Joining The Big League: Delhi’s IGI Airport Ranked Ninth Busiest In The World In 2022


The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi has joined the league of the world’s ten busiest airports based on passenger traffic, as per Airports Council International (ACI).

In 2022, the airport handled approximately 5.95 crore passengers, earning it the ninth position on the global trade association’s ranking.

10 Busiest Airports

The list of top ten airports for total passenger traffic is dominated by the United States, with top four slots occupied by American airports.

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta retained its position as the world’s busiest airport, having handled 9.37 crore passengers last year. It was followed by Dallas Airport, Denver Airport, and Chicago O’Hare Airport.

Other airlines in the top-10 list include Dubai Airport at 5th rank, Istanbul Airport reaching 7th position followed by London Heathrow Airport, Delhi Airport, and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in the 8th, 9th, and 10th spots respectively.

The IGI airport in New Delhi clocked a footfall of 59,490,074 in 2022 and climbed from its past rankings of 13th and 17th in 2021 and 2019 respectively.

The Delhi airport is India’s largest and the only airport from South and Southeast Asia to feature in ACI’s list of the 10 busiest airports.

Chinese Absence

It’s important to highlight that none of the Chinese airports made it to the list because the country was under stringent pandemic-related restrictions until late 2022.

In the ACI list for 2022 (based on 2021 traffic numbers), 8 of the top 10 busiest airports in the world were in the United States, and the remaining two were in China, namely, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Southern China’s Guangdong province and Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province,

However, with the relaxation of most of the curbs on international travel to and from China, its airports could potentially impact the rankings for 2024. China is currently the world’s second-largest aviation market, following the United States.

“The reopening of China, the second largest aviation market after the US, is now expected to bring an overall gain, both domestically and for international travel,” states ACI world director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

Skewed To Domestic Traffic

A discerning trend in this year’s ranking is the industry-wide dominance of domestic traffic.

All five American airports in the top-ten list of passenger handled have a significant domestic passenger share ranging between 75 per cent and 95 per cent and none of the US airports featured among the busiest airports by international passengers handled.

The same appears to be true for Delhi airport. Despite being ranked as the ninth busiest airport globally, the Delhi airport did not feature among the busiest airports by international passengers handled,

In essence, the airport’s improved ranking can be attributed largely to the resurgence of domestic passenger traffic in India.

Delhi is the home to the busiest Airport in India called the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI). It is the largest airport in our country, with over 950 flights departing each day. It comprises three Terminals with over 80 airlines operating out of them and is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

Its entry in top-10 club coincides with the government’s vocal aspirations to establish India as a major aviation center with multiple hubs, and recognizes the crucial role that large airports like Delhi will play in achieving this goal.