Airport security can be such a hassle. Those long lines for baggage and body checks may take time and can be demeaning. This is especially true in airports that serve a lot of passengers. We cannot complain about it however as it is for our own protection. All we can do is bear with it and grin.
The following airports serve out the heaviest load of passenger traffic. Here are the top ten busiest airports in the world. Their IATA Airport Codes are included, as well as the number of passengers served for the first seven months of 2012.
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL/KATL) – Atlanta, Georgia, United States – 55,868,147 passengers
Known variously as Atlanta Airport, Hartsfield Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson, the airport is about seven miles to the south of the city’s central business district. It has had the greatest amount of passenger traffic since 1998. It is a focus city of Southwest Airlines, and is also the site of the world’s largest airline hub, serving Delta Air Lines and Express Jet, the connection partner of Delta. It has 207 domestic and international gates.
2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK/ZBAA) – Chaoyang, Beijing, China – 46,950,904 passengers
This is the main international airport that serves the Chinese capital of Beijing. It is located 20 miles northeast of the capital’s center. Its IATA airport code is still based on the Romanized name of the capital, Peking. The airport is owned and operated by the government-controlled Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited.
3. Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL) – London, United Kingdom – 40,194,949 passengers
Heathrow is located in West London and is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the whole of the European Union in terms of passenger traffic. It is also the busiest airport in the world when it comes to serving international passengers. Heathrow is the flagship in London’s airport system that includes Gatwicck, Southend, Stansted, Luton and London City. It is estimated to contribute around 2.7 percent to the city’s economy.
4. O’Hare International Airport (ORD/KORD) – Chicago, Illinois, United States – 39,070,976 passengers
Variously known as O’Hare Field, Chicago Airport or Chicago International Airport, the airport is located in the northwestern corner of the city, 17 miles away from the center. The airport is the second largest hub of both United Airlines and American Airlines.
5. Tokyo International Airport (HND/RJTT) – Tokyo, Japan – 37,142,196 passengers
Tokyo International Airport is also called Haneda Airport and is located around 8.7 miles south of Tokyo Station. It used to handle most of the domestic flights to and from Tokyo, with Narita handling the majority of the international flights. A dedicated international runway was opened in 2010, which led to a dramatic increase in the number of international flights, as Haneda used to handle only special charter flights to Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei. The number if expected to rise even further as the Japanese government plans to expand the airport’s international role.
6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) – Los Angeles, California, United States – 37,129,716 passengers
Los Angeles International Airport is located in southwestern Los Angeles about 16 miles away from the city’s downtown area. The airport serves as the gateway to the Pacific Rim, with its heavy load of flight operations, passenger traffic and air cargo activity. It is the busiest airport in the entire West Coast of the country.
7. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG) – Roissy en France, Ile de France, France – 35,746,812 passengers
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is also known as Roissy Airport. It is one of the world’s primary aviation centers and it is also the largest airport in France. It also serves as the principal hub of Air France. It is considered as the busiest airport in Europe in terms of aircraft movement and the second busiest in the continent in terms of cargo traffic.
8. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW/KDFW) – Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, United States – 34,175,500 passengers
The airport is situated between the Texan cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. It is used as the primary hub by American Airlines, and it is considered the fourth busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movements. It is the second largest airport in the United States in terms of land area, after the Denver International Airport in Colorado. The area is so large that the airport has its own zip code and public services.
9. Frankfurt Airport (FRA/EDDF) – Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany – 33,187,170 passengers
Frankfurt Airport is the busiest airport in the world in terms of number of international destinations being served, with 275 destinations in 111 countries. It is considered as the busiest airport in Europe in terms of cargo traffic. The airport’s space greatly expanded when the United States closed down a major air base located at the airport’s southern end. The air base, called the Rhein Main Air Base, shut down in 2005. Fraport, the transport company that runs Frankfurt Airport, then acquired it. Frankfurt Airport also serves as the main hub of the German flag carrier Lufthansa and of Condor Flugdienst. As the airport is already bursting at its seams, Lufthansa has also opened a secondary hub in the airport in Munich, where medium and long-haul flights are available.
10. Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK/WIII) – Cengkareng, Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia – 33,095,953 passengers
Also called Cengkareng Airport, the airport is located to the west of the capital of Indonesia called Jakarta. It was named after the country’s first president and vice president, Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta respectively. The airport began its operations in 1985, bringing with it all the domestic and international flights that were previously served by two separate airports. It has continuously expanded since then, with a second terminal opening in 1992, and a third terminal being added in 2009. It has been posting remarkable increase in passenger traffic, registering an 18.5 percent uptick in 2010, which is equivalent to 8 million passengers.