai See the Most Passengers in 2023

With travel demand reaching new post-pandemic highs, more flyers went through airports in Atlanta and Dubai than anywhere else in the world.
In 2024, the adage remains true: No matter where you go in the afterlife, you’ll have to connect through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).


Airports Council International – World announced their list of the top 10 busiest airports of 2023, with Atlanta once again taking the top spot for all travelers.


Atlanta Sees Gains from 2022, but Dubai Increased Compared to Pre-Pandemic

Atlanta has taken the top spot on the ACI World list since 2019, with passengers growing every year since the end of the pandemic. In 2023 alone, over 104 million flyers boarded and disembarked from aircraft at ATL, making it the busiest in the world. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), which was the second busiest in 2022, fell to third.


Taking Dallas’ place is Dubai International Airport (DXB), which saw growth compared to both pre- and post-pandemic. In 2023, nearly 87 million passengers enplaned and deplaned at the airport, a 31.7% increase from 2022, and nearly 1% more than 2019.


London Heathrow Airport (LHR) saw a 28.5% increase in passengers compared to 2022, moving up to the fourth spot internationally. Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) rounded out the top five with over 77 million passengers boarding and leaving aircraft – a 55.1% increase from 2022.


Where did all the passengers come from? Researchers at ACI World cite the reopening of China as a major factor, highlighting the increase travel demand from the Asia-Pacific region. The entire industry is also close to recovering passenger loads compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic: The global passenger forecast in 2023 was around 8.5 billion, reflecting a recovery of 93.8% of flyers.


“The rankings highlight the crucial role these transportation hubs play in global connectivity, commerce, and economic development,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Olivera said in a statement. “Airports continue to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability amidst the challenges posed by the ever-evolving landscape of global travel.”


Other U.S. airports among the top-10 busiest for passengers include Denver International Airport (DEN) in sixth, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in eighth, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in ninth.


Feature image courtesy: Nichika Yoshida via Unsplash

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