Heathrow regains status as one of top 10 busiest airports in the world

With travel curtailed by Covid, Heathrow Airport had tumbled down the list  (EPA)
With travel curtailed by Covid, Heathrow Airport had tumbled down the list (EPA)

London Heathrow is once again one of the 10 busiest airports in the world after previously falling down the list as a result of the pandemic.

Having tumbled to number 54 in the global rankings after around two years of closure, Heathrow has now jumped back up to 8th place.

This was the biggest movement recorded by any airport, with the London hub seeing 61.6 million passengers pass through in 2022 – a 217 per cent leap on 2021 figures.

New data from Airports Council International (ACI) World shows the volume of global air travel recovered last year as Covid restrictions eased. Preliminary numbers show international passenger traffic rose by more than 50 per cent in 2022 to nearly seven billion, reaching almost three-quarters of the levels seen in 2019.

The report also notes that there were 89 million aircraft movements in 2022, up over 20 per cent on the previous year.

The top spot on the busiest airports ranking was retained by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International in Georgia, USA, which welcomed 93.6 million flyers.

Positions two to four also remained the same in 2022 as in 2021, with an all-American showing of Dallas/Fort Worth (73.4 million passengers), Denver (69.3 million) and Chicago O’Hare (68.3 million).

The other new entries into the top 10 are Dubai, UAE; Istanbul, Turkey; New Delhi, India; and Paris, France.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director general, said: “The new top 10 busiest airports for passenger traffic reflects the resilience of the airport and aviation industry, and the eagerness of passengers to travel by air.

“While US airport hubs were able to recover quicker due to their strong domestic market, we are now witnessing global hubs joining upper ranks, including Dubai, Istanbul, and London Heathrow.”

He added that the “the latest rankings represent an important milestone in reaching pre-pandemic levels” and that the reopening of China, the second largest aviation market after the US, will push numbers higher.

World’s busiest airports in 2022

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 93.6 million passengers

  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 73.3 million

  3. Denver International Airport: 69.2 million

  4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport: 68.3 million

  5. Dubai International Airport: 66 million

  6. Los Angeles International Airport: 65.9 million

  7. Istanbul Airport: 64.2 million

  8. London Heathrow: 61.6 million

  9. Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi: 59.4 million

  10. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: 57.4 million

(Total passengers boarding and disembarking)