12 Largest Airports in the World by Size (in 2024)

by Jem
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Welcome to 2024, where the world’s largest airports are redefining travel. Get ready to discover mega-hubs like King Fahd International and Beijing Daxing. These airports are vast gateways opening up a world of new adventures!

Imagine stepping into an airport so vast, it could be its own city. That’s what we’re diving into: the world’s biggest airports by size. Picture King Fahd International in Saudi Arabia, sprawling over an incredible 780 square kilometers. It’s not just an airport – it’s a sprawling expanse that could swallow entire cities!

These places are more than spots where planes land and take off. They’re like countries unto themselves, with their own rules, their own life, and endless stories to tell. We’ll wander through the sprawling spaces of Beijing Daxing, with its starfish-shaped terminal and futuristic design. And let’s not forget about Denver International, a behemoth in its own right, with runways so long, they seem to stretch into the horizon.

In this guide, I’ll take you into the fascinating world of air travel, where every stop is an adventure. If you’re a seasoned traveler or simply curious about the world’s biggest airport, you’re in for a treat. Let’s get started!

Largest Airports in the World right now

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Now, let’s dive into the world’s biggest airports in 2024.

The World’s Biggest Airports in 2024

Below are the top 12 biggest airports, in countries including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and the USA.

1. King Fahd International Airport (DMM)

​​Step into King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia and you’re stepping into a record-breaker! Covering a staggering 780 square kilometers (about 301 square miles), King Fahd International Airport is the biggest airport in the world. It’s so big, it eclipses several countries in size. Imagine an airport larger than Malta, Vatican City, and even neighboring Bahrain!

The terminal, covering 327,000 square meters, is a bustling hub for over 10 million travelers each year. Its two 4,000-meter runways accommodate the biggest birds in the sky. But what really makes King Fahd International stand out are its connections. The most popular routes include flights to Dubai, Cairo, and Istanbul.

Dammam, the airport’s home, is a hidden gem in Saudi Arabia. It’s a city where modernity meets tradition, offering stunning coastlines, cultural landmarks, and a peek into the Kingdom’s vibrant heart. It’s a city I definitely recommend visiting!

The world's largest airport is King Fahd International Airport.
The world’s largest airport is King Fahd International Airport.

2. King Khalid International Airport (RUH)

Let me take you to King Khalid International Airport, a true giant in Riyadh. With an area of 225 square kilometers (about 87 square miles), it’s the second-largest airport in the world after King Fahd International. It’s not just its size that’s impressive, though.

This airport is a hive of activity, serving as the primary gateway to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s bustling capital. With five terminals and constant flights, it’s always alive with travelers. The most popular routes include Dubai, Jeddah, and Cairo.

Riyadh itself is a must-visit. It’s a city where skyscrapers touch the sky and ancient traditions are still cherished. From shopping in luxurious malls to exploring historical sites, Riyadh has it all. Trust me, whether you’re just passing through or staying in Riyadh, King Khalid International is your gateway to an adventure in this dynamic city.

Let me show you around RUH, one of Riyadh’s great giants. | Image Credit: King Khalid International Airport

3. Denver International Airport (DEN)

Welcome to Denver International Airport, the biggest airport in the US! Spanning a massive 53 square miles, it’s not just big, it’s colossal. That’s larger than the cities of Boston, Miami, or San Francisco. Imagine an airport where the runways and terminals stretch as far as the eye can see.

Denver International is a bustling hub, connecting travelers to destinations far and wide. If you’re heading to a domestic hotspot or an international locale, this airport is your gateway.

And let’s talk about Denver! This city is a treasure trove of experiences. Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, it offers a blend of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure. From exploring the vibrant arts scene to hiking in breathtaking landscapes, there’s no shortage of things to do in Denver.

If you’re just passing through or here to explore, Denver International Airport is your starting point for an unforgettable Colorado adventure.

Envision Denver International Airport where the runways and terminals extend infinitely.
Envision DEN with endless runways and terminals extending to the horizon.

4. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, or KUL, is a marvel in Malaysia. As the biggest airport in Asia, KUL is a massive 100-square-kilometer (39-square-mile) world of its own. That’s more than eight times the size of London Heathrow!

KUL is unique with its two terminals, almost like separate airports. Terminal 1 is the main hub, bustling with airlines like Malaysia Airlines, British Airways, and Emirates. Terminal 2, on the other hand, is a haven for low-cost travel, dominated by AirAsia. It’s a perfect blend of luxury and budget-friendly options.

Transferring between these terminals is a breeze, thanks to a free shuttle bus service. Whether you’re catching a long-haul flight or hopping around Asia, KUL connects you seamlessly.

Kuala Lumpur is one of my favorite cities in the world. From towering skyscrapers to lush green parks, the city is a blend of modernity and tradition. There’s so much to explore, from street food adventures to cultural landmarks. It’s the getaway to the most beautiful places in Malaysia.

With its two terminals, KUL is distinct from other airports.
KUL connects you easily whether you’re traveling across Asia or on a long-haul journey.

