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Top 10 Biggest Airports in The World in 2022

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Md Ainul Haque Pramanik
Md Ainul Haque Pramanik
Senior Online Journalist at Business Insider Bangladesh. Previously he worked at The Daily Star, The Independent and The Bangladesh Today.

An airport is one of the major communication gateways to travel from one country to another quickly. It plays an important role in boosting tourism growth and a country’s national and international trade relations. It also helps attract business to a community, creates job opportunities, increases revenue, and ensures the economic prosperity of a nation.

Besides, an airport is considered a key issue for the first impression of a country or a city. It is also called a magnet for business and trade. An airport is important for a country because it provides local businesses with access to the global market.

In recent years, the pressure on airway passengers is continually increasing.  So, many countries have started to enlarge their airports with new terminals and runways.

The demand for flights has increased rapidly in recent years, except for the last two years when the coronavirus pandemic struck. But even so, many countries have been expanding their airport’s scopes and nature considering them as business hubs.

Keeping it in mind, we are curious to find out which are the biggest airports in the world in 2022. We will discuss here the top 10 largest airports in the world that can accommodate thousands of travelers and land hundreds of airplanes daily.

Do you know the top ten largest airports in the world in which country?

Take a look at the list of the top 10 biggest (land wise) airports in terms of area and size.

  1. Suvarnabhumi Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport is known as Bangkok Airport unofficially. It is one of the largest airports in Thailand as well as in the world. This airport started operation in 2006, covering an area of around 32 square kilometres. It is one of the highest international airports in Southeast Asia and a territorial focal point for the aviation sector for Thai Smile, Thai Airways, Thai VietJet, and Bangkok Airways.

Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand

The airport has three major terminals and one and two terminals deal with international flights, while the terminal there serves only domestic operations. Suvarnabhumi Airport has two similar runways. The airport is also a key Cargo Air Freight Hub which has a designated Airport Free Zone and road links to the Eastern Economic Corridor on Motorway.

The name Suvarnabhumi is Sanskrit for the land of gold. It is literally golden land. The name was picked by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej whose name contains Bhūmi, implying the Buddhist golden kingdom, thought to have been to the east of the Ganges, probably elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Keep also know about the top 10 best places in the world for travelers.

  1. Cairo International Airport

Cairo International Airport is the prime airport in Egypt and busier in the North African countries. It covers around 37 square kilometers. Cairo Airport went into operation in full swing in 1963. It is now the biggest airport in Africa in terms of the presence of passengers from different countries.

Cairo International Airport
Cairo International Airport in Egypt

It serves as the initial hub for Nile Air, Egyptair, and several other airlines. The airport is situated in Heliopolis, northeast of Cairo about 15 kilometres or eight nautical miles from the business area of the city. It has an area of around 37 kilometers.

The airport is operated by the Egyptian Holding Company for Air Navigation and Airports. It also controls operations of the Cairo Airport Company, National Air Navigation Services, Aviation Information Technology, the Egyptian Airports Company, and the Cairo Airport Authority.

In 2004, Fraport AG won the supervision authority of the airport for eight years, with options to extend the deal twice in one-year increments.

ACE Moharram Bakhoum was the structural designer and construction supervision firm of the airport.

The terminal provides services including Departure Hall 1, Hall 3, and Hall 4 for special and noncommercial aircraft services.

As part of the recent upgradation and facilities development, the CAA dismantled the old Hall 3 to rebuild a new hall to be used as an international terminal.

Terminal 1 is locally considered an Old Airport. Though its facilities have recently been given a full overhaul and are newer than those of Terminal 2, which is still familiar as the New Airport. Don’t miss to know about the top 10 secret places on the earth prohibited for travelers.

  1. Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Pudong Airport is among the two international airports in Shanghai, China. The authorities began operation of the airport in 1999 which is a major aviation hub in East Asia. It covers a 40 square kilometers area. Pudong Airport is a rapid-growing hub for both passengers and cargo flights. It is the third-busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo traffic.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Pudong International Airport in China.

Both international flights and a smaller number of domestic flights are operated from the airport simultaneously.

Located around 30 kilometres east of the city centre, Pudong Airport occupies a total of 40 square kilometers or 10,000 acres of land near the coastline in eastern Pudong. The airport is run by Shanghai Airport Authority.

