Airports are the main points of entry and departure for worldwide travelers. In recent years, the number of people air-traveling has increased significantly, leading to a substantial expansion in the aviation industry and the construction of larger and more modern airports around the world. Join us as we delve into the marvels, scale, and unique features of these Top 20 biggest airports around the world.
The evolution of airports
As the global demand for air travel continues to soar, the aviation industry has been compelled to adapt and expand to accommodate the growing number of passengers.
Top 20 biggest airports in the world
1 – King Fahd International Airport (DMM)
Among these international hubs, one stands out as the behemoth of aviation infrastructure. King Fahd International Airport, named after King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saudi, is renowned for its extraordinary size, covering a colossal land area of approximately 315 square kilometers.
This extensive expanse places it at the top of the world’s biggest airports. Its magnitude not only accommodates the airport’s extensive facilities but also provides ample room for future expansion and development, ensuring its continued prominence as a vital transportation hub in the region.
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2 – Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC)
Encompassing an area of approximately 140 square kilometers, Al Maktoum International Airport is a major aviation complex located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Serving as a central hub for the airline Emirates, it is an integral component of Dubai South, a significant urban development initiative, and was officially opened in 2010.
DWC stands out not only for its impressive size, designed to accommodate the growing demand for air travel in the region, but also for its strategic location as part of the Dubai World Central complex. DWC’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, including one of the longest runways in the world, positions it as a vital player in the global aviation industry, serving as a catalyst for economic growth and enhancing Dubai’s status as a major transportation and business hub.
3 – Denver International Airport (DEN)
Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, is a busy airport known for its exceptional size, covering approximately 136 square kilometers, making it the largest airport in the United States.
Its iconic design, featuring the distinctive white tent-like roof, reflects a deliberate effort to accommodate future growth while providing an efficient and spacious environment for travelers. Providing a range of facilities and serving as a hub for major airlines, the airport plays a crucial role in the region’s economy and offers a significant number of domestic and international flight options.
4 – Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL)
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is an iconic airport located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is renowned not only for its exceptional size, covering around 78 square kilometers, but also for consistently holding the title of the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger number and air-traffic.
ATL’s unique dual-terminal design and its prominent role as a major connecting point for travelers in the United States and worldwide are key aspects of its uniqueness. Its strategic location, serving as an important link for numerous destinations, makes it a significant driver of economic growth in the Atlanta metropolitan area and marks its prominence in the world of aviation.
5 – Istanbul International Airport (IST)
With a vast size that spans approximately 76.5 square kilometers, Istanbul International Airport stands as one of the biggest airports in the world. Its remarkable size allows the airport to handle a substantial number of passengers and flights, making it a pivotal gateway between Europe and Asia.
This airport is a state-of-the-art facility, featuring modern terminals, a wide range of amenities, and efficient transport connections within the airport. Its strategic location at the crossroads of two continents, combined with its immense size, positions Istanbul Airport as an important player in the global air travel industry.
6 – Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, located between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas, is a major transportation hub renowned for its huge size as it covers a vast expanse of approximately 69.63 square kilometers, standing as the second busiest airport in the world.
Providing five terminals and multiple runways, its size allows it to accommodate a large volume of passengers and a multitude of domestic and international flights. The airport features modern facilities, multitude dining and shopping options, and efficient transportation connections throughout its terminals. Serving as an important gateway to the southern United States, its strategic location and substantial land area contribute to its prominence in the industry of air travel.
7 – Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Orlando International Airport is an animated airport located in Orlando, Florida.
The airport covers an extensive area of approximately 53.8 square kilometers, making it one of the largest airports in the United States. This vast expanse accommodates a substantial number of travelers and a variety of airlines that connect passengers to various national and international destinations.
The airport provides high-end facilities, a multitude of shops and restaurants, efficient transport links and is also renowned for its art program, including an extensive collection of public art installations. Orlando Airport contributes to the economic growth of the area and enhances the travel experience for millions of international passengers annually.
8 – Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Washington Dulles International Airport, located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, is a prominent airport. Covering an expansive area of about 52.6 square kilometers, Dulles Airport also ranks among the biggest airports in the United States.
IAD is known for its iconic, modernist architecture, designed by Eero Saarinen, including the eye-catching mobile lounges. Serving as a primary international gateway to the nation’s capital, IAD connects travelers to numerous destinations. Its size and well-planned infrastructure contribute to its role as a pivotal transportation hub in the Washington, D.C. region, fostering economic development and facilitating international connectivity.
9 – Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX)
Beijing Daxing International Airport is a remarkable airport located in Beijing, China. Renowned for its notable size, this airport covers a vast area of approximately 47 square kilometers. This immense expanse makes it one of the biggest airports in the world, designed to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for air transport in the region.
Featuring a striking starfish-shaped terminal building and high-end facilities, PKX offers a seamless and modern experience for passengers. As a crucial transportation link in China and beyond, its features and infrastructure position Beijing Airport as a key player in the global aviation industry and a significant driver of economic growth in the region.
10 – George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Texas holds another place in the top 10 biggest airports in the world with the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Located in Houston, this expansive airport is known for its considerable size, covering an area of approximately 47 square kilometers.
