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In a world that is continuously shrinking thanks to advancements in technology, airports have played an increasingly important role in modern society. The airport is a modern hub, both literally and figuratively acting as the connection between people around the world, and has become a symbol of globalization. Many people rely on airports to facilitate cultural and economic exchanges, and to promote international business.

Busiest Airports in US

With over 500 commercially operated airports in the United States, travelers have many options before them when choosing flights. The major airports in the United States are regional hubs, each serving one of the major regions in the country with airline and destination specialties.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that in 2011, commercial airlines serving the United States carried over 803 million passengers around the globe on almost 10 million flights. Below is a list of the ten busiest airports in the United States in 2010. The list, composed of data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, reflects the U.S. airports that have seen the highest number of passengers arrive or depart annually in 2010. Several of the airports have also made the 2011 list for top ten busiest airports in the world, including Hartsfield-Jackson, Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles, and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Historically, the title of busiest airport has been claimed by a few different airports. In the 1940s, Chicago Midway International Airport held the claim for the busiest airport in the world. Before World War II, Chicago Midway was involved in a quarter of all U.S. airline flights. In the 1950s, New York LaGuardia took the lead for the most airline operations and passengers, but then Chicago O'Hare surpassed them all around 1961, holding the title of World's Busiest Airport for many years to come. Even in recent history, Chicago O'Hare has had the highest number of passengers, as well as arrivals and departures for periods of several years at a time. But today, O'Hare has been subject to restrictions based on the limitations of its facilities, as regulated by federal government, and has been overtaken by Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson in the rankings. Airports can move up or down on the list of busiest airports in the United States for a few reasons, including major airlines opening or closing their hubs at the airport, government restrictions, or new construction.

The airport's location plays a huge role in the amount of traffic the airport receives. The airport receives more traffic when it is located in the center of a region, like Chicago O'Hare is for the Midwest, or when the airport is located near the East Coast as an entryway for international travel, like JFK International airport, for example.

The list of the top ten busiest airports in the United States can be important to travelers to know. Airports higher on the list are typically busy because there are many flights available each day, meaning travelers have more options for airlines, destinations, and flight times. On the other hand, busy airports are often subject to delays because of the number of flights needing to take off and the number of passengers needing to get through security, leading to longer wait times. However, airports on the top ten busiest airports list have also benefited from their high amount of traffic, improving facilities and providing advanced services to their customers. High-tech features are available at many of these high-traffic airports, like Hartsfield-Jackson's Trak-a-Line, which notifies travelers of wait times via their smart phones. New construction for better layouts, internal airport transportation, and new technological features all allow busy airports to better handle the many people that pass through these airports each day.

While passengers make their connecting flights, airports continue to play an essential role in connecting people. Check out the links for helpful guides on each of the airports, with information on the airport's facilities, major airlines, and more.

Airports with the highest number of passengers in 2010:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta, Georgia)

  2. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago, Illinois)

  3. Los Angeles International Airport (Los Angeles, California)

  4. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (Dallas, Texas)

  5. Denver International Airport (Denver, Colorado)

  6. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York, New York)

  7. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston, Texas)

  8. San Francisco International Airport (San Francisco, California)

  9. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas, Nevada)

  10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (Phoenix, Arizona)



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