Top 5 Busiest Airports in the U.S.

The U.S. is home to thousands of airports of varying sizes. The busiest U.S. airports are also some of the busiest airports in the world. 9 of the top 10 busiest airports are in the U.S. (Traffic Movements 2010 Final, 2011)

When ranking airports, the number one thing analysts consider is traffic. Traffic is defined as the landing or taking off of an aircraft. Here are the top 5 busiest airports in the U.S. by traffic and some intriguing facts about each:


1. Atlanta, Georgia (ATL)

Also known as the Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport, this airport hosted over 1 million flights in 2012. It is currently 1st on the list of busiest airports in the U.S.&mdas;and the world—and has been since 1998. It occupies over 4700 acres.

Did you know?
Atlanta International Airport is the largest employer in the state of Georgia. (ATL Airport Fact Sheet)


2. Chicago, Illinois (ORD)

This airport is known as O’Hare Airport and is 2nd on the list of busiest airports in the U.S. It hosted over 1 million flights in 2012. The airport complex occupies over 7000 acres.

Did you know?
O’Hare airport is leading the way for airports to “go green” with a cutting-edge vegetated roof program. To reduce environmental impact, 12 roof areas within the massive complex are planted with vegetation. (Vegetated Roofs)


3. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW)

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is 3rd on the list of busiest airports in the U.S. In 2012, the airport facilitated more than 750,000 flights. It is a sprawling complex, occupying more than 17,000 acres.

Did you know?
DFW is one of the leading hubs for American Airlines. Throughout the International Terminal and Skylink train stations, travelers can enjoy the work of local artists including sculptures and captivating murals on the floor. (Art Program)


4. Denver, Colorado (DIA or DEN)

The Denver airport is 4th on he list of busiest airports in the U.S. In 2012, over 709,000 flights landed in or took off from Denver.

Did you know?
It is the largest as far as acreage is concerned, occupying 32,920 acres. For perspective, it is so large that Atlanta, Chicago, L.A., and Dallas/Fort Worth would fit within Denver International’s footprint. (Do You Know DIA?)


5. Los Angeles, California (LAX)

Los Angeles International Airport is one of the most well-known because it is regularly featured in movies. It is also a popular location to see paparazzi ambushing celebrities. In 2012, Los Angeles hosted over 697,000 flights making it 5th on the list of busiest airports in the U.S.

Did you know?
The airport is one of the earliest built in the United States, beginning as a makeshift landing strip for pioneer aviators during the 1920s. In October 1928, the site officially became an airport and was eventually developed into LAX. (Airport Information: Early History)



Each of the top five busiest airports in the U.S. is critical to the nation’s infrastructure. These mega-sized airports do much more than simply provide passengers service. The busiest U.S. airports also move cargo, support the U.S. military, and facilitate hundreds of thousands of private flights.

The busiest airports in the U.S. are responsible for hundreds of billions in economic activity and provide employment for hundreds of thousands of workers. The fact that 9 out of the top 10 busiest airports in the world are in the U.S. stabilizes the country’s economy, and secures its position as a global economic leader.

While this information isn’t directly related to our aircraft tugs, it serves as a good reminder of just how busy our airports can be, and how important they are to our country.

Busiest Airports Chart


Works Cited

Traffic Movements 2010 Final. (2011, August 1). Retrieved April 16, 2013, from Airports Council International:

Airport Information: Early History. (n.d.). Retrieved Apri 16, 2013, from LAX Los Angeles World Airports:

Art Program. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2013, from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport:

ATL Airport Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2013, from Hartsfield – Jackson Amanda International Airport:

Do You Know DIA? (n.d.). Retrieved 04 16, 2013, from Denver International Airport:

Vegetated Roofs. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2013, from Chicago Department of Aviation: