Top 10 Largest Airports in USA


Over 5000 passenger planes take off in the USA every day and they do this from the hundreds of airports that dot the country. The largest airports in the USA of course carry most of the traffic.

Many American cities have built huge airports with world-class infrastructure and cutting-edge technology to cater to the needs of the growing demand of passengers traveling by air. US airports are relatively huge compared to other countries.

Total global passengers in 2021 is estimated to be close to 4.5 billion, representing an increase of almost 25% from 2020, or a drop of more than 50% from 2019 results.

1. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas

Plans for the construction of the 17,050 acres DFW were unveiled back in 1940 following the allocation of US$ 1.9M by the Civil Aeronautics Administration for the implementation of the project. However, the project was put on hold until 1964, and construction began five years later.

The DFW opened for commercial operations in January 1974 with a total of four terminals. To date, the airport has a total of 5 terminals (A-E) and 182 gates, in addition to 7 runways. It is the 4th largest in the world.

In 2019, DFW airport, along with American Airlines, announced plans to build a 6th terminal, along with the addition of up to 24 new gates to Terminal F and renovations of Terminal C, at an estimated cost of US$ 3–3.5 billion.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas

2. Denver International Airport (DEN)

Denver International Airport is the world’s third-biggest as well as the biggest airport in the US. It is spread across huge 52.4 square miles. It is one of the biggest employers in Colorado with more than 35,000 staff.

The airport which opened in the year 1995 now has 23 airline companies with flights to more than 215 destinations. Denver International Airport served more than 58.8 million travelers in 2021.

Denver International Airport (DEN)

3. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

The sits on a 13,000 acres piece of land in the suburbs of downtown Washington, DC. The Main Terminal, which includes four of the original gates, “Z” gates, and designed by architect Eero Saarinen was opened in 1962 with the civil engineering firm Ammann and Whitney as the lead contractor.

In addition to the main terminal, which is highly regarded for its graceful beauty, the IAD’s terminal complex also includes two parallel midfield terminal buildings (Concourses A/B and C/D), a total of 123 gates, and 16 hardstand locations from where passengers can board or disembark using the airport’s plane mate vehicles.

The facility is connected to the region’s highway system by an Authority-operated, 16-mile Airport Access Highway dedicated to airport users.  A 23-mile expansion of the region’s Metrorail system that includes a station at Dulles is currently under construction.

The airport is currently the 3rd largest in the US and the 5th largest in the world.

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

4. Orlando International Airport, Florida (MCO)

Orlando International Airport is the third biggest airport in the US which is located in Orlando and home to Disney World. Disney World receives a footfall of around 58 million visitors every year and many of these visitors come by flight.

The Airport was planned accordingly 40 years ago covering an area of 60 square kilometers. The airport served approximately 40 million travelers in 2021.

MCO is the airport code for Orlando International Airport which was earlier a Strategic Air Command installation named McCoy Air Force Base. The airbase was closed in the year 1975 after the end of the Vietnam War.

Orlando International Airport, Florida (MCO)

5. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Texas 

George Bush Intercontinental Airport is located in Houston, Texas that is spread across 10,000 acres. In comparison to Washington Dulles International Airport, this airport is smaller in size. However, it handles 45 million passengers which is more than double the passenger traffic.

It was earlier known as Houston Intercontinental Airport, which was renamed later in 1997 in the honor of US President George H. W. Bush.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Texas 

6. Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Utah

The 7,700 acres civil-military airport is owned by the City of Salt Lake City and is administered by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.

It has four runways that are generally oriented in an NNW/SSE magnetic direction due to consistent prevailing winds in this direction, in addition to a single terminal with two concourses (A, which has 25 gates and 22 more opening in 2024 & B, which has 20 gates and 11 more opening in 2024) connected by an underground tunnel.

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Utah

7. O’Hare International Airport, Chicago (ORD)

O’Hare International Airport is America’s seventh biggest airport that sees more than 80 million passengers a year. O’Hare has 91 different gates and 7 runways.

O’Hare provides non-stop flights to around 228 destinations connecting various countries like North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, and the North Atlantic region.

O’Hare International Airport, Chicago (ORD)

8. San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California 

Owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, the SFO covers 5,207 acres of land and was it started operations in March 1927. It features four asphalt runways, four terminals (1, 2, 3, and International), and seven concourses (Boarding Areas A to G) with a total of 115 gates arranged alphabetically and counterclockwise.

The City and County of San Francisco is not only the owner of the airport but also operated by them. SFO is the second busiest airport in California and the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was reported as the world’s 24th-busiest by passenger count in 2017.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California 

9. John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

JFK is an international airport built on 5,200 acres piece of land in Jamaica, Queens, in the south-eastern part of New York City.

Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the airport has 6 operating airline terminals, 4 runways, and 128 aircraft gates that serve the terminals.

The facility opened back in 1948 as New York International Airport and was commonly known as Idlewild Airport before it was renamed following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the North American country.

John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

10. Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)

Detroit Metropolitan Airport is ranked in the tenth position in our list of the top 10 biggest airports in the US. It is located just outside of the city in Wayne County. This airport is very busy for its size which ferries around 34 million passengers in a year.

This airport which is relatively small compared to other airports has 103 gates and 4 concourses. As the airport becomes a more popular go-between and destination, it’s likely that they will expand to make the space even more enormous.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)