It is the main business centre for Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, a prime international business place for Air China, and a secondary midpoint for China Southern Airlines.

It is also the focal point for privately run Spring Airlines and Juneyao Airlines, and an Asia-Pacific cargo hub for FedEx, and DHL.

Pudong Airport had two major passenger terminals, defined on both sides by four operative parallel runways.

The third passenger terminal was launched in 2021. Additionally, a satellite terminal and two additional runways were added with it, which will enlarge its annual capacity from around 60 million passengers to around 80 million, with the capacity to deal with six million tons of freight.

With 3,703,431 metric tons dealt in 2017, the airport is the third-busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo trafficking.

Pudong Airport also handled a total of 74,006,331 passengers in 2018, making it the third-crowded airport in China after its capital Beijing and Hong Kong, the fifth-liveliest in Asia, and the eighth-occupied in the world.

Pudong is the busiest international business hub in China. Around half of its total passengers pass through the airport on international routes.

The airport is linked to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport by the Shanghai Maglev Train and Shanghai Metro Line 2 via Pudong International Airport Station.

  1. George Bush Intercontinental Airport

The original name is Houston Intercontinental Airport. It was renamed after George HW Bush, the 41st President of the United States in 1997. The authorities launched its operations in 1969. It is located around 23 miles or 37 kilometres north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and Interstate 69/US Highway 59 with straight access to the Hardy Toll Road expressway. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport has programmed flights to a great number of domestic and international destinies covering five continents.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Image by Tim from Flickr.

The airport covers around 44.5 square kilometres of area. It is a busier airport in Texas for international travelers and a number of international destinations and is the second busier airport in Texas overall. It is the 12th most crowded airport in the United States in terms of its total passenger traffic.

The airport covers around 10,000 acres or 4,000 hectares of land. It has five runways. The Houston Intercontinental is among the largest passenger hubs for United Airlines.

The airport is presently undergoing a $1.3 billion improvement programme called the IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program (ITRP).

The project under the programme is the construction of the Mickey Leland International Terminal which will merge what is today Terminal D and Terminal E into one central terminal including a departure, shared ticketing, and arrival hall.

Terminal D will be broadly renovated with a new concourse, Pier D West is now under construction.

The project is likely to be completed by late 2024 or early 2025. Future extension plans called for a Central D and East D pier to be constructed as the number of passengers is on the rise. On completion of the full project, it will be capable of handling 33 million airplanes international passengers annually.

  1. Beijing Daxing International Airport

Beijing Daxing International Airport is situated on the border of the Chinese capital and Langfang, Hebei Province. Its nickname is The Starfish. The airport was launched in 2019. It covers around 47 square kilometres of area. At present, it is the largest airport in Asia. It earned the best airport award for its hygiene arrangements in Asia-Pacific in 2020.

Beijing Daxing International Airport
Beijing Daxing International Airport.

The Starfish is one of two international airports serving Beijing, the other one being Beijing Capital International Airport. The construction work at the airport was finished on June 30, 2019, and it went on operation on September 26, 2019.

The airport is 46 kilometres south of Tiananmen Square, 26 kilometres west of downtown Langfang, 50 kilometres northeast of Xiong’an New Area, and 65 kilometres south of Beijing Capital International Airport. It serves Tianjin, Beijing, and Hebei. It is a focal point for SkyTeam alliance airlines and some Oneworld members. Most Star Alliance members have remained at Beijing Capital International, as has Hainan Airlines.

After around five years of construction, the $11.4 billion facility features a 7,500,000 square feet terminal, the world’s biggest single-building airport terminal, and sits on 18 square miles of land.

The airport gained the best airport award in terms of maintaining hygiene measures in Asia-Pacific by Airports Council International in 2020.

  1. Washington Dulles International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport is usually referred to as Dulles International Airport or Dulles Airport, or Washington Dulles or simply Dulles. It is located in Fairfax County and Loudoun County in northern Virginia, 26 miles west of the Downtown side of Washington DC in the USA. The airport covers 52.6 square kilometres. It was inaugurated for operations in 1962. It has been named after John Foster Dulles, the 52nd secretary of state of the USA, who served under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Washington Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport

The Dulles key terminal is a famous landmark created by Eero Saarinen, who also devised the famous TWA terminal, now turned into the TWA hotel at New York’s JFK airport. The Washington Dulles International Airport is now operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. It occupies around 13,000 acres of land straddling the Loudoun–Fairfax line.

