International travel represents a major boost in overall industry figures

More people are taking to the skies as the busiest airports in the world continue to see more passengers.
Emirates A380 at London's Heathrow Airport
Emirates A380 at London's Heathrow Airport / James D. Morgan/GettyImages

It’s a busy start to the season. Travel is already picking up, and whether the destination is a domestic site or foreign soil, airports are already packed with customers. The numbers show that passengers are back in airports in droves, and with the 2024 season expected to surpass the last, this is shaping up to be an extremely busy year of travel.

The Airports Council International just released big numbers for the ten busiest airports in the world. According to its data, 8.5 billion passengers took a trip on a plane in 2023. This is a 22 percent increase over 2022, with the numbers largely impacted by international travel. That year-over-year increase was buoyed by international travelers, which increased 37 percent. Domestic flight stats increased by 20 percent as well.

The Airports Council looked at passenger traffic at major airports to determine which locations were more frequented by travelers. The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Georgia came in at number one, with a mix of domestic and international airports mixed in. Dubai, UAE airport was second on the list and the first international location. Other popular destinations like London, Tokyo, Istanbul, and Delhi rounded out the top ten for international airports. Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and Chicago O’Hare were those listed from the United States.

Even with a busy Spring Beak season over, there’s still a lot of travel to look forward to this year. The World Travel & Tourism Council predicted that numbers would continue to grow. In 2023, tourists spent approximately $10 trillion into the global economy, resulting in more than nine percent of the global GDP. If that number continues to grow as predicted, that will further support the narrative that travel is at numbers that represent a full turnaround since the global pandemic.

There’s a lot to look forward to with travel in 2024. With so many destinations to explore, it is understandable that the biggest airports in the world are becoming busier. If the data and projections are correct, a lot of money will be made in the travel industry.