Airports are wonderful things, aren’t they? They give us duty-free shopping, which in my opinion is reason enough; however the main advantage is that airports generally mean holidays. Of course, they also mean business trips, but travel in general is never a bad thing. Whenever I’m heading to the airport, it’s generally with a smile on my face and dreams of my upcoming holiday.
Whilst airports may be a passing means to an end, they also employ thousands of people, all working to make sure their passengers’ travel plans go without a hitch, which is a lot of people when you consider the largest airports in the world see millions people pass through every year.
So just which airports are the busiest, and what makes them so grand?
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Consistently named the busiest airport in the world since 1998, based on passenger traffic per year. Hartsfield-Jackson is the hub for large US airline Delta, with both domestic and international flights connecting in the airport, which goes a long way to explaining some of the traffic that passes through. Due to its hectic nature (with over 95 million passengers in 2012!), the airport has a huge 207 gates within the building, again serving domestic flights throughout the US, and international flights to far-flung destinations.
2. Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Capital is the busiest airport in the whole of Asia, so it’s no surprise that it’s also the fifth largest building in the world, based on area, to accommodate the number of passengers attending every year. Three large terminals serve both international and domestic flights.
3. London Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport is home to a huge five terminals, sprawling over a large area and it is also the busiest airport in the EU. The largest number of international passengers pass through Heathrow, compared to any other airport in the world, with the majority of flights heading out being international, as opposed to domestic. There’s no sign of it getting any less busy either!
4. O’Hare International Airport, Chicago
As with most large US airports, the majority of flights heading out and into the terminals are generally domestic, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is also the hub for United Airlines. Chicago is also the fourth busiest airport in terms of international flights too – giving you some idea of the amount of traffic per year.
5. Tokyo International Airport
One of two airports within this huge city, Tokyo International Airport is also known commonly as Haneda Airport, and deals with the majority of domestic flights within the area. It is also the second busiest airport within Asia. If you want to take-off on time, this is also the best airport for you to be heading out of, as it was voted most punctual airport for two year’s running by Forbes Traveller!
When you think of the amount of air travel around the world within the space of 12 months, the number of people passing through any given airport is astounding. With two US airports in the top five, it’s not surprising to hear that most of these flights are internal, thanks to the huge distances between major cities and the relatively low cost of flying these days.
Will you be visiting any of the top five busiest airports this year?