The majority of the airport is in the unorganized community of Dulles in Loudoun County, with a minor part in the separate entity of Chantilly in Fairfax County. Dulles is among the three major airports in the bigger Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. It is considered the international air hub in the region, with dozens of constant international flights.

Dulles has the major global passenger movement of any airport in the Mid-Atlantic outside the New York metropolitan area, including around 90 percent of the passenger traffic worldwide in the Baltimore–Washington region. It had over 20 million passengers every year from 2004 to 2019, with 24 million embarkations in 2019.

On a usual day, over 60,000 passengers pass through the Dulles airport to and from over 125 destinations across the world. The increased domestic travelers from Reagan National Airport have scoured some of Dulles’s domestic routes. Nevertheless, in 2018, Dulles Airport exceeded Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in terms of yearly passenger boarding rate after having fewer travelers since 2015.

In addition, it still ranks behind Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in terms of total annual travelers boarding. Dulles is a key place for United Airlines. It is frequently being used by airlines which United has codeshare agreements with, mainly collected by Star Alliance members like Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.

  1. Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport is a bigger airport in Florida, USA. It began its journey in 1981 and covers 69.63 square kilometres. In 2019, it managed 50,613,072 passengers, making it a busier airport in the state. It emerges as the 10th most crowded in the United States in terms of passengers and land area.

Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport in Florida, USA.

The airport code MCO supports the airport’s previous name, McCoy Air Force Base, a Strategic Air Command initiation. It was shut down in 1975 according to a general military abatement following the conclusion of the Vietnam War. The airport serves as a business hub for Silver Airways, an operational base for JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, and a focus city for Frontier Airlines.

Southwest is the airport’s biggest carrier that carries a huge number of passengers. The airport is also a great international gateway for the mid-Florida area. Over 850 flights of 44 airlines land and take off at the airport daily. The airport also serves 135 international and domestic destinations. At 12,600 acres, MCO is one of the biggest airports in terms of land area in the United States. Additionally, the airport is home to a management base for United Airlines. The airport was also a business hub for Delta Air Lines in 2007.

  1. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

The airport is also known as DFW Airport. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is the primary international airport serving the Dallas-Fort Worth region in the United States of Texas. It is 69.63 square kilometres in size. This Airport began operations in 1973. It is the third-busier airport in the world in terms of aircraft movement and a fourth-busier in terms of travelers’ traffic in the year 2020, according to the Airports Council International.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Image by FASTILY from Wikimedia.

It is the biggest hub for American Airlines. It is the ninth-bustling international gateway in the US and the second-lively international gateway in Texas. American Airlines at DFW is the second-largest single airline hub in the glove and the US, behind Delta Airlines’ business hub in Atlanta. Situated approximately halfway between the main cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW overflows across portions of Dallas and Tarrant counties. It includes portions of the cities of Euless, Irving, Coppell, and Grapevine.

At 17,207 acres or 6,963 hectares, 27 square miles, the DFW is bigger than the island of Manhattan. It is a second-larger airport in terms of land area in the United States after Denver International Airport. The airport has its own post office and its ZIP Code is 75261. Apart from it, the airport has its police forces, firefighting teams, and emergency medical services unit. As of June 2022, the DFW Airport served 28 scheduled airlines at 260 destinations across the world. In peerless, 200 destinations, the DFW joined a small group of airports across the world with the distinctions.

In April 2022, the DFW Airport was ranked as the second-busiest airport in the world handling around 62.5 million passengers in 2021. On May 20, 2019, the DFW airport and American Airlines jointly announced a plan to build a sixth terminal to expand the scope and nature of the airdrome. The proposed project is estimated to cost $3 to $3.5 billion. It was expected to be completed by 2025.

