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Dallas-Fort Worth Airport lifts off as one of the world’s 5 busiest in 2020

DFW Airport lifts off as one of the world’s 5 busiest in 2020

DFW Airport
More than 39 million passengers flew through DFW Airport last year. Photo courtesy of Ibarra Engineers

The COVID-19 pandemic grounded a lot of air travel last year. Yet in an interesting twist, the pandemic also catapulted Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport onto the list of the world’s five busiest airports in 2020.

With 39,364,990 passengers, DFW appears at No. 4 among the world’s busiest airports for 2020, according to data released April 22 by Airports Council International, a trade group for airports. That represents a 47.6 percent drop from 2019, when DFW welcomed 75,066,956 passengers.

The 2020 ranking puts DFW in a new stratosphere. The airport held the No. 10 position on the list of the world’s busiest airports in 2019 and the No. 15 position in 2018.

DFW’s rise in the ranking comes at the expense of six pandemic-battered airports that fell out of the top 10 in 2020: Los Angeles International, Dubai International, Tokyo Haneda, Chicago O’Hare, London Heathrow, and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The airport in Guangzhou, China, tops the list for 2020, followed by Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport, the airport in Chengdu, China, and DFW. Only three U.S. airports appear in the top 10: Atlanta-Hartsfield (No. 2), D-FW (No. 4), and Denver International (No. 7). In 2019, Atlanta-Hartsfield reigned as the world’s busiest airport.

“The impact of the COVID-19 on global passenger traffic pandemic brought aviation to a virtual standstill in 2020, and we continue to face an existential threat,” Luis Felipe de Oliveira, general director of the airport council, says in a release. “The data ... reveals the challenge airports continue to face, and it remains imperative that the industry is supported through direct support and sensible policy decisions from governments to ensure that aviation can endure, rebuild connectivity, and fuel a global economic recovery.”

DFW obviously benefited last year from the airport’s status as the main hub for Fort Worth-based American Airlines, which is the biggest U.S. airline based on market share (19.3 percent). By the way, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines claims the No. 2 spot for market share among U.S. airlines (17.4 percent).

As air travel ramps up amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, American now allows customers to use biometric scanners to check their bags at DFW. Later this year, travelers will be able to take advantage of the same technology to enter an Admirals Club lounge at DFW.

In summer, DFW will be home to the first Capital One Lounge, a new place to eat, drink, and chill while waiting for a flight.