Source: Airports Council International. Note: In millions of passengers.
The world’s 20 largest airports each handle traffic of over 50 million passengers per year. The growth of an airport is the outcome of two processes. The first is the growth of the demand generated by the region surrounding the airport. This can be related to an improvement in the GDP per capita as well as a growing tourism industry. The second is the use of the airport as a hub by one or more major airlines. Several of the largest passenger airports have experienced a stabilization of their traffic following the 2009 financial crisis, but the growth of many airports resumed afterward. The largest absolute growth involved Beijing (PEK), with its traffic quadrupling between 2000 and 2018; the airport now ranks as the world’s second-largest. The growth of Dubai and Istanbul is also impressive since both airports have become major hubs with national airlines expanding aggressively.