As bustling as airports already are, they’re about to get even more so, if analysts are correct.
Although air travel isn’t off to a great start this year, largely due to airlines canceling flights on fears of the coronavirus spreading further outside China, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts 2020 to be strong in terms of travel demand. The IATA estimates 4.72 billion passengers will fly – up 4 percent from an estimated 4.54 billion in 2019.
The 10 busiest airports have remained largely unchanged for the past several years, according to Airports Council International (ACI) data. Also unchanged is the massive growth in demand out of China. The world’s second busiest airport for many years now, Beijing Capital International, grew capacity an amazing 5.4 percent in 2018, while number nine on the list, Shanghai Pudong International, grew even faster at 5.7 percent.
As I wrote about last week, Chinese New Year is one of the busiest travel times of the year, with some 79 million passengers expected to take flights, up more than 8 percent from a year earlier. China is home to the world’s largest middle class, and along with India, incomes are rising and more people than ever are able to afford domestic and international travel.
Indira Gandhi International Airport is close to cracking the top 10 list, sitting at number 12 right now with almost 70 million annual travelers.
Here are the 10 busiest airports in the world, ranked by the annual number of passengers served in 2018, the latest available data.
10) Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
72.2 million passengers
Named for the former French general and president, Charles de Gaulle Airport was completed in 1974 and has been the second-busiest airport in Europe for many years. Terminal 1 is known for its unique rotunda design, encircled by seven satellite buildings. The airport serves as the principal hub to Air France and is a major European hub for Delta Air Lines.
9) Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
74 million passengers
Shanghai Pudong is one of two airports in the major Chinese city. Pudong focuses mainly on international flights, while Shaghai Hongqiao International serves more domestic and regional flights. Pudong is a fast growing hub, increasing capacity by 5.7 percent year-over-year, and is the number two airport for total international air freight traffic, with nearly 3 million metrics tonnes of freight loaded and unloaded in 2018.