These 10 Airports Had The Most Departing Seats In 2019

Over the last 10 years the number one and two airports by seat capacity – Atlanta and Beijing – have stayed constant, though both have grown in capacity. London Heathrow dropped from third biggest down to seventh. It doesn’t have the space to grow without a third runway.

A decade ago the list included Frankfurt, Madrid, and Dallas Fort-Wort but those have been outpaced over the last ten years.

British Airways Aircraft at London Heathrow

In the coming years Tokyo’s Haneda airport may become the world’s busiest by seat capacity – beating Atlanta – with new slots opening up in April. Meanwhile Beijing Capital airport is likely to shrink going forward as several airlines shift over to the farther-out Beijing Daxing.

Dubai airport which as far as I know has only international flights has the most international seat capacity of any airport. Interestingly Dubai’s Al Maktoum airport (Dubai World Central) used to have domestic service to Sir Bani Yas Airport on Rotana Jet between 2012 and 2017.

Dubai International Airport

Here’s the list, compiled by OAG of the 10 airports with greatest seat capacity in 2019.

Airport Scheduled Seats
Atlanta                  63,311,424
Beijing Capital                  62,736,387
Tokyo Haneda                  54,891,691
Dubai                  53,984,063
Los Angeles                  51,504,468
Chicago O’Hare                  50,554,172
London Heathrow                  50,180,465
Shanghai Pudong                  46,937,025
Paris Charles de Gaulle                  45,245,998
Hong Kong                  45,199,309

Chicago O’Hare will look a lot busier if ranked by departures. There aren’t nearly as many small jets flying out of world airports like Beijing and Dubai as there are U.S. airports operating myriad domestic routes.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. For those of us who are ex-“Sky Warriors” from the significant flying period between the late 1960s-early 1980s, what would be even more informative is to remember the competitive heat over the great North American air corridors from that period, and what happened to them:

    WAS-LGA/EWR-BOS (Eastern Shuttle, AA, US, DL)

    LAX-SFO (PSA dominant until sale)

    DAL-HOU (a Harvard Business School case study how BI fought WN as a new market entry in 1971 from remaining at close-in Love Field-Hobby Airport, as BI and other major carriers forced to DFW and IAH.

    YYZ-YUL (AC, CP)

  2. Gary, how easy/ not easy would it be for you to make these more “apples to apples” by manually combining for starters LGA+JFK+EWR, or London Gatwick+Heathrow?

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