Discover Largest Airports in the World

If you’re flying in 2024, it’s good to know about the airports you’ll be visiting. Airports vary in size, from pleasantly compact to incredibly expansive ones. Some of the names on the list of the largest airports in the world may be familiar, while others will come as shocks. However, remember, an airport’s size doesn’t always reflect its passenger traffic; the largest airports may not be the busiest.

Many of the world’s largest airports offer great amenities like restaurants, play areas for children, and fancy lounges. Some even have indoor gardens. Navigating these busy airports can be exciting but also confusing with different levels, terminals, and check-in counters. Join us at Airport Gurus as we get to know what are the largest airports in the world in 2024.

What are the Largest Airports in the World?

1. King Fahd International Airport (DMM) — 300 Square Miles

Starting with the world’s largest airport is the most fitting way to kick off our list. King Fahd International Airport is based in Saudi Arabia. It was named after the late Saudi monarch, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The airport extends approximately 776 square kilometres (299.61 square miles). To put it in perspective, it’s about the same size as New York City’s five boroughs, which have two major airports.

Since its opening in 1999, King Fahd Airport has been a key hub for Saudia, Flyadeal, and Flynas. It features three terminal buildings: one for both domestic and international flights, another exclusively for private airlines managed by Saudi Aramco, and the Royal Terminal serving the Saudi royal family, official guests, and government officials. With plenty of space for growth and development, its massive size guarantees that it will remain a crucial transportation hub in the area for the foreseeable future.

2. Denver International Airport (DEN) — 53 Square Miles

Denver International Airport, established in 1995, stands as a leading figure in the aviation industry. It commands attention as the largest airport in the United States and the second-largest globally. Notably, Denver Airport boasts one of the world’s lengthiest runways, spanning 3 miles (4.8 km). It handles a significant air traffic volume, proudly ranking as the second busiest airport worldwide.

Occupying a third of Denver’s total land area, Denver International Airport is renowned for its iconic white tent-like roof and well-planned layout. This design allows for future expansion while ensuring ample space for guests to spread out and relax.

3. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)—39 Square Miles

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the primary international air hub of the Malaysian capital, stands out as one of the world’s largest airports in terms of actual property size. It surpasses some of the more renowned airports in the region, such as Singapore’s Changi Airport, often lauded as the world’s best airport.

Since opening 25 years ago on a large tract of former farmland, Kuala Lumpur International Airport has aimed for significant expansion. With a new terminal in the works, the airport aims to accommodate up to 100 million passengers annually, a substantial increase from the 24 million in 2022.

4. Istanbul Airport (IST) — 29.5 Square Miles

Nearly 76.5 square kilometres in size, Istanbul International Airport is among the largest airports in the world. Because of its massive size, the airport serves as a major transportation hub for aircraft and passengers travelling between Asia and Europe.

The airport boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including spacious and sophisticated terminals, along with top-notch transit options throughout the entire complex. Its extensive size and strategic location at the intersection of two continents position Istanbul Airport as a critical player in the global aviation industry.

5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) — 26 Square Miles

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, a major hub for American Airlines, surpasses the size of Manhattan and operates with its own zip code and emergency services. It ranks as the second busiest airport globally and in the United States in terms of overall passenger traffic.

Remarkably, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is equipped with a total of seven runways. Unique to DFW is its status as the only airport in the world with four operational paved runways, each exceeding 13,000 feet or 4,000 meters in length.

6. Orlando International Airport (MCO) — 20.7 Square Miles

You may be wondering why Orlando International Airport’s official airport code is MCO. The airport started as McCoy Air Force Base up until 1975. That’s why it ranks as one of the largests airport, which is befitting of an air force base.

Orlando International Airport’s main terminal complex consists of three buildings: A, B, and C. Terminals A and B handle local and international aircraft via two airside terminals. Terminal C handles all JetBlue and non-US international flights. Being the seventh busiest airport in the US and the busiest airport in Florida, Orlando International Airport certainly puts its space to good use. With its four runways, the airport can handle all of its heavy traffic.

7. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) — 18.7 Square Miles

There are three main airports in the Washington DC metropolitan region, and the passenger volume at all three is relatively comparable. However, Washington Dulles International Airport, the principal international gateway to the nation’s capital, dwarfs its two sibling airports in terms of overall acreage.

Although Dulles Airport is enormous, it only has one main terminal and two middle terminal buildings (concourses A/B and C/D, respectively). It is equipped with four runways and is renowned for its distinctive modernist architecture, highlighted by the iconic mobile lounges.

8. Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) — 18 Square Miles

Considered a giant airport in its own right, Beijing Daxing International Airport is the largest airport in China. Not only is PKX enormous, but it also ranks first in terms of terminal size. At 7.5 million square feet (696,773 square meters), the terminal size makes it the largest single-building airport in the world.

9. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) — 17 Square Miles

Texas adds another airport to the world’s top 10 largest with George Bush Intercontinental Airport, situated in Houston. This expansive airport, known for its size, has undergone a name change since its opening in 1969. It was originally known as “Houston Intercontinental Airport.”

George Bush Airport consists of five terminals—A, B, C, D, and E—capable of managing both local and international operations. Moreover, the airport boasts five runways to handle its significant traffic volume effectively.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport, situated in Shanghai, China, is a prominent aviation hub in Asia. It ranks among the largest airports on the continent and holds the distinction of being the world’s third busiest for cargo traffic and the third busiest for passengers in China.

Pudong Airport features two passenger terminals accommodating both domestic and international flights. A third passenger terminal and two more runways were built in a recent development in 2021. The airport is currently using five runways for operations.

Maximise Your Airport Potential with Airport Gurus!

Large airports require robust infrastructure, seamless operations, and cutting-edge technology to realise their full potential. However, implementing such systems can be complex, necessitating expert assistance. At Airport Gurus, we specialise in airport business, operations, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), boasting extensive international experience.

We collaborate with our partners to provide tailored airport technology solutions, streamline operations, and drive digital transformation. With successful projects completed worldwide, including in Mexico, Rwanda, and Lima, we cater to airports of all sizes. To request expert airport operations and technology assistance, contact Airport Gurus today, and let us help your airport achieve its maximum potential.

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