Source: Data compiled by TravelCodex. The data for each airport is normalized by the total number of departing seats per hour on a scale from 0 to 1. A value of 1 is given to the peak hour (largest number of departing seats) for each airport and the other hourly values are calculated as fractions of this peak.
An overview of the hourly activity level in selected airports reveals distinct patterns related to their connectivity. An airport acting as a hub (the airport as an intermediary location) will have several noticeable surges of activity during the day. A gateway airport (the airport as an origin and destination) will have less pronounced surges. Surges at hub airports are often characterized by several inbound flights arriving within a timeframe, and about 2 hours later, a surge of outbound departures can be observed.
For most airports, there is a peak of activity around 8 AM and another peak around 8 PM, which mostly corresponds to short-haul flights and preferences for passengers to depart in the morning and return in the evening.
Large East Asian airports tend to have the same activity level throughout the day; Beijing (PEK) and Tokyo (HND) are distinct gateways. Due to regulatory restrictions, many European airports have no activity between midnight and 5 AM and jointly act as gateways and connectors.
In North America, New York (JFK) is mainly a gateway with low pronounced surges in the morning and the evening, with another surge late in the evening, corresponding to transatlantic departures. Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD) are important domestic hubs with four main daily surges.
The case of Dubai (DXB) underlines its role as an intercontinental and regional hub with four distinct surges, including one around 2 AM, which is not present in most airports. This corresponds to the departure of long-distance flights bound to Europe, North America, and East Asia.