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World's Busiest Airports

Can you name the cities that are served by the world's 50 busiest airports?
Based on # passengers, 2018. Source.
Quiz by relessness
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Last updated: October 24, 2019
First submittedAugust 20, 2012
Times taken89,083
Rating4.68
8:00
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#
City
107 m
Atlanta
101 m
Beijing
89.1 m
Dubai
87.5 m
Los Angeles
87.5 m
Tokyo (Haneda)
83.3 m
Chicago
80.1 m
London (Heathrow)
74.5 m
Hong Kong
74.0 m
Shanghai (Pudong)
72.2 m
Paris
71.0 m
Amsterdam
69.9 m
Delhi
69.8 m
Guangzhou
69.5 m
Frankfurt
69.1 m
Dallas
68.4 m
Seoul
68.2 m
Istanbul
#
City
66.9 m
Jakarta
65.6 m
Singapore
64.5 m
Denver
63.4 m
Bangkok
61.6 m
New York (JFK)
60.0 m
Kuala Lumpur
57.9 m
Madrid
57.7 m
San Francisco
53.0 m
Chengdu
50.1 m
Barcelona
49.9 m
Mumbai
49.9 m
Las Vegas
49.8 m
Seattle
49.5 m
Toronto
49.3 m
Shenzhen
47.7 m
Mexico City
47.7 m
Orlando
#
City
47.2 m
Kunming
46.6 m
Taipei
46.4 m
Charlotte
46.4 m
London (Gatwick)
46.3 m
Munich
46.0 m
New York (Newark)
45.8 m
Moscow (Sheremetyevo)
45.0 m
Miami
44.9 m
Phoenix
44.7 m
Xi'an
44.5 m
Manila
44.5 m
Sydney
43.8 m
Houston
43.6 m
Shanghai (Hongqiao)
43.0 m
Rome
42.6 m
Tokyo (Narita)
+6
level 73
Aug 21, 2012
haa....i get shenzhen but miss chicago
+3
level 58
Aug 21, 2012
wow, I get jakarta and kuala lumpur but not chicago or orlando
+2
level 83
Dec 13, 2013
I got Chengdu and Shenzhen but missed Amsterdam and Barcelona.
+2
level 77
Jan 12, 2014
I also got Chengdu and Shenzhen... missed Barcelona and Las Vegas.
+2
level 37
Mar 16, 2014
I hear you, the only cities I managed to miss were Vegas and Orlando.
+1
level 77
Apr 12, 2014
and this time around got all of those, but missed Minneapolis and Munich.. high score still 48.
+1
level 77
Jul 30, 2014
Also, Barcelona's airport doesn't hold a candle to Singapore's.
+2
level 77
Jan 3, 2015
Months later... took it again, finally got 50/50 this time. 1:33 left.
+1
level 76
Oct 31, 2015
Do people seriously rate airports on how good they are?
+3
level 77
Nov 13, 2015
+1
level 66
May 4, 2016
For sure. I hate the Toronto airport, possibly because familiarity breeds contempt, but I thought the Atlanta airport was actually quite nice.
+2
level 73
Sep 12, 2017
As a structural engineer, I rank my airports by how cool the architecture/engineering looks. The Raleigh/Durham airport and the Detroit airport are pretty sweet.
+2
level 60
Sep 21, 2017
Detroit is very nice, but Minneapolis is the best! No, I'm not from Minnesota or Michigan.
+1
level 77
Nov 3, 2017
2 years later... only missed the one that 93% missed. That one came out of nowhere.
buck: I think you'd probably like the airport at Incheon.
+1
level 44
Nov 16, 2017
I see a lack of southern hemisphere presence...pretty much just Sydney and Jakarta! They represent 12 percent of the global population but only 4 percent of the airports on this quiz, lol.
+2
level 51
Dec 8, 2017
What about Darwin airport? It's so busy that it costs $150 for 3 weeks parking. Can't believe it didn't make the list!
