Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, February 5, 2015



The figures came in last week.  There is a new Top Dog when it comes to the world's busiest airport. Dubai International Airport logged in 70.5 million passengers in 2014. London's Heathrow...long the reigning champion in this category...serviced 68.1 million international travelers last year and is now in second place. How did Dubai do it? First: Location, Location, Location. 70% of the world's population lives within a four-hour flight away. Second: Emirates Airlines is based there. With sleek Airbus A380 SuperJumbo jets, they are now the world's fifth largest fleet. Lastly: Dubai is "in." Remember the Mission Impossible movie? Tom Cruise scaled the Burj in an unforgettable scene. Recently, Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez partied in the exclusive nightclubs. Sorry, Las Vegas, but Dubai is hotter!

Not so fast, Dubai! There are more ways than one to measure who is #1 when it comes to the title of World's Busiest. In fact, if you measure Total Passengers, not just International Passengers, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta is numero uno. It posted 72 million total travelers last year, thus besting Dubai. Since Atlanta has tons of short flights to boring places like Charlotte and Chattanooga this accomplishment becomes a bit tainted.

Hold on, Atlanta! The number of passengers doesn't matter...but the number of planes does. Specifically, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport can boast the most total number of plane movements; a departure or landing. Using this criteria, ORD is tops with 659,401 different aircraft coming and going from this important domestic hub. Many people have never been to the city of Chicago, but have transferred between flights at the airport numerous times!

Wait a second, Chicago! There is yet another way to measure who is the busiest airport on earth. People and planes don't matter...but Cargo does. And if we measure the total tons of commercial traffic handled at one airport, Hong Kong International is the busiest. A whopping 3,214,000 tons of cargo was shipped from Lantau Island's runways last year. NOTE: This just barely bests Memphis, home to the FedEx Empire.

Boy...now everyone must be thoroughly confused. Which statistic truly measures the World's Busiest Airport? Don't worry. We here at the DUNER BLOG naturally have the answer, and it's not one of the four categories discussed above. Nope, the true measure is how much people spent on Duty-Free shopping. With $2. billion in sales, it topped Seoul's Incheon International ($1.9 billion) for the top shot. Dubai Wins!

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