Over 5000 passenger planes take off in the USA every day and they do this from the hundreds of airports that dot the country. The largest airports in the USA of course carry most of the traffic.
Below is a list of Top ten largest airports in the US in terms of acreage covered. Five have made it to the top ten largest in the world.
Denver International Airport (DIA), Colorado
Denver International Airport, locally known as DIA, is the largest airport in the USA, spread over 33,917 acres of land. It is also the third-largest airport in the world, following King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia at number two and Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) in China at number one.
Conceived in 1980 and opened to the public in February 1995, DIA has a total of six runways and one main terminal, Jeppesen Terminal, with a built-up area of more than 1.5 million square feet. It has three airside concourses and more than six million square feet of public space. Concourses A, B, and C have a total of 89 gates.
There are plans to construct four more runways, adding 20 gates to the existing concourses and constructing two more i.e. concourse D and E, among other improvements by the year 2035.
2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
Plans for the construction of the 17,050 acres DFW were unveiled back in 1940 following the allocation of US$ 1.9M by the Civil Aeronautics Administration for the implementation of the project. However, the project was put on hold until 1964, and construction began five years later.
The DFW opened for commercial operations in January 1974 with a total of four terminals. To date, the airport has a total of 5 terminals (A-E) and 182 gates, in addition to 7 runways. It is the 4th largest in the world.
In 2019, DFW airport, along with American Airlines, announced plans to build a 6th terminal, along with the addition of up to 24 new gates to Terminal F and renovations of Terminal C, at an estimated cost of US$ 3–3.5 billion.
Expected to be completed in 2025 the new terminal will provide the region with the growth it needs to compete with international business centers. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing of the project is currently in flux.
3. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
The sits on a 13,000 acres piece of land in the suburbs of downtown Washington, DC. The Main Terminal, which includes four of the original gates, “Z” gates, and designed by architect Eero Saarinen was opened in 1962 with the civil engineering firm Ammann and Whitney as the lead contractor.
In addition to the main terminal, which is highly regarded for its graceful beauty, the IAD’s terminal complex also includes two parallel midfield terminal buildings (Concourses A/B and C/D), a total of 123 gates, and 16 hardstand locations from where passengers can board or disembark using the airport’s plane mate vehicles.
The facility is connected to the region’s highway system by an Authority-operated, 16-mile Airport Access Highway dedicated to airport users. A 23-mile expansion of the region’s Metrorail system that includes a station at Dulles is currently under construction.
The airport is currently the 3rd largest in the US and the 5th largest in the world.
4. Orlando International Airport (OIA), Florida
The 11,609 acres airport has a hub-and-spoke layout with a large main terminal building that is divided into two i.e. Terminal A, on the building’s north side, and Terminal B, on the building’s south side.
I t has a total of four runways and four airside concourses Airside 1 (gates 1-29), Airside 2 (gates 100-129), Airside 3 (gates 30-59), and Airside 4 (gates 60-99) accessible via elevated people movers.
The airport is owned by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), and it is one of the few airports in the world that can accommodate the new-generation Class 6 aircraft. It is also used as a space shuttle emergency-landing site.
Opened for commercial services in 1981, the airport is the 4th largest in the US and the 6th largest in the world.
5. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Texas
Initially named as “Houston Intercontinental Airport”, the 10,000 acres airport was opened in 1969. It has a total of 5 runways and five terminals A, B, C, D, and E with 130 gates.
Skyways provides airside connections between all five terminals while Subways provides landside connections between the five terminals and the airport hotel (the Marriott).
IAH, 5th largest in the US and 7th largest in the world, is accessible via the landslide inter-terminal train which runs every 3 minutes from 3:30 am–12:30 am every day.
6. Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Utah
The 7,700 acres civil-military airport is owned by the City of Salt Lake City and is administered by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.
It has four runways that are generally oriented in an NNW/SSE magnetic direction due to consistent prevailing winds in this direction, in addition to a single terminal with two concourses (A, which has 25 gates and 22 more opening in 2024 & B, which has 20 gates and 11 more opening in 2024) connected by an underground tunnel.
SLC is the 12th largest in the World
7. O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
Operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation and covering 7,627 acres, began as an airfield serving a Douglas manufacturing plant for C-54 military transports during World War II.
To date, the airport is the 7th largest in the US and the 13th largest in the world with a total of four passenger terminals with nine lettered concourses and 191 gates.
It has two sets of parallel runways, one on either side of the terminal complex. The north airfield has three parallel east–west runways while the south airfield has three parallel east–west runways.
8. San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
Owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, the SFO covers 5,207 acres of land and was it started operations in March 1927. It features four asphalt runways, four terminals (1, 2, 3, and International), and seven concourses (Boarding Areas A to G) with a total of 115 gates arranged alphabetically and counterclockwise.
9. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
JFK is an international airport built on 5,200 acres piece of land in Jamaica, Queens, in the south-eastern part of New York City.
10. Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, commonly as “Detroit Metro,” opened on September 1930 at the corner of Middlebelt Road and Wick Road in Romulus, Michigan. It was and still is, owned by Wayne County and it was mainly used to send United States airmail.
Today the airport has six runways, two terminals, and a total of 129 in-service gates. It also has maintenance facilities capable of servicing and repairing aircraft as large as the Boeing 747-400.
The airport covers a total of 4,850 acres making it the 10th and the last in our list of the top ten largest airports in the US.