The world’s 15 busiest airports on satellite images

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This week we’ve got some cool for the fans of aviation. Below you’ll find the satellite images of the world’s 15 busiest airports by passenger traffic in 2015. The images are courtesy of our partner terraserver.com.

15John F. Kennedy International Airport – 56,827,154

Opened as New York International Airport in 1948 it was commonly known as Idlewild Airport before being renamed in 1963 in memory of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway into the United States, the fifth busiest airport in the US handling 56,827,154 passengers in 2015.

14Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – 58,284,864

Schiphol Airport is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s fifth busiest and the world’s fourteenth busiest by total passenger traffic in 2015. The airport opened in 1916 as a military airbase, with a few barracks and a field serving as platform and runways.

13Shanghai Pudong International Airport – 60,053,387

Shanghai Pudong International Airport is a fast-growing hub for both passenger and cargo traffic. With 3,275,231 metric tonnes handled in 2015, the airport is the world’s third busiest airport by cargo traffic. Pudong Airport also served over 60 mln passengers in 2015, making it the second busiest airport in mainland China and the 13th busiest in the world. A relatively new addition to the airports scene in the Republic of China, Shanghai’s Pudong Airport opened towards to the end of 1999, at the cost of around $400 million, being built as a part replacement to nearby Hongqiao International Airport.

12Frankfurt Airport – 61,032,022

Frankfurt Airport is by far the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany as well as the 4th busiest in Europe after London Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle in Paris and İstanbul Atatürk Airport. With over 61 mln passengers in 2015 the airport is also the 12th busiest worldwide. Frankfurt Airport appeared on Germany’s aviation scene as far back as 1926, when it was first established as a small airfield in the Rebstock area. By 1950, commercial airline operations were well underway and in 1958  it became the very first airport in Germany to serve jetliners. In 1972, the existing Terminal 1 was opened and the airport finally gained its international status.

11Istanbul Atatürk Airport – 61,836,781

Istanbul Atatürk Airport served more than 60 million passengers in 2015, making it the 11th busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and the 10th busiest in the world in terms of international passenger traffic. The airport has been opened in 1924 on the European side of the city.

10Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – 64,072,468

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the largest hub for American Airlines, and the world’s 10th busiest airport by passenger traffic (64 mln). The Airport was opened in 1973.

9Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport – 65,766,986

Originally named the Aéroport de Paris Nord, construction of Charles de Gaulle Airport began in 1966 and lasted for eight years. Finally in 1972 the airport was opened and at that stage re-titled as the Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG). In 2015, the airport handled 65,766,986 passengers and 497,763 aircraft movements, thus making it the world’s 9th busiest airport and Europe’s second-busiest airport (after London Heathrow) in terms of passenger traffic.

8Hong Kong International Airport – 68,283,407

Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which largely comprises land reclaimed for the construction of the airport itself. In 2015 it handled over 68 million passengers, making it the 8th busiest airport worldwide by passenger traffic. The airport has been in commercial operation since 1998, replacing the Kai Tak Airport.

7Los Angeles International Airport – 74,937,004

Los Angeles International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in California, as well as being one of the largest international airports in the United States. In 2015 it handled 74,936,256 passengers, making it the seventh busiest airport by passenger traffic in the world. The airport operates from 1930.

6London Heathrow Airport – 74,989,795

Heathrow is the busiest airport in the UK, the busiest airport in Europe, and sixth busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic, carrying over 74 million passengers and 1.4 million tons of cargo each year. The history of the airport goes back to 1929 when it was used by Fairey Aviation company for test flights. In 1946 just after The II World War, Heathrow has been choosen as a location for the main London Airport.

5Tokyo Haneda Airport – 75,316,718

Tokyo Haneda Airport handled 75,316,718 passengers in 2015 and by passenger throughput, it was the third busiest airport in Asia and the fifth busiest in the world. Haneda Airfield (in Japanese羽田飛行場) first opened in 1931 on a small piece of bayfront land. Interestingly before the construction of Haneda Airport, aviators in Tokyo used various beaches of Tokyo Bay as airstrips, including beaches near the current site of Haneda.

4O’Hare International Airport – 76,942,493

Chicago based international airport O’Hare places in the northwest of Chicago, Illinois, named as third busiest airport in the US while grabbed fourth position among world’s busiest airports by passenger count with total passenger volume of 70,075,204 and 881,933 aircraft movements. The airport was opened in 1943.

3Dubai International Airport – 78,014,841

Dubai International Airport (Arabic: مطار دبي الدولي‎‎) is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic. With over 78 mln passengers in 2015 it is also the 3rd busiest airport in the world, the 6th busiest cargo airport in world. The history of the airport goes back to 1960 when it was officially opened. The new era of the Dubai airport started in 2000 when the new Sheikh Rashid Terminal, also known as Terminal 1 has been opened.

2Beijing Capital International Airport – 89,938,628

Beijing Capital International Airport is luxurious one in true sense having fantastic construction style and elegant departments while over 89 mln passengers have been passed through approximately having 581,773 registered flights movements. The airport was opened in 1958.

1Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport – 101,491,106

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, known locally as Atlanta Airport, Hartsfield, or Hartsfield–Jackson  the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and by number of landings and take-offs from 2005 to 2013, and again from 2015. It has over 100 mln passenger traffic a year and 882,497 Aircraft operations last year. The airport has been opened in 1926.

Aleks Buczkowski
I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.