What Is The World’s Largest Airport? (you won’t believe its size!)

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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.

The busiest single-runway commercial airport is London’s Gatwick International Airport (LGW) at more than 260,000 aircraft movements

The world longest commercial airport runway is Ulyanovsk-Vostochny International Airport (ULY), in Russia, with runway 02/20 being a staggering 16,404 ft x 310ft.

The world’s shortest commercial airport runway by contrast is Saba International Airport (SAB), in the British Virgin Island, at only 1,312 ft.

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!

Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH) is a massive 484-square miles.

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.

Happy Flying!



  1. Mike,

    There are many airports larger than AMS in terms of ground space, terminal space, gates and aircraft movements. That said … I love AMS!

    Happy Flying!


  2. Yes,Even I Love Schipol Airport of AMS.Its the best Airport in the world for MCT which is just 40mts during transit.

  3. Indeed Saba may have the shortest runway but Saba is not one of the BVI (British Virgin Islands). Saba together with neighboring St. Eustatius and the leeward island Bonaire is a municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

  4. Sorry but i just wanted to rectify A simple thing posted above , Bahrain international airport is in muharraq an island located beside manama( the capital) muharraq is just beside manama with a distance of 6 kilometers between those 2 major cities. Sorry if i spoke too much !

  5. According to Wikipedia, King Fahd International Airport (DMM) is the largest airport in the world now, King Khalid International Airport (RUH) is the largest airport in the world until 1999 when King Fahd International Airport completed, I hope you can revise this article with the actual facts.

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