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Busiest Airports in the U.S.

Find out which United States aiports are the busiest in terms of yearly passneger traffic in this article.

Running to catch a plane? Trying to weave in and out of the many people who are also coming or going? You may sometimes wonder which airports in the United States is the busiest. Here is the top list from the 2005 numbers including yearly passenger traffic.

  1. Atlanta, Hartsfield (ATL) with a total of 85, 907, 423 passengers 
  2. Chicago, O’Hare (ORD) with a total of 75,510,003 passengers 
  3. Los Angeles (LAX) with a total of 61,485, 269 passengers 
  4. Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) with a total of 59, 064,360 passengers 
  5. Las Vegas (LAS) with a total of 44,280,190 passengers 
  6. Denver (DEN) with a total of 43,307, 355 passengers 
  7. Phoenix, Sky Harbor (PHX) with a total of 41,204,071 passengers 
  8. New York (JFK) with a total of 40,584,001 passengers 
  9. Houston (IAH) with a total of 39,7113,920 passengers 
  10. Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) with a total of 37,563, 664 passengers 
  11. Detroit (DTW) with a total of 36,374,906 passengers 
  12. Orlando (MCO) with a total of 33,907,396 passengers 
  13. San Francisco (SFO) with a total of 33,580,662 passengers 
  14. Newark (EWR) with a total of 33,033,569 passengers 
  15. Philadelphia (PHL) with a total of 31,502,855 passengers 
  16. Miami (MIA) with a total of 31,008,453 passengers 
  17. Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) with a total of 29,289,009 passengers

The Atlanta, Hartsfield airport has been the busiest airport since 1998 when it took over the top spot from the Chicago, O’Hare. Also, as a comparison, in 2000, Atlanta had 80,171, 036 and Chicago had 72,135,887 passenger traffic. So in five years, Atlanta has gained over 5 million passengers trying to catch their planes.

If you were to look at flight statistics, London would be the busiest air center has it has two airports. Tokyo and New York also have two airports, in the top 30.

The biggest airport in the world is not in the United States. The King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia is over 80 square miles, that is bigger then many large cities. The second biggest airport is the Denver International Airport that sits on 53 square miles. One of the smallest larger airports in terms of actual size is the London Heathrow; it is only 4.7 miles big.

One study looked at the smoking policies of some of the largest airports in the United States in an effort to find out how the busiest airports treat secondhand smoke. In Atlanta there are doorless smoking rooms, which were designed by Philip Morris affiliated groups. These have air-curtains, but these do not stop the smoke flow very well. On the other hand, the Chicago and Los Angeles passenger terminals are smokefree.

So the next time you are hurrying to catch your plane, you’ll know if you’re contributing to the passenger traffic at some of the busiest airports in the United States.

Busiest Airports in the U.S. Sources:

  1. Airports Council International, North America, “2000 Passenger Statistics: North America’s busiest airports,” Fact Sheet, [pdf online].
  2. Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, List of Smoking Policies of the 25 busiest United States Airports, [online].
  3., Biggest and Busiest Airports, [online].
  4. Information Please Database, “World’s 30 Busiest Airports by Passengers and Cargo, 2005,” [online].

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