The Worlds Busiest Airports

The number of air travel passengers around the world continues to skyrocket, thanks to a increasing urbanisation, and the global surge of low-cost carriers. In fact, affordable airlines have almost doubled their market share over the last 15 years. When it comes to keeping us all in the air, fantastic personnel are the sector’s greatest asset – after the aeroplanes themselves, of course! Outstanding recruitment is going to be more vital than ever to match this growth, thanks to our collective love of air travel.

Aviation is an exciting industry to be a part of, and nothing sets the tone for this booming sector quite like visiting one of the worlds busiest airports. This list comes courtesy of the Airport Council International’s (ACI) 2019 half-year statistics – the most recent overall comparison. Some of the big names on the list you will likely have guessed, but some might surprise you! The crown holder of world’s busiest airport has held the title for more than two decades now. See if you can figure out which one it is before you reach the end of the list!

10. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, France

This bustling Parisian airport handled no less than 76 million passengers in 2019. It’s hardly surprising that this European hub is such a draw for travellers! The airport has been open since 1974, although understandably it has grown dramatically since then. The original Terminal 1 remains – an avant-garde style cluster of buildings built in the image of an octopus! Next time you travel to or from Charles de Gaulle, see if you can spot it during take-off or landing.

9. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Internation Airport was only a little ahead of Charles de Gaulle at the mid-year mark for 2019, with end of year stats yet to touch down (pun intended!) This astonishing airport is built on it’s very own island, and boasts some impressive entertainment options for those awaiting their flights. Travellers can visit a cinema with the largest screen in Hong Kong, enjoy interactive exhibits at the Aviation Discovery Center, or even play a round of golf in the airport’s indoor golf simulator!

8. Shanghai Pudong International Airport, China

By halfway through last year, Shanghai Pudong International airport had already served more than 38 million passengers, and was projected to land in the eighth spot for the close of the decade. This relatively new airport only opened it’s doors in the late nineties, but quickly made it’s ascent in the global rankings. The growth of the global middle class is a powerful contributor to the Aviation industry’s forward leaps and bounds. Nowhere is experiencing this transformation more rapidly than China!

7. London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom

London Heathrow was a little shy of the 39 million mark half way through last year, and on track to come in seventh in the world’s busiest airports rankings. The city of London is ringed by no less than six major airports, which together claim the title of the world’s busiest city airport system. You may be surprised by some of the resident personnel at Heathrow Airport. Reflecting the vibrant diversity within the city of London, and the international role that this airport plays, there are Anglican, Catholic, Free Church, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh chaplains on site. The airport also has it’s very own resident press, with several photographers and even a TV crew always on standby!

6. O’Hare International Airport, United States

This Chicago, Illinois, airport began as a manufacturing plant for military aeroplanes during World War II, and became a passenger terminal in 1955. In the first six months of 2019 the airport had served 39.5 million passengers, which is no small number! Beyond it’s sheer scale, the airport is famous for it’s environmental efforts. In 2011, O’Hare became the first major airport to have it’s own apiary, which hosts more than a million bees every summer. The bees are cared for by ex-offenders who produce a range of honey and wax based products. The airport also uses grazing animals to maintain it’s grounds, including goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, and a donkey named Jackson!

5. Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates

Dubai International Airport had easily exceeded 41 million passengers by mid-point of last year. Fascinatingly, this airport began as a base for flying boats in 1937 – a type of seaplane that can only land on water. Today, the airport is an ultra-modern affair, with a large on-site solar system, and a reputation for inspiring wellness, thanks to the airports spa and health club facilities.

4. Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan

At the six month mark of 2019, Tokyo Haneda Airport was creeping towards 41.5 million passengers. This airport offers visitors a real cultural treat, without stepping foot outside of the building! Enthusiastic explorers can discover a replica of the early 20th-century Nihonbashi River bridge – the original being in Tokyo. On the fourth floor, you can find the Edo-koji marketplace – a re-creation of a traditional Japanese marketplace, complete with intricate wooden shop fronts. For those seeking a Tokyo-esque buzz, the Tokyo Pop Town area has been created with capturing the city’s vibe in mind!

3. Los Angeles International Airport, United States

During the first half of last year, Los Angeles International Airport served more than 43 million passengers. The airport, commonly known as LAX, is home to the iconic Theme Building. This hard-to-miss structure resembles a flying saucer raised up on four legs, and previously housed a restaurant in the suspended section! Built in the early 1960s, it stands as a tribute to the space age and pop culture. LAX acts as a major international gateway to the West Coast of the United States, as well as host to low-cost carriers. Such affordable airlines have taken off in the US, soaring from around 29 percent of the US domestic market in 2013, to 56 percent by 2018.

2. Beijing Capital International Airport, China

The Asia-Pacific region had the highest share of airline passenger traffic, as of 2018, accounting for around one third of the global total. The jewel in this crown is no doubt Beijing Capital International Airport, having served over 49 million passengers by the mid-point of 2019. The airport received a major refresh in 2008, prior to the Beijing Olympics. The interior features many traditional features. These include an imperial gardens style indoor garden that stretches into a train tunnel – for rail passengers to view – and carved Chinese dragons.

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, United States

This Atlanta, Georgia, airport had served a whopping 54 million passengers by half way through last year. This impressive airport employs more than 60,000 people – not taking into account personnel working on behalf of airlines! As the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson is the butt of many jokes. A classic Southern joke tells that: “Upon one’s death, regardless of whether one goes to Heaven or Hell, one will connect in Atlanta to get there”. In a parody Star Wars episode, from TV show Family Guy, Darth Vader joked that “Even though we’re in a galaxy far, far away, we still have to change in Atlanta”!

So, there you have it! Did any of these placings surprise you? It’s clear that the Aviation industry is set to see continuing growth in the years to come, making high-calibre recruitment a top priority for brands within the industry. Total employment by airlines was forecast to reach 2.9 million by the end of 2019, up 2.2% on 2018. These roles of course being only a segment of the more than 10 million jobs within the direct aviation industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that current trends suggest total global passenger numbers could reach 8.2 billion by 2037. With that in mind, a strong recruitment strategy today is the best preparation for the exiting new developments of tomorrow!

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