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9/01/2009 – What Is The World’s Largest Airport? (you won’t believe its size!)
There are a lot of statistics travelers like to know, some are basic, some more advanced, and some have answers that are just staggering.
A common curiosity is what is the busiest commercial airport. This distinction goes firmly to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL). With more than 970,000aircraft movements annually, it takes top honors.
But what is the world’s largest commercial airport? You’d expect to hear Atlanta, New York’s JFK, Los Angeles’s LAX, London Heathrow, Singapore’s Changi International or possibly Dubai International. The right answer is an airport few travelers will ever encounter, probably never transit, and have a hard time applying for a Visa to get to.
So where is the world’s largest commercial airport?
Riyadh Saudi Arabia is home to the world’s largest commercial airport. In fact no other airport even comes close!
For a point of reference, Saudi Arabia’s neighbouring country of Bahrain is only roughly 385-square miles (according to Bahrain, other sources list it everywhere from 255-sq miles to 390-sq miles). Bahrain, while small is not as small as you might think. At roughly 3.5 times the size of Washington DC, it is home to its own significant international airport, Bahrain International Airport (BAH), in Manama, which is home to the 4-star international carrier Gulf Air.
Queens County, in New York City, is a mere 109 square miles, and Queens County is home to both JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, both highly ranked airports in terms of daily flight movements and destinations served. In fact the Five Boros of New York City combined are only 303-square miles.
King Khalid International Airport (RUH) , is home to Saudi Arabian Airlines. RUH operates two parallel runways, both at 13,780 feet, which can handle the largest commercial aircraft operated in the world, has four modern terminals, although it only operates out of three terminals.
For those interested in architecture, the most distinct feature of RUH is the Mosque in the center of the complexes that can accommodate up to 5,000 worshipers at the same time. There is nothing small about this airport; the landscaping is in comprised of more than 225,000 trees!
While much of the actual airport’s land-property is unused, and the passenger traffic moved is far less than many other international airports, King Khalid International Airport is however by far the largest airport anywhere.