5. Istanbul Airport (IST)

Next up on our list of the world’s largest airports is Istanbul Airport (IST), covering 29.5 square miles. This giant is making waves as a future contender for the title of the world’s busiest airport. With its grand opening in 2019, IST is set to serve a staggering 200 million passengers yearly by 2025. Nestled 22 miles from Istanbul, it’s got the space and ambition to expand massively.

IST is a gateway to the enchanting city of Istanbul. The airport’s modern design, including its iconic tulip-shaped tower, mirrors the city’s blend of tradition and innovation. Inside, you’re treated to Turkish Airlines’ luxurious lounges and a variety of dining options.

Now, if you’re heading into Istanbul, get ready for a city that’s a feast for the senses. From the historic grandeur of the Hagia Sophia to the vibrant colors and scents of the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul is a city that never fails to amaze. My advice? Take a Bosphorus cruise. It’s the best way to see the city from a different perspective.

With six runways in the works, IST is evolving into a global aviation powerhouse. Whether you’re passing through or diving into Istanbul’s wonders, this airport is your starting point for an adventure!

INSIDER TIP: Again, I highly recommend signing up for Going.com (Scott’s Cheap Flights) to find the best deals. Last year, I got an email alert on a $429 roundtrip fare from Boston to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. The premium version is 100% worth the money, but I would at least sign up for the free version to save big on airfare this year.

Istanbul's allure may be reached through IST.
Istanbul’s allure may be reached through IST.

6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

The second-largest airport in the US is Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), a true titan at 26 square miles. That’s bigger than the island of Manhattan, and it even has its own zip code! With five terminals and 168 gates, DFW is a powerhouse in the aviation world.

American Airlines calls DFW home, and it’s easy to see why. This airport is a leader in sustainability, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2030 with a zero-carbon electrical plant. Seven runways here manage over 73 million passengers a year. Inside, you’ve got a feast of food choices, a walking path, and even a yoga studio to unwind.

Now, about Dallas. This city is as lively as its airport. You’ve got the arts district buzzing with creativity and Dealey Plaza, steeped in history. My personal recommendation? Don’t miss the Sixth Floor Museum. It’s a fascinating journey through time.

DFW goes beyond being one of the biggest airports in the US. It kicks off your adventure to discover all the amazing things to do in Dallas. Stopping over or planning to soak up the city’s energy, DFW is your starting point for an unforgettable Texas experience.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the second-largest airport in the U.S.
DFW, at 26 square miles, is a genuine titan and the second-largest airport in the United States.

7. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)

Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers (RSW) is a hidden gem, covering a vast 21.2 square miles. While it might not be the busiest in terms of passenger numbers, handling 8.9 million fliers in 2023, its size is impressive. It’s the third largest airport in the U.S. after Denver and DFW.

RSW serves as a perfect starting point to explore Florida’s southwest region. Think destinations like Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples, Marco Island, and Punta Gorda. The airport’s large footprint includes 6,000 acres of protected swamp lands, a commitment to environmental conservation.

Now, if you find yourself in Fort Myers, you’re in for a treat. I recommend checking out the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. It’s not only beautiful but also packed with history. And for a day at the beach, head over to Sanibel Island. The sunsets there are absolutely breathtaking.

RSW might not be the busiest airport in the US, but it’s your ticket to some of Florida’s most beautiful and laid-back spots. It’s all about sun, sea, and nature here in Southwest Florida.

After DFW and Denver, it is the third-biggest airport in the United States.
After DFW and Denver, it is the third-biggest airport in the United States. | Image Credit: Southwest Florida International Airport

8. Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is a launchpad to adventure, covering about 18 square miles. Located just six miles from downtown Orlando, it’s the main international gateway to central Florida and its legendary theme parks.

MCO stands out with nonstop service from 48 international destinations. It’s a bustling hub that brings people from all over the world to experience the magic of this family-friendly resort destination. And the airport keeps growing! Last year, it opened the new $2.8 billion Terminal C, and the private high-speed rail line Brightline recently unveiled a station right at the airport.

If you’re in Orlando, you’re in for a world of fun. There’s plenty of attractions in Orlando, but you can’t go wrong with a visit to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios. For something a bit different, try exploring the Kennedy Space Center. It’s a day trip that’s out of this world!

Wondering which airport is biggest in the US? Orlando ranks as #4. It’s your starting point for all the coolest things to do in Florida. From roller coasters to rocket ships, Orlando is a city where dreams come true.

With nonstop service from 48 foreign locations, MCO stands out.
With nonstop service from 48 foreign locations, MCO stands out. | Image Credit: Orlando International Airport

9. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Dive into the world of Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), a sprawling expanse covering 13,000 acres (20.3 square miles). Once seen as a white elephant due to its rural location and 30 miles distance from the capital, Dulles has transformed into a major East Coast international hub. It’s a significant gateway for United Airlines, boasting 61 international destinations.

Dulles’ striking terminal is a marvel in itself. While the drive from the district can still take a while, the Metro line expansion offers a convenient public transit alternative.

