Countries with the Most Airports in the World

April 17, 2024

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Which country is the real MVP when it comes to busy airport hubs and international flights? Some countries dominate the skies, while others take a more laid-back approach to the world of aviation. There are some surprise contenders who have turned the clouds above their cities into buzzing super-highways.

The aviation sector has rapidly grown in countries around the world over the last 60 years. Many countries have hundreds, even thousands, of airports to meet the demands of both domestic and international travelers.

In this article, we’ll look at the countries with the most airports based on data from the World Factbook. Continue reading to find out which are the busiest airports in the world and which cities have the highest volume of airports.

1. United States – 13,153

Coming in first place is the US, with over 13,000 airports. The US is one of the most populated countries in the world and often ranks as one of the world’s most visited countries by international tourists.

The massive size of the US and the distance between major cities mean air travel is in high demand. Flying takes a fraction of the time than driving does. For example, a trip to New York City from Los Angeles would take around 41 hours by car but only five and a half hours by plane.

The largest airport in the US is the Denver International Airport, Colorado. This airport is also the third-busiest in the world. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia, had 93,699,630 passengers, the country’s highest volume of domestic passengers in 2022. In total, five US airports rank in the world’s top 10 list for the highest volume of passengers.

The US is home to the world’s oldest continuously operated airport. College Park Airport in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was opened in 1909 and originally used by the US Army Signal Corps. Civilians began flying to and from the airport two years later.

2. Brazil – 4,093

Brazil is one of the world’s largest and most populated countries. Most major cities are spread out across the country, and many people choose to fly between them rather than drive.

Despite having the second-most airports, only one of Brazil’s airports ranks in the top 60 of the world’s highest volume of passengers. Guarulhos International Airport ranks in 33rd place for the highest volume of passengers (34,466,946).

3. Mexico – 1,714

International tourism is a major sector in the country and requires a large number of airports to meet the demand.

One of Mexico’s airports, Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México “Lic Benito Juárez”, ranked in 20th place in terms of passenger volume. In 2022, 46,261,729 passengers were recorded in Mexico, which is a 28.3% change from the previous year.

Mexico City International Airport is the busiest airport in Mexico and Latin America. Over 25 airlines use the airport to over 100 destinations around the world. The airport was opened in 1931, although the site had been used for aeronautical activities since 1910. The airport was where Mexican President Francisco I. Madero became the world’s first inaugural head of state to fly on an airplane in 1911.

4. Canada – 1,467

Canada has an estimated 1,467 airports, the fourth-largest volume in the world. The largest and busiest airport in the country is the Toronto Pearson International Airport, which had 36,356,109 passengers in 2022. This was a 186.4% increase from 2021 as a result of airport closures and flight cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are a number of popular tourist attractions in Canada, such as Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, and Banff National Park. People travel from all over the world to see the sights, and the demand has led to a large volume of international airports.

Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of land area. Flying is often the most popular form of transport to travel long distances between major cities. However, many small towns and rural areas don’t have airports, so passengers must complete the final leg of their journey via bus, train, or car.

5. Russia – 1,218

Russia, the world’s largest country in terms of land area, has the fifth largest volume of airports. In 2021, it was estimated Russia had 1,218 airports. However, only one airport (Sheremetyevo International Airport) ranked in the top 60 of the world’s highest volume of passengers. In 2022, 28,422,391 passengers passed through the airport.

The aviation sector in Russia has been consistently growing since the 1930s. Moscow, the country’s capital, has four international airports: Sheremetyevo International, Zhukovsky International, Vnukovo International, and Domodedovo International. Bykovo Airport, a small regional airport in the city, closed in 2010.

6. Argentina – 916

In sixth place is Argentina, which has an estimated 916 airports. Despite this, none of Argentina’s airports ranked in the 60 most visited airports in the world. The most visited airport in Argentina is typically Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires.

Other major airports in the country include Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also in Buenos Aires), Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport in Córdoba, and Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport in Mendoza. Nearly 40 of Argentina’s airports are located in the Buenos Aires province, with two major airports in the capital.

7. Bolivia – 855

In 2021, it was estimated there were 855 airports in Bolivia. The country is the fifth-largest in South America and covers an area of approximately 1.1 million km² (425,000 mi²).

Bolivia’s largest airport is the Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The airport was opened in 1983 as a replacement for the  El Trompillo Airport, which has only operated local flights since 1984. Other major airports in the country include El Alto International Airport in La Paz and Jorge Wilstermann International Airport in Cochabamba.

The largest airline in Bolivia is Boliviana de Aviación. This airline is the country’s flag carrier and is solely owned by the Bolivian government.

8. Colombia – 836

Coming in eighth place is Colombia, which has 836 airports. Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado in Bogotá was the country’s most-visited airport in 2022. 35,362,529 passengers passed through the airport during that year, making it the world’s 32nd most visited airport.

Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado was opened in 1959 as a replacement for the Techo International Airport, the main city airport since 1930. There are non-stop flights to the US, Spain, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru from Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado.

Some of the country’s busiest airports include José María Córdova International Airport in Medellín, Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport in Cali and Rafael Núñez International Airport in Cartagena.

9. Paraguay – 799

Paraguay ranks ninth with just shy of 800 airports. However, none of these airports made it onto the world’s top 60 busiest airports list. The largest and busiest airport in the country is Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, an international airport in the city of Luque.

Despite the large number of airports in Paraguay, only around 15 have paved runways. One of the major airports in Paraguay is Guaraní International Airport in Ciudad del Este. The airport regularly ranks second after Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in terms of passenger numbers.

Of the world’s seven continents, South America appears most often on this list. Paraguay is the fifth South American country that ranks in the top 10. However, no South American country has any of the world’s busiest airports.

10. Indonesia – 673

Indonesia ranks in 10th place with an estimated 673 airports (as of 2021). This also means Indonesia has the highest volume of airports in Asia.

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport ranks in 27th place in terms of passenger volume. In 2022, the airport saw 38,791,168 passengers pass through the airport, an increase of 113.3% from 2021 following the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport is located in the Jakarta area on the island of Java.

Some of the major airports in Indonesia include Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar on the island of Bali and Juanda International Airport in Surabaya on the island of Java. Some of the airports in Indonesia are small, unpaved airstrips on remote islands.

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