In order to rank airports, a variety of factors are used, including surface area and passenger traffic volume. Passenger traffic is defined as the number of people who travel through an airport in a certain period of time, which is typically one year in length.
These passengers can be either international (originating from outside of the country) or national (originating inside the country). About 1.1 billion people traveled through airports in the United States in 2019.
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Top 10 Busiest Airports in the United States
The number of passengers varies from airport to airport, with some handling tens of millions of people at a time.
The United States is home to four of the world’s busiest airports, ranking fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively. In an unusual twist, some of the largest airports in the nation are not necessarily the people with the largest surface area.
Here is a list of the busiest airports in the United States based on passenger traffic.
1. Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – 103.9 M
The main hall of Atlanta International Airport’s Hartsfield-Jackson. According to passenger traffic, it is the world’s largest airport in the country.
The main hall of Atlanta International Airport’s Hartsfield-Jackson. According to passenger traffic, it is the world’s busiest airport.
In terms of passenger volume, Atlanta Airport is the busiest in the US. Since 1998, it has held the title of being the world’s busiest airport.
In 2019, it served 104 million passengers, 20 million more than the next busiest airport. Maynard Jackson and William Hartfield, Georgia’s two past mayors, are commemorated at ATL, which is 11 kilometers from Atlanta.
Delta Air Lines’ hub and technical operations center are both located on a 19.02-square-kilometer site. It is a major international gateway to the United States, with the seventh-highest number of foreign travelers.
2. LAX (Los Angeles International Airport)
Los Angeles International Airport had 84.5 million passengers in 2019, making it the second busiest airport in the United States in terms of passenger volume. Outbound passengers made up around 51.2 percent of the airport’s visitors.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) serves Greater Los Angeles and is situated in the Westchester region of the city. It serves as an international port to the United States and offers foreign passengers links.
It has 9 terminals, four runways, and 132 gates and covers around 14 square kilometers. Mines Field Airport first opened its doors in 1930.
Read Also: Top 10 Busiest Airports In The World
3. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – 79.8 miles
With a total size of 30.9 square kilometers, O’Hare is the 7th biggest airport in the United States. Nonetheless, with 79.8 million passengers, it is the third busiest airport in terms of passenger flow.
Between 1963 and 1998, it had the most passengers of any airport in the nation. Over 220 destinations on all six inhabited continents are served by nonstop flights from the airport.
O’Hare handled over 920,000 passengers in 2019, or 2,520 passengers each day on average. Some of the top airlines, including American Airlines and United Airlines, use it as a major hub.
4. DFW Airport (Dallas/Fort Worth) – 75 M
Passengers await the Skylink train DFW at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, United States.
DFW Airports is the tenth busiest airport in the world and the fourth busiest in the United States. It covers 69.63 square kilometers and is halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.
The airport had 75 million passengers in 2019, the highest number in its 45-year history. It flies to moreover 250 locations, the vast majority of which are domestic.
In 2019, DFW Airport served around 35.9 million outgoing passengers, with 31.2 million of them flying domestically. There is a fire department, a Zip Code, police, and emergency services available at the airport.
5. Denver International Airport (DEN)
The Denver International Airport has lengthy lineups of passengers.
Denver International Airport is the biggest airport in the United States and the third-largest airport in the world, behind only King Fahd Airport Terminal and Beijing Daxing International Airport.
It is the 7th largest airport in the world and covers 135.7 square kilometers. With 61 million tourists in 2019, DIA is the 5th busiest airport in the United States.
Outbound passengers accounted for 33.9 million of the airport’s billion annually million passengers, with 96 percent of them being domestic. Since its inception in 1995, the airport has served 215 different destinations.
6. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) – 61 M
With 61 million passengers, JFK Airport is the 20th busiest airport in the world and the sixth busiest in the United States. JFK is the busiest international airport in North America.
It was formerly known as The New York International Airport. The airport is in Queens, about 26 kilometers from Manhattan’s central business district.
JFK Airport, which opened in 1948, is served by over 90 airlines and offers direct flights to all six continents. Two legacy airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, as well as JetBlue’s operational base, use the airport as a hub. There are 131 doors in six passenger terminals.
7. SFO (San Francisco International Airport) is a 56-mile-long airport located in San Francisco, California.
After Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco is the state’s second busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic.
Nonetheless, with 56 million passengers, it is the busiest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area. Outbound passengers made up around 49% of those that traveled via SFO. San Francisco International Airport is 21 kilometers to the south.
It serves flights to all parts of North America and is a significant international gateway to Asia and Europe. SFO is the hub of Alaska Airlines and the fifth-biggest hub of United Airlines. It has four runways that create a cross shape.
8.McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS) – 51 M
McCarran International Airport is the largest international airport in the United States.
Harry Reid International Airport is an 11.3-square-kilometer facility located roughly 8 kilometers south of Las Vegas. It was built in 1942 and first used for flights in 1948.
In 2019, LAS was the eighth busiest airport in the United States, with 51 million passengers. It is the busiest airport in the United States that serves no airline as a hub.
Several airlines, notably Frontier Airlines, Allegiant Air, and Southwest Airlines, use the airport as a base. The runways have initially been asphalt. However, they have since been rebuilt with concrete.
9.SEA (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) – 50 miles
Seattle Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington, USA, Alaska Airlines
Seattle’s primary commercial airport, Sea-Tac Airport, is located in the city of Seattle. It’s in SeaTac City, around 23 kilometers from downtown Seattle and 29 kilometers from Tacoma.
In Portland (US) and Vancouver (Canada), SEA is Cascadia’s major airport (Canada). Many cities in Europe, Oceania, Asia, the Middle East, and North America are served. Alaska Airlines’ central hub and Delta Airlines’ international gateway to Asia are located at the airport.
In 2019, around 50 million passengers traveled through SEA, making it the ninth busiest airport in the United States. The airport is ten square kilometers in size.
10. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) – 46 M
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is the tenth largest airport in the United States, with 46 million passengers.
Charlotte Municipal Airport (CLT) was established in 1935. When the airport was initially built, it was named after Charlotte’s mayor, Ben Elbert Douglas. In 1982, the airport received its current name.
CLT is a military and commercial airport situated about 10 kilometers south of Charlotte. It is the busiest airport in the United States, with 46 million people passing through.
It is the hub of American Airlines, which flies to over 149 locations with 700 flights each day. One air terminal, four runways, and 115 gateways are available at the airport.