Biggest Travel Hubs In The World – The huge terminal of Daxing International Airport in Beijing overshadows passengers. It is the sixth largest airport in the world by area. Chen Xiao/VCG via Getty Images
Many air travelers have faced the less-than-ideal scenario of having to quickly transfer to a connecting flight, only to find that the next gate is in a different area. It may seem so far away, but connecting at a major airport can definitely help a person manage their daily steps. And sometimes those daily steps take the form of a frantic run through some of the world’s busiest airports, like Hartsfield-Jackson. Atlanta International.
Biggest Travel Hubs In The World
The next time you’re traveling by plane, you might want to mentally prepare for the airports you’ll be using. Some are pleasantly compact, while others are very sprawling. When you look at the list of the world’s largest airports by region, you’ll see some familiar names. You might also see some surprises. This is because the total area of the airport does not always correspond to the total passenger flow. The largest airport in the world is not necessarily one of the busiest airports in the world. The busiest airport in the world remains Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.
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The world’s largest airports are huge. Think Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport are big? Some large public airport facilities easily exceed the total square footage of major cities, although the size of airport terminals does not necessarily correspond to the total square footage of the property.
King Fahd International Airport, also known as Dammam International Airport, is named after the former King Fahd bin Abdulaziz (1921–2005) of Saudi Arabia and is the largest airport in the world by area. DACO. Company Dammam Airports
King Fahd International Airport covers an area of 299.61 square miles (776 square kilometers) and is the largest airport in the world by total area. By comparison, King Fahd Airport is about the same size as New York City, which has two major airports within its borders.
Although it is the largest airport in the world, it is not the busiest airport in Saudi Arabia (that would be King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the main entry point for devout Muslims making the hajj to Mecca and Medina). The size of King Fahd International Airport is mainly due to its past as a US military base.
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Denver International Airport is the second largest airport in the world. Denver International Airport is also home to the longest public runway in North America at 16,000 feet (4,877 meters). Bob Poole/Shutterstock
The city of Denver covers approximately 155 square miles (401 square kilometers), one-third of which is occupied by Denver Airport. The DIA, as Coloradans know it, is located just east of downtown Denver on what used to be rural farmland.
Sprawl outside the city limits has filled the space between the city and Denver International Airport, but the Denver International Airport area is already blocked by 53.09 square miles (135.7 square kilometers). An elaborate underground train system connects the main terminal of Denver International Airport with the various departure areas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) control tower serves the airport, which is the largest hub for American Airlines (AA) and the world’s third largest by area. EQRoy/Shutterstock
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Located on the Texas prairie between the big cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW Airport, the third largest airport in the world, may be familiar to American Airlines passengers.
It is the headquarters of the airline and the main point of transfer and aircraft movement. These transfers give travelers a true Texas-like airport experience.
DFW Airport, one of the largest airports in the world, covers a total of 26.88 square miles (69.6 square kilometers) and its traffic supports that size. It is the second busiest airport in the United States.
This is a panoramic view of Terminal A at Orlando International Airport in downtown Orlando, Florida. Orlando Airport is the fourth largest airport in the world. VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock
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Orlando International Airport’s official airport code is MCO, which derives from its past as McCoy Air Force Base, which operated on the site until 1975. Orlando International Airport’s total square footage is good for an Air Force base; Orlando International Airport covers an area of 20.78 square miles (53.8 square kilometers).
But unlike the world’s largest airport, King Fahd International, Orlando International Airport actively uses its space. Orlando International Airport is the busiest airport in Florida and the seventh busiest airport in the United States.
Traffic is almost non-stop in the main terminal building of Dulles International Airport, one of the world’s largest airports in Chantilly, Virginia, serving Washington, DC. James Kirkikis/Shutterstock
There are three major airports in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and all three have very similar levels of passenger traffic.
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But when it comes to total square footage, Washington Dulles International Airport easily beats two international airports, Ronald Reagan National Airport and Washington DC Baltimore International Airport.
Dulle has an area of 18.75 square miles (48.6 square kilometers). When the airport opened in 1962, it was located in an entirely rural area west of Washington, DC, which the airport serves. Today, it’s surrounded by bustling Virginia suburbs, making the airport’s enormous size seem a little smaller.
The international terminal of Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) in China is located above this, the sixth largest airport in the world. Markus Meinka/Shutterstock
By total area, Beijing Daxing International Airport is the sixth largest in the world. It is spread over 18 square miles (46.6 square kilometers) of land. However, PKX tops the charts in another metric: terminal size.
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The terminal has a total of 7.5 million square feet (696,773 square meters) of space, which is laid out in a star shape to help passengers connect between airlines on international flights.
In terms of total passenger traffic, PKX isn’t one of the busiest in the world, but that’s partly because it’s brand new; the airport was opened in 2019. It is expected to become the busiest airport in the world by 2040.
George W. Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is the 12th busiest in the United States by total passenger traffic and seventh in the world by area. Houston Airport System
The larger of Houston’s two airports, George W. Bush Intercontinental Airport, formerly Houston Intercontinental Airport, is 17.19 square miles (44.5 square kilometers). While it lags behind its Texas cousin DFW in total passenger traffic, it beats it in international arrivals and departures.
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True to its name, the commercial airport offers flights to every continent in the world except Antarctica. It was the main hub for United Airlines after its merger with Continental Airlines in 2010. The IAH area has five runways, five terminals and a hotel.
Special offer for antivirus software from HowStuffWorks and TotalAV Security Try our crossword puzzles! Can you solve this puzzle? As more people around the world can afford to forego travel, new connections and airports will be created to meet this demand. Specifically, the global air transport network doubles every 15 years, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts that it will increase again by 2030.
A state-of-the-art data visualization by researcher Martin Grandjean provides a fascinating insight into the more than 3,200 air traffic hubs that connect our world’s population centers. A unique, power-focused layout allows us to see relationships beyond geographic location.
As the GIF above shows, Europe remains a major mainstay of international travel, while cities on the west coast of North America like Vancouver and San Francisco are changing in response to Asia’s gravitational pull.
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Although all airports efficiently transport passengers from point A to point B, individual locations play a crucial role in the global network. To help measure airport connectivity, the OAG has created the International Megahubs Index.
London Heathrow Airport is the busiest international airport in the world. This busy air hub recently had a staggering 72,000 potential international connections within 6 hours of arrival and departure. In 2017, Heathrow handled more than 78 million passengers and 1.70 million metric tons of cargo.
Singapore’s Changi International Airport and Colombia’s Eldorado International Airport were the most connected airports in Asia Pacific and South America, respectively, according to OAG. OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg was the only African airport to make the top 50.
Although Atlanta Airport, the second-busiest hub, has a larger scheduled capacity, O’Hare’s layout offered more connection options for passengers. Both of these powerful transport hubs are very clearly shown in the network map above.
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In total, there are five countries in the world that do not have an airport, and interestingly, all of them are in Europe. The Vatican and Monaco are simply too small to host an airport.
The other three – Andorra, San Marino and Liechtenstein – depend on neighboring countries and/or helipads for air travel.
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