In addition, 24 new gates to Terminal F and refurbishment of Terminal C are designed to take place, as it is the final terminal that has not been upgraded in recent years. The new depot aims to provide the region with the growth it needs to finish with international business centers, according to the authorities of the DFW Airport

  1. Denver International Airport

The airport is typically known as DIA. It was opened in 1995. The DIA is located in Colorado, the United States of America. It covers about 135.7 square kilometres of area. The airport is a major airport in North America and the second major airport in the world. The DIA has been among the top 20 busiest airports worldwide every year since 2000.

Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport in USA.

It is an intercontinental airport in the Western United States, initially serving metropolitan Colorado and Denver, and the greater Front Range Urban Corridor. Around 33,531 acres of 52.4 square miles or 135.7 square kilometres, it is the biggest airport in North America in the context of land area.  It is the second biggest airport in the world, sans the King Fahd International Airport of Saudi Arabia.

Runway 16R of 34L, with a distance of 16,000 feet or 3.03 miles or 4.88 kilometres, is the greatest public use runway in North America and the seventh longest in the globe. The airport is 25 miles or 40 kilometres away from Downtown Denver, 19 miles or 31 kilometres further than the former Stapleton International Airport. The airport is basically nearer to the City of Aurora than central Denver, and several airport-related services including hotels, are to be found in Aurora.

Inaugurated in 1995, the DEN currently has spontaneous service to over 215 destinations among 25 different airlines across Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia. It was the fourth airport in the US to surpass 200 destinations. The airport is a bigger business hub for both Frontier Airlines and United Airlines. It has a larger operating terminal for Southwest Airlines.

With around 35,000 employees, the airport is the biggest employer in Colorado. The airport is situated on the western border of the Great Plains and within the sight of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. In 2021, the DEN was the busiest airport in the world and the third most crowded airport in the US in the context of passenger traffic.

  1. King Fahd International Airport

The airport is also known as Dammam International Airport or Dammam Airport or King Fahd Airport. It is the international airport serving Dammam of Saudi Arabia. It was named after King Fahd ibn Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia from 1921 to 2005. And under his reign, it was constructed and opened for operation in 1999.

King Fahd International Airport
King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia. Photo by PINOY PHOTOGRAPHER from Flickr.

The Dammam Airport is at present the largest airport in the world in the context of its land area. The airport is situated on 776 square kilometres or 300 square miles, though the airport building itself is 3,520,000 square feet. It serves the whole Eastern Province and it is one of the three initial international airports in the Kingdom.

Previously, a US airbase used the airport during the Gulf War. The airport has been supervising commercial operations since November 28, 1999. The airport has been lengthened to provide connections to around 43 destinations. Before King Fahd International, initially serving the region was the much busier Dhahran International Airport, which has been converted into a military base. It was now named the King Abdulaziz Air Base.

Since July 1, 2017, the Dammam Airports Company (DACO) has been serving and managing the airport. Commercial transport was only suspended once throughout the history of the airport, when on March 21, 2020, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) declared the suspension of all domestic and international travel either within and to and from the kingdom. Later, domestic operations were resumed on May 31, while international flights remained suspended until further notice, as of September 2020.

The third biggest airport in the kingdom in terms of passenger volume, over 10 million passengers use King Fahd International each year, and around 37 airlines handle flights in and out of the airport. The airport acts as a business hub for Flynas, Saudia, and Saudi Gulf Airlines. It had served as a hub for the now defunct Sama airline in the past.

Apart from these airlines, Saudi Aramco Aviation, the airline managed by Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, uses it to transport employees in and out of strategic destinations like Tanajib, Yanbu, and Shaybah. The airport is operated by two runways and both four kilometres or 2.5 miles long and contains three terminal buildings.

Of the three terminals, the passenger terminal of the airport serves mainstream passengers and the Aramco Terminal is utilized by Aramco employees to get on the Saudi Aramco Aviation flights while the Royal Terminal is used by the Saudi royal family. The busiest route of the airport operated between Dammam and other cities is to and from Dubai, with 70 weekly flights.

The airport is classified as Code E by the ICAO which means aircraft like the Boeing 747-400 and A340-600 could be effortlessly housed. An A380 can utilize the airport, but this is not suggested as to accommodate such aircraft, an airport is needed to be Code F, merely the runways at Dammam Airport match Code F requirements and the taxiways and gates do not.

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