Below you can find the 5 busiest airports in the world before the coronavirus pandemic hit. We should note that we excluded Istanbul Airport which partially opened in 2018 and officially opened at the end of 2019. Istanbul Airport currently handles a small number of passengers and it costed nearly $12 billion to build. After the coronavirus pandemic ends, we expect Istanbul Airport to find a place in our list.
5. Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND)
A rare entry on this list where the airport hosts more domestic flights than international ones is the Tokyo Haneda airport. Tokyo was one of the first countries to impose restrictions when its citizens were afflicted with the novel coronavirus and hence, has seen a decline of 28.5% in the first quarter of 2020.
4. Dubai International Airport
Not only is Dubai a very popular tourist destination, it is also a landing point for many planes which have flights from Asia to Europe and beyond. While there was 3% increase in passengers in Dubai Airport in 2019, business declined by 20% in the first quarter of 2020.
3. Los Angeles International Airport
What Dubai is for Asia, Los Angeles is for the US, often serving as a gateway to international destinations, especially in Asia and the Pacific. The airport saw 88 million passengers, and declined by 21.7% in the first quarter of 2020.
2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
China’s Beijing Capital International Airport is shaped like a dragon, but currently the dragon’s belly is empty. 100 million passengers went through the airport in 2019, but it has suffered the most in the first quarter of 2020; a steep decline of 62.6%!
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Topping the list of busiest airports in the world in 2020 is the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which welcomed a 110 million passengers in 2019. In fact, it has held the top position since 1998, due to its strategic location. More than 80% of the United States population lives within 2 hours of the airport. It will be interesting to see what happens this year considering the uncertainty we are currently mired in.
See also 21 biggest airports in the world in 2016.