If you’re around Dulles, don’t miss exploring the nearby areas. My recommendation? Take a day trip to the stunning Shenandoah National Park. It’s a refreshing escape into nature. Or, for a dose of history, head to the nearby Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It’s an aviation enthusiast’s dream!

Washington Dulles is your starting point for discovering the most beautiful places in and around Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

The spectacular terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport is a spectacle unto itself.
The spectacular terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport is a spectacle unto itself.

10. Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX)

Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) is a marvel in the world of aviation, boasting one of the world’s largest airport terminals. PKX is the tenth largest airport in the world, covering 18 square miles (the equivalent of 8,712 soccer fields!). Since its opening in 2019, Daxing has set its sights high, aiming to handle 100 million travelers by 2040.

Covering an expansive 6,620 acres, Daxing is a mega-airport in the making. With plans to expand from four to seven runways, it’s gearing up to become a major global hub. This airport is a symbol of ambition and futuristic design.

If you’re visiting Beijing, Daxing is your first glimpse into a city rich in history and modernity. I’d recommend taking a walk along the Great Wall or exploring the Forbidden City. These are some of the best places in China and experiences that stay with you.

Beijing Daxing is more than a massive airport. It’s your starting point for an unforgettable journey into Beijing. Imagine walking the Great Wall or exploring the ancient mysteries of the Forbidden City. These aren’t just tourist spots – they’re gateways to centuries of history. Daxing brings you right to the doorstep of these incredible experiences in China.

With one of the biggest airport terminals in the world, Beijing Daxing International Airport is a marvel of aviation.
With one of the biggest airport terminals in the world, Beijing Daxing International Airport is a marvel of aviation.

11. George Bush International Airport (IAH)

Stepping into George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, you’re entering a vast world of 17.19 square miles (44.5 square kilometers). It’s Houston’s largest airport and a powerhouse in international travel, even outdoing its Texas cousin DFW in global connections.

IAH is a hub that truly lives up to its ‘Intercontinental’ name, with flights reaching every corner of the world, except Antarctica. Thanks to the United-Continental merger in 2010, it’s bustling as a major United Airlines hub. Picture this: five runways, five terminals, and an on-site hotel – it’s almost like a mini-city dedicated to air travel.

Houston itself is a city that’s as big-hearted as it is large. You’ve got the Space Center for your cosmic curiosities and the Museum District for a culture fix. My personal favorite? The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It’s an experience that’s all Texas and all fun.

You enter a huge universe when you arrive at Houston's IAH.
You enter a huge universe when you arrive at Houston’s IAH. | Image Credit: Houston Airport System

12. Kansas City International Airport (MCI)

Last up on our list of the biggest airports worldwide is Kansas City International Airport (MCI), sprawling over an impressive 10,680 acres. That’s about 16.7 square miles of aviation hustle and bustle. While it may not be the busiest in terms of passenger traffic, its sheer size is a marvel.

MCI is known for its convenience and easy layout, making it a favorite among travelers. With its three runways and multiple terminals, MCI efficiently handles both domestic and international flights.

Kansas City is a place brimming with jazz, mouthwatering barbecue, and rich history. If you’re in town, I recommend checking out the National WWI Museum and Memorial. It’s a powerful and moving experience. For a lighter side of the city, explore the vibrant Power & Light District.

MCI might be the last on our list, but it’s definitely not the least. It’s your gateway to the heart of America, where every visit is as welcoming as the Midwest itself.

Travelers love MCI because of its straightforward layout and reputation for ease.
Travelers love MCI because of its straightforward layout and reputation for ease.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the World’s Biggest Airports

Are you still curious about which airport is the biggest in the world? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help answer your queries.

Is Heathrow one of the biggest airports in the world?

Heathrow Airport, while one of the busiest in terms of passenger traffic, isn’t one of the largest when it comes to physical size. It’s known more for its high volume of international passengers.

What is the largest airport in the world by size?

King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, holds the title for the largest airport in the world by size. It covers a staggering 780 square kilometers (about 301 square miles).

Which airport is the biggest in Europe?

In terms of passenger traffic, London Heathrow Airport is the biggest airport in Europe. However, if we’re talking about physical size, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is one of the largest, covering about 32.38 square kilometers (12.5 square miles).

It's more than simply an airport; it's a vast area the size of several cities.
It’s more than simply an airport; it’s a vast area the size of several cities.

What airport has the most runways?

Chicago O’Hare International Airport has the most runways of any airport in the world, with a total of 8 runways.

What airport has the most flights per day?

Before the pandemic, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the USA had the most flights per day. It’s renowned for being one of the busiest airports in terms of both passenger traffic and flight operations.

What is the smallest airport in the world?

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on the Caribbean island of Saba is often considered the smallest airport in the world. Its runway is just 400 meters (1,312 feet) long, barely enough for small aircraft to land and take off.

Reminder: Don’t forget to sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to get the best possible deal on international airfare this year!

Largest Airports in the World right now
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