Apr 14, 2022 - Business

O'Hare named fourth-busiest airport in the world

Busiest airports worldwide, 2021
Data: Airports Council International. Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

O'Hare International Airport is the fourth-busiest airport in the world, according to 2021 data gathered by Airports Council International (ACI).

Why it matters: Chicago's air travel industry is bouncing back after the pandemic.

  • Busy airports can mean cheaper and more frequent flights, but also long lines at security and baggage claim.
  • During a week like CPS' spring break, these are no small factors for local travelers.

By the numbers: O'Hare was named the fourth-busiest global airport after serving around 54 million passengers last year, per the ACI.

  • 2020: 13th-busiest.
  • 2019: Sixth-busiest.

Zoom out: ACI estimates the number of global passengers in 2021 was nearly 4.5 billion.

  • That's a 25% increase from 2020, but a more than 50% drop from 2019.

State of play: O'Hare's average wait time for security and passport control is almost 40 minutes. That's the fifth-longest in the U.S., according to TSA data analyzed by storage company Bounce.

  • Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and San Francisco have the longest wait times.
  • Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore/Washington, and Charlotte Douglas have the shortest.

What's next: "The momentum created by the reopening plans of countries could lead to an uptick in travel in the second half of 2022," ACI world director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said in a statement.


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