Large airport facilities (terminals, runways, parking areas, hangars, etc.) require a substantial amount of land, which in itself often leads to a dilemma between proximity to central areas and the availability of land. The above map depicts the world’s largest airport facilities in terms of hectares. This does not imply that the whole land is occupied, but that land may have been secured for future expansion, namely for new runways. Several American airports occupy large tracks of land, with Dallas / Fort Worth remaining the world’s largest airport in terms of surface. However, many mega airport terminal facilities have been established in developing economies, such as Dubai, Bangkok and Shanghai / Pudong.
Mega airport terminal facilities have also a density of utilization, which can be measured in passengers per hectare. The size of the airport does not necessarily correspond to a level of passenger density, but none of the largest airports have a density of more than 35,000 passengers per hectare and the majority are under 15,000 passengers per hectare. Evidence from more than 33 mega airports underlines that at around 25,000 passengers per hectare, an airport is starting to face congestion problems.