Every year, millions of people travel to the United States of America by air. The state-of-the-art airport infrastructures are gateways to this incredibly diverse country. It isn’t surprising that US airports draw significant crowds and dominate the world’s busiest rankings. But which airports handle the maximum international passenger traffic in the US? Let’s look at the top 5 busiest airports in the US by international passenger traffic.
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
The US quintessential melting pot, New York is the most recognizable airline destination in the world. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the primary gateway for international visitors to this populous city. In 2021, a total of 12,466,165 foreign passengers passed through its airport. The pre-pandemic passenger record was even higher, standing at 33 million.
The key airlines ferrying many foreign visitors to/from this airport include American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta Airlines, etc. The European carriers scooting travelers to JFK include Aer Lingus, Air Europa, Air France, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, KLM, Norse Atlantic Airways, etc.
The South American visitors jetting off to JFK Airport use carriers like Avianca, LATAM Brasil, LATAM Chile, etc. JFK Airport also has a significant presence of Asian carriers like Air India, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Japan Airlines, etc.
2. Miami International Airport (MIA)
Dubbed “The Magic City,” Miami intrigues visitors with its vibrant culture and outstanding infrastructure. Miami International Airport (MIA) is the aerial doorway to the second-largest tourism hub for international travelers in the US. So, it’s obvious that it holds the second spot on the busiest US airport rankings by international passenger traffic. In 2021, the airport saw more than 11 million international passenger departures and arrivals. Miami Airport receives a lot of business travelers as the city has a high concentration of international companies.
In light of Miami’s significant commercial and cultural ties to Latin America, several Latin American carriers offer services to Miami. They include Aeromexico, Boliviana de Aviacion, Aerolineas Argentinas, Gol Transportes Aereos, LATAM, Sky Airline Peru, Sky High, etc.
3. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the primary airport serving the nexus of the global entertainment industry-the iconic Los Angeles.
With nearly 8 million foreign passengers, LAX Airport was the third busiest US airport by int. traffic volume in 2021. More than 25 million non-national passengers used this airport in the pre-pandemic year. The US airlines carrying international travelers to/from LAX include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and United Airlines. Besides, several foreign carriers like Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, etc., serve this airport.
4. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) handles the fourth-largest international passenger traffic in the US. The Houston, Texas-located airport handled more than 6 million international passenger movements in 2021. Houston is the fourth-most populous and the largest city by land area in the country. So, it seems fitting that IAH Airport, serving the city, welcomes a significant number of foreign visitors. In 2020, the international air traffic volume was reduced by nearly half (3.5 million) in this airport.
The airport has a good connection to an extensive network of international destinations covering five continents. This airport’s significant carriers include Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, etc.
5. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
The fifth busiest airport in the US for international passenger traffic is Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Situated about 4.5 miles south of downtown Newark, the airport receives a huge number of foreign visitors every year. It owes the fifth position to its well-connected routes to points in Europe, South America, Asia, and Oceania. EWR Airport hosts operations of around 50 airlines, both home-based and international.
The year 2021 saw a total of 6,250,880 international passengers for EWR Airport. In 2019, the international air traffic volume surpassed 14 million. The anchor airline of this airport is United Airlines, which holds 68% of its market share in Newark. EWR airport is the fortress hub for United’s East Coast operations. It handles the carrier’s flight service to Europe and select destinations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Other significant carriers are contributing to ever-increasing international passenger traffic at EWR Airport. They include Aer Lingus, Air France, Air India, British Airways, Emirates, La Compagnie, Lufthansa, Lot Polish, etc.