+2
level 74
Dec 8, 2017
Darwin is around 2 million, nowhere near this list. There are plenty other airports that look super busy but they still have less passengers than top 50.
+1
level 28
Nov 13, 2015
Great banter
+1
level 30
May 27, 2016
I got Shenzhen and Kuala Lumpur but missed Mexico City and New York!
+1
level 67
Aug 3, 2017
I got Minneapolis and Taipei but missed Mexico City, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Denver, etc. :/
+1
level 54
Sep 15, 2017
Missed Paris, got Chengdu, pretty stupid
+1
level 59
Nov 4, 2017
I got Doha but missed Chicago and Vegas. The human brain is a funny thing. The most obvious answer is sometimes the hardest to remember.
+1
level 30
Dec 8, 2017
Same! Kunming? Isnt there population 2 million
+1
level 70
Dec 8, 2017
Amsterdam only has 800.000 and is top10. It's not always about the size it is also about the logistics around the airport
+2
level 62
Dec 8, 2017
I got London and NYC but missed Chengdu and Kunming...
+1
level 41
Aug 21, 2012
That's annoying first time round I put Gatwick, Heathrow, jfk and new ark and none came up so I ended it and then realised it was by city
+2
level 26
Jan 4, 2013
can you accept "New Delhi" for "Delhi"?
+1
level 44
Feb 9, 2013
Seconded.
+2
level ∞
Nov 12, 2015
New Delhi will work now
+2
level 33
Nov 13, 2015
Which is a problem, because the airport is in South West Delhi, a neighboring district to New Delhi. These are only two of a number of districts in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. So if you're going to use something besides Delhi, it should be South West Delhi, not New Delhi.
+2
level 66
May 4, 2016
I imagine this is about what city it serves. technically the Toronto airport is in Mississauga, but no one is going to guess Mississauga. and there's also the fact that it's called Toronto Pearson. anyway, my point is that it doesn't matter if the Delhi airport is in south west Delhi, it serves the city which is called Delhi.
+1
level 77
Jan 29, 2013
In the news today: http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/dubai-airport-traffic-jumps-13-pct-2012-overtakes-113122824--business.html I guess this is about international passengers, not total passengers. Because according to this Dubai is #3 and Hong Kong is #4.
+1
level 12
Mar 11, 2013
haha, my city number 1!!!
+2
level 77
Jul 30, 2014
For some of these (Atlanta, Charlotte) it helps a bit to know about the American hub system that airlines use and which cities the major airlines designate as hubs because the amount of traffic those cities receive doesn't correlate to the size of those cities.
+1
level 71
May 4, 2017
Ditto for international hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai etc
+1
level 61
Nov 4, 2017
Atlanta is still one of the biggest cities in the US.
+1
level 77
Nov 19, 2018
^yeah. But it's not the biggest city in the world.
+1
level 70
May 9, 2013
Wish I'd had more time.
+2
level 29
Apr 13, 2014
Airport codes should be acceptable answers.
+1
level 29
Apr 15, 2014
I got all but Barcelona, Munich and Chengdu XD
+1
level 6
Apr 26, 2014
could you accept LA for los angelas
+1
level 23
Nov 16, 2015
mhm
+1
level 28
Oct 25, 2014
I missed Alanta! Doh
+1
level 39
Nov 28, 2014
i've been to 14
+2
level 77
Dec 8, 2014
I've used 23 of these airports before. Though when I can I prefer to drive. Atlanta, Heathrow, Haneda (and Narita), O'Hare, LAX, Dubai (and Sharjah), Paris, Hong Kong, Changi (best airport in the world), Amsterdam, Denver (layover only), Bangkok, JFK, San Francisco, Charlotte (layover), Seoul (Incheon and the smaller one actually in Seoul), Houston, Delhi, Gatwick (I think, maybe it was Stansted), Orlando, SeaTac, and Manila (all 4 terminals! Some are better than others. :P).
