Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: The world's busiest airport kept its No. 1 spot in 2022 with 93.7 million passengers. That figure is still about 15% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
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2. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport: This Texas hub saw 73.4 million passengers in 2022, nearly as many as 2019.
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3. Denver International Airport: A Colorado hub that handles mostly domestic traffic, Denver's airport ranked highly thanks the the strong rebound of US domestic travel. It saw 69.3 million passengers in 2022 -- basically the same level as 2019.
Kirby Lee/AP
4. Chicago O'Hare International Airport: With 68.3 million passengers in 2022, this No. 4-ranked airport's traffic is still down about 19% from 2019.
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5. Dubai International Airport: This busy United Arab Emirates airport is the world's busiest for international passengers and No. 5 for passengers overall. It saw 66.1 million passengers in 2022, down about 24% from 2019.
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6. Los Angeles International Airport: With 65.9 million passengers in 2022, LAX's traffic was still down by 25% from 2019. It's one of five US airports in the 2022 top 10 for passenger volume.
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7. Istanbul Airport: New to the top 10 in 2022, Istanbul Airport in Turkey saw 64.3 million passengers, which is up 23% over 2019 figures.
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8. London Heathrow Airport: Heathrow's traffic was down about 24% from 2019 figures, but it saw the biggest year-over-year jump in the top 10. Traffic in 2022 was up by nearly 218% over 2021.
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9. Delhi Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport, or Delhi Airport, in India is new to the top 10. It saw 59.5 million passengers in 2022 -- up about 60% from 2021 but still 13% below 2019 passenger levels.
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10. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: Paris' big hub is back in the top 10 after two years off the list. It welcomed about 57.5 million passengers in 2022 -- up about 119% from 2021, but down about 25% from pre-pandemic figures.

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CNN  — 

Five of the world’s busiest airports for passengers in 2022 were in the United States, according to preliminary global air traffic figures.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was still the world’s busiest airport for passenger volume in 2022, holding the top spot it reclaimed in 2021 after being knocked off stride by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Airports Council International, a trade association representing nearly 2,000 airports, released the rankings on Wednesday.

Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver and Chicago O’Hare took the second, third and fourth slots, respectively. Los Angeles was No. 6 among the busiest airports in 2022.

The strong US showing is thanks to a healthy rebound in the domestic market. All of the US airports in the top 10 have significant domestic passenger shares – between 75% and 95% domestic traffic, according to ACI.

In 2021, eight out of the top 10 busiest airports were in the United States.

More broadly, domestic markets are recovering faster than international markets.

“In the international markets, of course we are suffering a little bit more in terms of the recovery,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director general of ACI World, in an interview with CNN Travel.

However, Dubai International (No. 5), London Heathrow (No. 8) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (No. 10) returned to the top 10 in 2022 after two pandemic years of being knocked off their pre-pandemic top 10 perches.

The London hub recorded the largest year-over-year traffic jump of the top 10, with a nearly 218% increase in passenger volume from 2021, thanks to the lifting of restrictions in March 2022.

And Dubai was the No. 1 airport in 2022 for international passengers, followed by London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol.

Atlantide Phototravel/The Image Bank Unreleased/Getty Images
Dubai International is ranked No. 5 overall for passenger volume and No. 1 for international passengers.

New to the overall top 10 for passengers in 2022 were Istanbul Airport at No. 7 and Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi at No. 9.

For the first time in many years, no airports in China made it into the top 10 busiest list. After the United States, China is the world’s second-largest domestic travel market.

Global traffic in 2022 reached nearly 7 billion passengers, 73.8% of 2019 levels, according to ACI, with domestic travel at 80% of 2019 levels and international traffic at 60%.

Air travel should be ‘much better’ in 2023

Last year also brought big air travel disruptions in some regions related to surges in demand that outpaced ramp-ups in staffing and capacity, which had been slashed early in the pandemic.

This year should be “much better,” de Oliveira said, noting that air travel is an “ecosystem.”

“We don’t have an airline without an airport. We don’t have an airport without an airline, but you don’t have the industry without the customer, the passenger.

Creative Touch Imaging Ltd/NurPhoto/Shutterstock
Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is new to the top 10 in 2022. India has a growing travel market.

“That’s why for us it’s very important to maintain and work together with the whole ecosystem to provide a good service for our passengers. And in that way, we are much more prepared than last year to cope with the demand,” he said.

One of the biggest lessons for the industry from the pandemic? A need for global collaboration.

“We cannot take decisions that are not based in facts, that are not based in science,” de Oliveira said, noting a need for coordinated rules “rather than each country taking a decision based on their own conclusions about the measures they need to take. The coordination for us is more important than what kind of rules that you apply.”

ACI expects global passenger traffic to reach 92% of 2019 levels in 2023. A full recovery to 2019 levels isn’t expected until 2024.

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Stock
Atlanta, Georgia, is home to the world's busiest airport.

World’s top 10 busiest airports for passenger traffic in 2022

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Georgia (ATL): 93.7 million passengers; up 23.8% from 2021

2. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW): 73.4 million passengers; up 17.5% from 2021

3. Denver, Colorado (DEN): 69.3 million passengers; up 17.8% from 2021

4. Chicago O’Hare, Illinois (ORD): 68.3 million passengers; up 26.5% from 2021

5. Dubai, United Arab Emirates (DXB): 66.1 million passengers; up 127% from 2021

6. Los Angeles, California (LAX): 65.9 million passengers; up 37.3% from 2021

7. Istanbul, Turkey (IST): 64.3 million passengers; up 73.8% from 2021

8. London Heathrow, United Kingdom (LHR): 61.6 million passengers; up 217.7% from 2021

9. Delhi, India (DEL): 59.5 million passengers; up 60.2% from 2021

10. Paris Charles de Gaulle, France (CDG): 57.5 million passengers; up 119.4% from 2021