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Global air travel rebounds as international segment drives recovery, ACI World reports

written by Newsdesk | April 16, 2024

Global air travel rebounds as international segment drives recovery, ACI World reports

Airports Council International (ACI) World has released its preliminary list of the top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2023, revealing significant changes driven by the resurgence of international air travel. The global total passenger forecast for 2023 stands at nearly 8.5 billion, representing a remarkable 93.8% recovery from pre-pandemic levels.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira highlighted the critical role of the international segment in fueling the industry’s recovery, stating, “Global air travel in 2023 was chiefly fuelled by the international segment, propelled by several factors. Among these were the anticipated benefits from China’s reopening and a growing inclination towards travel despite macroeconomic conditions.”

While US airports continue to dominate the top 10 busiest airports for passengers, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport retaining its top position, notable shifts have occurred. Dubai International Airport jumped to second place for the first time, and Tokyo Haneda International Airport witnessed a remarkable ascent from 16th position in 2022 to 5th in 2023. Istanbul and New Delhi airports also maintained their strong positions, marking significant progress over 2019.

Despite a year-over-year decrease, cargo continues to play a vital role in world commerce. Hong Kong International Airport maintained the top position, followed by Memphis International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Doha International Airport rejoined the top 10, jumping to number 8 with a growth of 6.3% over 2019.

De Oliveira emphasized the importance of these transportation hubs, stating, “The rankings highlight the crucial role these transportation hubs play in global connectivity, commerce, and economic development. Airports continue to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability amidst the challenges posed by the ever-evolving landscape of global travel.”

ACI World’s airport rankings are based on data gathered from over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories, making the organization the foremost authority on airport travel demand.


Preliminary figures indicate that the 2023 global total passenger figure is close to 8.5 billion, representing a 27.2% increase from 2022 and a 93.8% recovery from pre-pandemic levels. The international market drove the recovery with a 36.5% growth rate, reaching 90.4% of the 2019 level.

Air cargo volumes are estimated to have decreased by 3.1% year-over-year to nearly 113 million metric tonnes in 2023, while global aircraft movements are close to 95 million, representing a gain of 11.8% from 2022 results and a recovery of 92.7% from pre-pandemic levels.


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