I suspect LHR/CDG/FRA either return to the list top 10 list for 2023 or are very close. I'm pretty sure AA is slated to operate more than 100 daily flights from their DFW than DL is from their ATL this summer - sort of thing the gap between those two may shrink this year.
Don't look at flight count, look at seats, especially on a list of world's busiest airports by passenger count. DL has traditionally operated higher avg gauge out of ATL.
This. Enplanement data counts more than aircraft movement data.
Correct, and with a lot of international airlines, and thus hubs, shedding a lot of their WB capacity during the pandemic this will affect the shape of the list in the years to come. Many airlines have shed A380s let alone 744s and 340s, and simply won’t have the seats to move pax across the world. Take BA, their WB fleet is a shadow of what it was before the pandemic as the airline had to react to the fact it can't fly everywhere it wanted to, let alone fill the planes. That will take years to build up again and that is a lot of pax not flowing through LHR for the years to come, and the same is true at many other hubs across the globe that are weighted more to international passenger traffic. The top end of the list will continue to be dominated by airports with more capacity for smaller planes, on shorter links, insulated from the global market with a stronger weighting to the domestic market. Funny enough, big US hubs, Chinese to a lesser degree, until the world really becomes normal again.
Having flown through both LHR and LGW in the last 2 weeks - especially since the start of the "summer schedules", I would not be surprised to see these numbers change in 2022 and more like pre-pandemic by 2023 reports. It really is great to be back flying and be number 8 in a take off queue - yes it sounds nuts, but even 12 months ago LGW was lucky to have 8 departures in a day, now they are up to 400 or so a day and we are not in peak season yet
There is no way European international airports such as LHR or LGW, or Asian airports for that matter, are going to be back at pre-pandemic levels in 2023, nor the list reflecting any form of 2019 ‘normality’ by next year. Most of Asia is still closed, LHR’s fifth biggest market is still shut, consumers and businesses are being battered by energy costs and the fall-out damage to the economy, again the US is more insulated than Europe.
The fact airlines who operate big hubs such as LH at FRA/MUC are not in any rush to reverse decisions regarding A380 withdrawals shows the sudden excitement of a shoot up in demand is relative to the pandemic, not in absolute level of numbers, and thus pax numbers through airports will be short of 2019 for a number of years to come, with the absolute pax numbers weighing heavily against airports such as LHR/FRA/CDG/SIN/HKG/DXB who are more reliant on international transfer pax.