DFW Falls, Now World’s Third-Busiest Airport

DFW International Airport | Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Dubai International Airport has replaced Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as the second-busiest airport in the world.

DFW International Airport is ranked the third-busiest airport in the world based on 2023 passenger traffic, according to preliminary results published Monday by Airports Council International (ACI) World, an organization of airport authorities aimed at uniting industry practices and airport standards.

According to ACI World, the primary driver influencing the composition of its top 10 list was the influx of passengers to international airports in 2023.

“Global air travel in 2023 was chiefly fueled 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,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director general.

While perennial leaders from the U.S. continue to dominate the top 10 busiest airports for passengers, Oliveira said there were notable shifts in 2023 compared to years prior.

For instance, Dubai International Airport jumped from the fifth busiest airport in 2022 to the second busiest in 2023, outranking DFW for the first time.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Haneda International Airport, which doubled the amount of passenger traffic it sees in a given year, climbed to the No.5 spot after failing to make the top 10 list a year earlier.

Despite the lower ranking, DFW remains one of the world’s dominant hubs for air travel. In 2023, passenger traffic at DFW Airport was 81,755,538, marking an 11.4% increase from 2022 and an 8.9% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when the airport was still ranked No.10.

If travel demand continues its upward trend, DFW Airport could eventually top 100 million passengers annually, according to Heath Montgomery, the airport’s vice president of communications and marketing.

“While global aviation trends are dynamic, we project DFW will serve more than a billion customers over the next 10 years and remain a top global hub, underscoring the North Texas region’s continued growth and significant economic development,” said Montgomery in an emailed statement to The Dallas Morning News.

The Dallas Express contacted DFW Airport for a statement regarding the airport’s new global ranking but did not receive a response.

According to ACI World, the top 10 busiest airports in the world are (prior year’s ranking listed in parentheses):

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (1)
  2. Dubai International Airport (5)
  3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (2)
  4. London Heathrow (8)
  5. Tokyo Haneda International Airport (16)
  6. Denver International Airport (3)
  7. Istanbul Airport (7)
  8. Los Angeles International Airport (6)
  9. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (4)
  10. New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (9)

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