Release #: Vol. 84, No. 9
November 01, 2015

By the Numbers: Busiest Airports in the United States and Canada

The United States and Canada have robust domestic airline industries, and the yardstick that analysts frequently use to determine air transport performance is airport passenger counts. According to the Airports Council International (ACI), 1.6 billion passengers passed through North American airports during 2014, an increase of 3.2 percent over the previous year.

In fact, the world’s airports also reported increases, handling more than 6.7 billion passengers in 2014—5.7 percent more compared to the previous year’s numbers.

But enough about North American and global totals; the question is—which airport took the coveted distinction of busiest passenger airport in each of the two nations?

The Winners Are...

Top U.S. Busiest Airport ATL

Top U.S. Airport:

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

2014 Passenger Count: 96+ million
2014 Enplanements: 46+ million
In 2014, ATL retained its title as busiest airport; however, that achievement isn’t without controversy. Naysayers argue Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) edged out ATL last year by total number of flight operations. ACI reported that ORD had more than 881,000 “total movements,” surpassing ATL with its mere 868,000-plus flight operations.

Top Canadian Busiest Airport YYZ

Top Canadian Airport:

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

2014 Passenger Count: 37+ million 
2014 Enplanements: 19 million
YYZ was Canada’s busiest airport with almost 38 million passengers moving through its terminal in 2014. The airport’s website touts, “When you consider that Canada’s population is roughly 36 million, that’s more than our entire country.”

YYZ’s closest Canadian competitor is Vancouver International Airport, which boarded more than 9 million passengers in 2014.