+1
level 83
Nov 13, 2015
To date, I've flown to or through 18 - JFK, Newark, Paris, LAX, Chicago, Rome, Miami, SFO, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, Dubai, Frankfurt, Houston, Seattle, Denver, Vegas, and Orlando.
+1
level 74
Nov 22, 2016
Wow I flew to/from 10 of them, quite a lot considering I don't fly much around the world: LAX, JFK, Denver, Dallas, Madrid, Barcelona, Heathrow&Gatwick, Frankfurt, Moscow. And a visit to Istanbul airport.
+1
level 77
Nov 29, 2016
I've since been to the airport in Moscow several times. So 24...
+1
level 77
Apr 6, 2017
And now I've been to Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome, so I've been to 50% of these.
+1
level 77
Nov 3, 2017
Recent layover in Kuala Lumpur and I'm at 26.
+1
level 55
Dec 8, 2017
Ok, no need to brag
+1
level 77
Dec 8, 2017
Do people brag about their layovers? :D
+1
level 74
Dec 8, 2017
No new ones for me this year (from top 50), but 3 are booked for next year :)
+1
level 66
Sep 24, 2018
I've been through 23 so far and I have plans that will take me to four more within the next year.
+4
level 77
Nov 19, 2018
^ see? Clearly we're not bragging. This guy's name is "Modestus"
+1
level 69
Nov 2, 2019
38 for me. Hence my Jetpunk bame
+1
level 52
Mar 8, 2015
Can someone tell me why Atlanta is so busy? Like what's so important about Georgia?
+4
level 47
Mar 8, 2015
Atlanta is the main hub airport for Delta, which is the second largest airline in the world (haven been overtaken recently by American Airlines when it merged with US Airways). It is situated between the the North East, Texas and Florida which together account for about a third of the United States' population. As a result, Delta often uses Atlanta for lay overs for many of its domestic and international passengers. It's also why airports such as Charlotte and Denver have such busy airports compared to their city sizes - they're used as hubs.
+3
level 76
Nov 13, 2015
Sometimes it almost seems as though one cannot fly anywhere in the US without a layover in Atlanta.
+8
level ∞
Nov 13, 2015
Unless your final destination is Atlanta. Then you'll have to connect in Phoenix.
+1
level 58
Nov 15, 2015
^ Haha! Ain't it the truth.
+1
level 56
Dec 8, 2017
I was going to ask the same thing. From a British perspective, we generally catch flights to the US via NY, LAX, Vegas Baby, or Miami (those being the main tourist destinations). I don't think I've ever heard anyone I know fly to or via Atlanta, so it was a bit of a surprise to me how high up Atlanta was. You live and learn :-)
+1
level 54
Dec 8, 2017
I once had to go from Boston to Pittsburgh but the plane went from Boston to Atlanta, then back to Pittsburgh. Seems a bit unnecessary.
+1
level 80
Oct 30, 2019
Yeah I live in Virginia and I once took a trip to Naples, Florida. But I had to go to Boston first, then Florida. Airlines are weird.
+1
level 77
Nov 29, 2016
^mostly the hub thing. Also Atlanta is one of the most-visited cities in the United States. There are many business conferences and exhibitions there. And, though it is only the 13th largest city in America, it's still at the center of an urban area of 5.5 million people, and Americans fly a lot.
+1
level 51
Dec 8, 2017
Lots of things make Atlanta a good place for an airport. It's between eastern Canada and the Caribbean, so layovers happen there often. It's also well-placed for flights from New York and Pennsylvania. It's very large because Atlanta city space isn't at a premium (just look at Macy's), which means more planes can land and take off from there. Atlanta has large suburbs and most of the people who live in them commute to the city, meaning that they are used to noise pollution, so outcry is rare. The city is (relatively) near to other major ones, such as Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and (though further, still single-flight) Mexico City, Houston, and Austin. And Atlanta lies near numerous favourable air currents, speeding travel in and out (especially the Gulf Stream). None of these things alone makes a good airport, but the combination of them all is what made Hartsfield-Jackson so popular.
