Which is the largest airport in the world? When one talk about how large an airport, one may talk about the number of passengers it sees every year, e.g. the busiest airport in the world, or how big the airport actually is. In this ranking, we are focusing on the latter: the largest airports in the world by area.
10. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, France (32 km² or 7,900 acre)
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is twice as big as Paris Orly, Paris’s second largest airport. Paris Charles de Gaulle airport saw 72 million passengers in 2018. Its busiest route is Paris to New York-JFK which was used by 1.6 million passengers per year in 2017.
9. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (32 km² or 7,900 acre)
With Bangkok being the most visited city in the world, it is no wonder that the capital’s airport had to be one of the biggest in the world. Suvarnabhumi airport handles 60 million passengers per year. It offers 120 parking bays for aircraft, 51 of which are contact gates and 60 are remote. This airport is also one of the top 10 most instagrammed photo in the world.
8. Cairo International Airport, Egypt (37 km² or 9,100 acre)
Set on a massive 14 square mile area (37 km²), Cairo International Airport is the second busiest airport in Africa, after OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
7. Shanghai Pudong International Airport, China (40 km² or 10,000 acre)
Ex-aequo with George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport covers an area of 10,000 acre (40.4 km²). Following the opening of Terminal 3 in 2015, the airport now offers 5 runways and served 74 million passengers in 2018. Shanghai Pudong International Airport is the 3rd busiest airport in the world for cargo traffic. Shanghai Pudong International Airport also boasts the 4th busiest airline routes in the world.
6. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, USA (40 km² or 10,000 acre)
Covering 10,000 (40.4 km²), George Bush International Airport has 5 terminals and 5 runways. By the end of year 2019, George Bush Intercontinental Airport will be the only airport in the United States that offers non-stop flights to all six inhabited continents. United Airlines gets the lion’s share of passengers traffic, with 78% of all passengers.
5. Washington Dulles International Airport, USA (49 km² or 12,100 acre)
Located in the state of Virginia, Washington Dulles International Airport welcomes 30 airlines flying 24 million passengers to 120 destinations, most of which are domestic. Washington Dulles International Airport is the 5th largest airport in the world by surface, with facility covering 12,000 acres (4,860 hectares).
4. Orlando International Airport, USA (54 km² or 13,300 acre)
Formerly called MCO which stands for McCoy Ai Force Base, from which it got its IATA code, Orlando International Airport is located 10km southeast of Orlando, in Florida. It is a major hub for Southwest Airlines, which accounts for 27% of passengers traffic.
3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, USA (70 km² or 17,300 acre)
The 3rd largest airport in the world by area, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is actually bigger than the whole island of Manhattan in New York City. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport serves 249 destinations, of which 62 are international destinations. Most domestic flights go to Los Angeles (1.2 million passengers per year), while most international flights go to London (710k passengers per year), followed by Mexico City (659k passengers per year).
3. Istanbul Airport, Turkey (77 km² or 19,000 acre)
Inaugurated in late 2018, the new Istanbul airport, simply called Istanbul Airport, is located on the European side of the capital of Turkey. Covering a 7,659-hectare area (Istanbul Airport has been recognised as one the largest airport in the world. Although it’s already open, Istanbul Airport is still work-in-progress and will be finalized in 2027. Once completed it will have a total indoor area of 3,200,000 m2 (34,000,000 sq ft).
2. Denver International Airport, USA (136 km² or 33,600 acre)
Denver International Airport is the second largest airport in the world, and the largest airport in North America. One its runway is the seventh longest runway in the world. This airport is the largest employer in Colorado, providing a job to more than 35’000 people. Denver International Airport is considered one of the most beautiful airports in the world.
1. King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia (780 km² or 192,700 acre)
Built on 78,000 hectares, King Fahd Airport is the second largest airport in the world by area although in reality the actual airport area uses less than 5% of that space (37km²). The airport’s construction started in 1983 and was completed in 1999. The Royals and a few VIPs have their own terminal which covers an area of 177,000 square feet.
Are the largest airports in the world the busiest?
The largest airports are not necessarily the busiest, and vice-versa. For example, despite being one of the busiest airports in the world, Beijing Capital International Airport (15 km²) didn’t make it to the top 10 of the largest airports in the world. Conversely, King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia may be the largest airport in the world by surface but gets 10 million passengers per year, while Middle East counterpart Doha International Airport (Qatar) with a 22 km² area sees more than 35 million passengers per year.
Fred has spent 10 years working as a travel agent in the EMEA region, before returning to his passion for writing. Fred currently writes for several publications and newsletter related to the aviation and travel industries.