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Which airports are the biggest?

What is the biggest airport in the world? It’s a question so many people have to answer. The answer might seem simple, but it’s more complex than you think, and for anyone starting out with data in Travel Retail, understanding the basics of airport rankings in the world and how we work them out can be very helpful.

What kind of size counts?

Obviously, we are not talking about the largest airport in the world by sheer surface area – that would be King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia (77,600 hectares). No, in this case we are talking about the number of passengers that use an airport.

But the question of which airport in the world handles the greatest number of passengers isn’t entirely simple either.

International, Domestic or Total Passengers

When you take a flight, you have two options: to fly within the country you are already in, or to fly out of the country you are in. In other words, to fly domestically, or internationally.

Many airports offer facilities for flights internationally and domestically. Some only offer international flights, and others only domestic. Each airport generally has more of one kind of passenger (international or domestic) than the other.

Current Rankings

Many people focus on the highest performing airports in the world for international passengers, but it is important to understand the world’s airport rankings from every perspective:

Current Top Airport for International Passengers in the World


Current Top Airport for Domestic Passengers in the World


Current Top Airport for Total Passengers in the World



For more Travel Retail Data basics, get in touch with Air4casts about full access to our Newscast Magazine, our data packages or our Travel Retail Lab Training Programme.

the author

Sarah is the Air4casts Commercial Director. She writes on any and all topics, with a particular focus on Nationalities and Profiling.

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