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Airplane departs from Heathrow airport in London.

Constructing an aerotropolis

The world's largest airports

Constructing an aerotropolis

Airports let your dreams take off. And like the best dreams – airports are often very big. Al Maktoum International Airport will be the biggest of them all.

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
94 million passengers yearly
Beijing, China

Since the building of the new Terminal 3 in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this airport has seen a steep rise in passengers. When it opened it was the largest building in the world by floor area. Quickly reaching its capacity, a new airport is being built in the southern parts of the city, scheduled to open in 2019.

Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL)
104 million passengers yearly
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The first airport to reach 100 million passengers in 2015, this large hub serves as a gateway to southeast USA for many domestic flights. The Atlanta metropolitan area is not the largest in the USA – but it is one of the largest with only one airport for passenger flights. The airport started out as an old racetrack, with the first plane landing 1926. At that time the airport was named Candler Field – after Asa Candler, former Atlanta mayor and co-founder of The Coca-Cola Company.

Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta.
Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta.

Dubai International Airport (DXB)
84 million passengers yearly

Speaking of the largest buildings – when Terminal 3 at Dubai International opened, it came to the throne as the building with the largest floor area. With its 1,7 square kilometers, it is four times as big as the Vatican City. The baggage handling system for the terminal can sort 15 000 pieces per hour.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
81 million passengers yearly
Los Angeles, California, USA

This large airport has the record for origin and destination travelers – that means most travelers either starting or ending their trips here. The X in the airport code doesn’t bear any meaning. It was appended there while changing to the three letter codes when the need for more combinations arose.

Haneda Airport (HND)
80 million passengers yearly
Tokyo, Japan

The Tokyo area is the third busiest flight-region in the world (London and New York are the busiest) and Haneda airport is the biggest in town. The route Haneda–Sapporo (CTS) alone has close to 9 million passengers yearly. In Terminal 2 you can find a 24 hour vending machine restaurant.

Haneda airport in Tokyo.
Haneda airport in Tokyo.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
72 million passengers yearly
Hong Kong, China

The airport is located on the artificial island of Chek Lap Kok. The island was created to host the airport. When opened in the late 1990´s, the passenger terminal buildings were the largest in the world. The airport is an important contributor to Hong Kong’s economy as a major employer in the area. The airport is operated by more than 100 airlines with routes to more than 180 cities across the globe.

O´Hare International Airport (ORD)
77 million passengers yearly
Chicago, USA

Until the late 1990´s, O'Hare was the busiest airport in the world by the number of passengers. It was surpassed mainly due to limits that the federal government imposed in order to reduce flight delays. In 2014 O´Hare was the world´s busiest airport in terms of takeoffs and landings. The airport serves as a hub for American Airlines and United Airlines. O´Hare has direct flights to more than 210 destinations.

O'hare airport in Chicago.
O'Hare airport in Chicago.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
65 million passengers yearly
Shanghai, China

Shanghai Pudong is the primary international flight hub of China. While Shanghai Pudong mainly serves international flights, the city´s other big airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, mainly serves domestic and regional flights. The Shanghai Pudong was first opened in 1999 and has grown significantly since then. The airport´s third runway opened in time for the Beijing Summer Olympics 2008. With the completion of the fifth runway in 2015 the airport´s capacity doubled.

London Heathrow (LHR)
76 million passengers yearly
London, United Kingdom

Heathrow is Europe’s biggest hub. In the light of Brexit, the airport is believed to be even more important as a symbol of Great Britain´s openness to the world. The British government recently decided to expand the airport. A new runway will be built, increasing Heathrow´s passenger capacity to 130 million passengers and the flight movement capacity to 740 000 annually.

Heathrow airport in London.
Heathrow airport in London.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
65 million passengers yearly
Paris, France

Charles de Gaulle is also known as Roissy airport. It is Europe´s second largest airport in terms of passengers, after Heathrow in London but the biggest in terms of flight movement.
Charles de Gaulle hosted a historical event in 1976 when the first Concorde took off on its first regular passenger flight.

Constructing an aerotropolis

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