What sets IAH apart is its remarkable Terminal A, often referred to as the “IAH Mickey Leland Terminal.” This terminal’s unique architectural design, reminiscent of an airfoil or a bird in flight, pays tribute to the region’s aerospace legacy. The travelers can explore a diverse collection of artworks and exhibits that highlight Houston’s culture and history. The George Bush Airport is not only a major transportation gateway but also a place to appreciate the rich heritage and innovative spirit of the Houston area.
11 – Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is a prominent airport located in Shanghai, China. Known for its impressive size and modern infrastructure, and covering a substantial area of approximately 40.6 square kilometers, it stands as one of the largest airports in Asia..
What sets PVG apart is its innovative Maglev train, which connects the airport to downtown Shanghai. This magnetic levitation train, the fastest commercial train in the world, offers passengers a fast ride, reaching speeds of up to 431 kilometers per hour. This innovation is a testament to China’s commitment to cutting-edge technology and enhances the overall passenger experience at Shanghai Airport, making it a gateway to the city that seamlessly blends tradition and innovation.
12 – Cairo International Airport (CAI)
Located in the capital of Egypt, Cairo International Airport is one of the ten busiest airports in the middle-east and has a unique blend of historical and modern functionality. With its 37.5 square kilometers, CAI is unique due to its rich historical context as it is one of the oldest airports in the world, with a legacy dating back to the early days of aviation.
The airport offers a gateway to the stunning historical sites and wonders of Egypt, making it an important entry point for tourists and a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage. This convergence of historical importance and contemporary travel infrastructure makes Cairo International Airport a distinctive and essential transport hub in the region.
13 – Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, is a remarkable airport. Covering an expansive area of approximately 32 square kilometers, it stands as one of the largest airports in Southeast Asia.
BKK stands out by its impressive terminal building, characterized by its grand and contemporary architectural design, featuring a wave-like roof. Inside, passengers can experience a multitude of cultural and artistic displays that showcase the country’s heritage. The airport also houses one of the world’s largest passenger terminals, making it an efficient hub for worldwide travelers. Suvarnabhumi Airport not only ensures a smooth travel experience but also offers a warm welcome to visitors arriving in the Land of Smiles.
14 – Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (CDG)
CDG stands out with its cutting-edge design and unique architectural features, including its remarkable Terminal 1, designed by renowned architect Paul Andreu, which is characterized by a futuristic circular structure. The airport also stands out for its impressive art collection, featuring works by renowned artists like Alexander Calder and Richard Serra.
Additionally, CDG is well-connected to various transportation options, including high-speed trains, making it a pivotal transportation hub for worldwide travelers.
15 – Madrid-Barajas Adolfo-Suarez Airport (MAD)
Located in the Spanish capital, Madrid Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Spain, covering an area of around 31 square kilometers. MAD is unique by its striking architecture, particularly in the newer Terminal 4, designed by renowned architect Richard Rogers. The terminal’s undulating roof and extensive use of natural light create a bright and spacious environment, enhancing the passengers’ experience.
As an important European gateway, Madrid Airport combines its size with innovative design to offer passengers both efficiency and a visually eye-catching atmosphere.
16 – Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Chicago O’Hare International Airport, located in the city of Chicago, covers an expansive area of over 29 square kilometers, which exceeds the surface area of Los Angeles Airport. It plays a pivotal role as a primary hub for American Airlines and United Airlines, and stands as the world’s fourth busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic.
Throughout the years, ORD has undergone significant expansions and renovations, solidifying its status as a major international airport and a key transportation hub in the United States. It plays a notable role in both domestic and international air travel, connecting millions of passengers to various destinations worldwide.
17 – Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
Salt Lake City International Airport is a noteworthy airport located in Utah. Covering a land area of about 28 square kilometers, its recently completed $4 billion reconstruction project has resulted in a modern and efficient infrastructure.
What sets SLC apart is its stunning backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains, offering travelers breathtaking views. This airport’s unique and picturesque setting along with its high-tech facilities, makes it a distinctive entry point for the visitors of Utah.
18 – Amsterdam-Schipol Airport (AMS)
Located in the Netherlands and covering around 27 square kilometers, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol stands out for its exceptional efficiency and connectivity.
What makes AMS unique is its Schiphol Plaza, a small shopping center situated within the airport, offering travelers shopping and dining options as well as cultural experiences, making it a vibrant and engaging space for passengers during their journey. This innovative and passenger-friendly approach solidifies Amsterdam Airport as a distinctive and welcoming international gateway.
19 – Beijing Capital Airport (PEK)
Beijing secures another spot among the world’s biggest airports with its second airport, Capital Airport, covering around 23 square kilometers. It stands out for its groundbreaking Terminal 3, which is one of the largest airport terminals worldwide.
This architectural marvel, designed by the renowned architect Norman Foster, impresses travelers with its grandeur and modern amenities. Additionally, PEK’s innovative approach includes extensive cultural displays, allowing passengers to explore the rich heritage of China during their journey.
20 – Frankfurt International Airport (FRA)
Lastly, located in Germany, Frankfurt International airport welcomes over 70 million travelers each year within its nearly 19 square kilometers.
One unique aspect of Frankfurt Airport is its status as a major global hub, connecting passengers to numerous destinations. Additionally, its efficient and modern design, including one of the world’s largest fully-automated baggage handling systems, ensures a seamless and pleasant travel experience.
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