+1
level 55
Dec 8, 2017
Mainly that is has a massive, multi purpose hub for Delta. Atlanta is used for Trans-Atlantic connections, connections to Latin America, connections from the East Coast to Texas and the Southwest, connection from the East Coast to Florida (that's a big one), and direct flights to Atlanta (which is a large market considering tourism and business in a somewhat large metro area). Also, Atlanta has only one airport, compared to New York's seven. Lastly, Atlanta is in close enough proximity to many cities for a short flight (e.g. Charlotte, New Orleans, and touristy places in Florida), but not close enough for a short drive (like between, say, Boston-Bridgeport-New York-etc.)!
+1
level 77
Jul 22, 2019
Also I heard they have a lovely Hooters
+1
level 50
Apr 7, 2015
Hi everyone! Why not trying one of mine? I have the European version... :)
+1
level 58
Aug 26, 2015
I wonder what the Port Authority has been drinking, or at least what their source I don't understand the absence of some locations like Vancouver and Singapore.
+1
level 47
Oct 12, 2015
... Singapore is on the list, and Vancouver's Airport is smaller than Moscow (with is 50th)
+1
level 71
Jun 11, 2016
I suspect that most of the international traffic you'd expect to come in and out of Vancouver is already handled by Seattle, and because their so close, Vancouver just didn't try to replicate it. (Please note, that is just my personal theory, unsubstantiated by actual research.)
+1
level 74
Dec 8, 2017
Vancouver is around 22 million, still far from top 50
+1
level 60
Nov 13, 2015
Surprised Phoenix is so high - and I used it 4 times monthly for a couple of years!
+1
level 70
Nov 13, 2015
I got all but #2 and was wondering what city it could possibly be when I realized I mistyped Beijing.
+1
level 47
Nov 13, 2015
Don't forget to check out my Worlds busiest airport systems quiz. Looks at each cities combines airport passenger usage rather than just the individual airport.
+1
level 78
Nov 13, 2015
I only missed Minneapolis, and must have mispelled Sao Paulo because it was not validated though I tried it.
+2
level 63
Nov 13, 2015
Hi, I'm one of those morons in the 1% who forgot NYC. Derp.
+1
level 23
Nov 16, 2015
Congrats! I managed to get it ;)
+1
level 50
Nov 13, 2015
Newark is in NJ not NY.
+2
level 77
Nov 14, 2015
This isn't about the states that these airports are in, it's about which major cities these airports service.
+6
level 23
Nov 16, 2015
No Newark is in Nottinghamshire
+1
level 58
Nov 15, 2015
I was surprised Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro weren't on the list. Anyone know why? (Honest question; the cities are so big I would have assumed they'd have busy airports).
+1
level 77
Nov 16, 2015
I'm guessing because they're kind of at the southwesternmost edge of the map... there's probably not a lot of transit flights going through either city. I mean, flights that use the airport in Rio or Buenos Aires are probably almost exclusively flights that are terminating in or originating from those cities, as opposed to all of the top answers which are huge hubs of international travel with many millions of people using each airport simply for a layover on their way somewhere else (and also, with the possible exception of Dubai, giant cities in their own right).

Sao Paulo makes the list. But it's urban area population is twice that of Rio or Buenos Aires. If you cut the amount of traffic for Sao Paulo in half for these other cities then obviously they wouldn't be seeing as much traffic as Moscow.
+1
level 58
Nov 15, 2015
Of course all of the ones I missed are in the US...................................
+1
level 72
Nov 16, 2015
Where does Mecca come? I would have thought with the constant volume of pilgrims there would be a heap of flights to there.
+1
level 47
Nov 17, 2015
Mecca is served by Jeddah airport which handles 27 million passengers a year
+1
level 77
Nov 18, 2015
What relessness said. Mecca has no airport.
