The 20 busiest airports in the world

 ·9 Apr 2018

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is no longer ranked among the 20 busiest in the world, thanks to the rush in Asia.

Among those pushing out JFK was New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which made its debut on the table last year at No. 16, according to Airports Council International rankings released Monday.

The Indian airfield was also the fastest-growing on the list, with passenger traffic rising 14 percent, followed by 10 percent at China’s Guangzhou, which climbed two notches to No. 13.

The center of gravity for world aviation is continuing its eastward shift, with China and India poised to feature among the world’s top three air-travel markets by 2020 as rising incomes make fares more affordable, Montreal-based ACI said.

The Asia Pacific region is likely to have 3.5 billion passengers by 2036, adding more than double the forecast for North America and Europe combined, according to estimates by the International Air Transport Association.

To cater to that explosion in demand, about half of the $1 trillion budgeted for airport expansions and upgrades around the world are expected to be spent in Asia, Sydney-based CAPA Centre for Aviation estimates.

Efforts by Chinese airlines to add more direct flights to the U.S. and Europe stoked passenger traffic at second- and third-tier airports last year, ACI said. Travel demand in China is expected to add 3 billion more passengers by 2040, representing 21 percent of the projected global passenger traffic growth, it said.

JFK, as in some other big cities, has other airports nearby. The combined traffic at the New York metropolitan area’s three large airports is typically twice that of JFK’s alone.

Other ACI highlights:

  • Atlanta, still the world’s busiest airport, was the only one among the top 20 to report a decline in passenger traffic.
  • In China, Tianjin airport reported 25% more passengers last year; Nanjing 15.5%, and Xian 13%
  • In India, passenger traffic in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) jumped 27%, while Hyderabad saw a 20% gain and Bangalore, 13%
  • Dubai was the world’s busiest for international passengers, followed by London’s Heathrow and Hong Kong For air cargo, Hong Kong took the top place, with Memphis and Shanghai coming in second and third.

Read: Top 10 best airports in the world – and a surprise South African riser

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