+1
level 83
Nov 18, 2015
Consider accepting St Paul for Minneapolis?
+1
level 37
Apr 6, 2016
I can never spell Kuala Lumpur...
+1
level 45
May 16, 2016
how did I miss Paris *facepalm*
+1
level 7
Jun 16, 2016
LAX??????????
+1
level 31
Jan 17, 2017
I missed London, I kept trying to put Heathrow.
+1
level 49
Feb 7, 2017
I got Shenzhen but I missed Amsterdam!
+3
level 42
Mar 29, 2017
*gets Charlotte* *misses Paris*
+1
level 57
May 25, 2017
Great quiz! Check also my new "Best airports of the World 2016" based on Lonely Planet survey.
+1
level 39
Jun 11, 2017
Missed a couple of obvious ones, after a while it just became an exercise in naming big cities!
+1
level 55
Aug 26, 2017
Should all codes. Lax, dxb, lhr etc
+1
level 67
Sep 10, 2017
very surprised at exclusion of Moscow and Sao Paolo . . .
+1
level 74
Dec 8, 2017
Moscow has 3 major airports, actually 3 busiest in Russia, and even so it almost makes the list. Here are the numbers for 2015:
Sheremetyevo 31.6 m
Domodedovo 30.5 m
Vnukovo 15.82 m
There's also Zhukovsky, new airport opened in 2016, with 4 million declared capacity.
+1
level 74
Dec 8, 2017
And there would've been a lot more without visa issues. St Petersburg is at only 13 million.
+1
level 43
Dec 15, 2017
Likewise for Sao Paulo - three international airports with a total of over 66 million - the busiest (Guarulhos) at 36.6 million just misses the list.
+3
level 76
Sep 23, 2017
That moment when you have loads of gaps left, and you suddenly realise you'd forgotten the entirety of Europe...
+1
level 45
Nov 4, 2017
surely just JFK should be accepted
+1
level 51
Dec 8, 2017
Saw an article yesterday about why Abu Dhabi has an F1 Grand Prix but Dubai does not. Wondered why they would both have one (being in the same country) until I say this quiz. It is kind of odd with the knowledge that Dubai has the third-largest airport in the world.
+1
level 51
Jan 9, 2018
*saw
+1
level 67
Dec 8, 2017
I knew Chicago wasn't the busiest airport in the world anymore, but I didn't realize it had fallen THAT far.
+1
level 65
Dec 8, 2017
The Pearl River Delta must have like 200 million combined. Mind blown,
+1
level 42
Dec 8, 2017
Can someone explain to me why "Canton" worked as an input for Guangzhou?
+3
level 49
Dec 9, 2017
Canton is an old name for the city of Guangzhou (and also the province of Guangdong).
+2
level 43
Dec 15, 2017
Which is why the IATA code is "CAN"
+1
level 77
Dec 11, 2017
Curiously Peking does not work for Beijing.
+1
level 58
May 22, 2018
41/50, got Kunming as well :D
+1
level 49
May 28, 2018
40/50 missed quite a lot, like Denver and Seattle...
+1
level 31
Jul 29, 2018
Moscow has three area airports and served ~76,000,000 in 2016 and ~89,000,000 in 2017. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_busiest_airports_in_Russia. Just Sheremetyevo alone was 40,000,000 in 2017.
+2
level 77
Jul 22, 2019
I think they were on the quiz previously. But the data used is from 2016 and the answers are single airports not airport systems.
+1
level 39
Apr 29, 2019
43/50.
+1
level 43
Jul 22, 2019
I got everything but Phoenix Vegas and Manila
+1
level 43
Jul 22, 2019
WTF
+1
level 41
Jul 27, 2019
Surprised that Atlanta's on top
+1
level 77
Sep 16, 2019
Has been for a long time. But Beijing will probably overtake it soon.