The 5 Most In-Demand Airports in the U.S.

As Denver International Airport reaches 200 nonstop destinations, it becomes the fifth most in-demand airport in the country

Denver International Airport

Anyone who has crisscrossed the United States at one point or another has probably stopped in Denver. If not for a visit, then certainly for a layover. That's because the Denver enjoys a strategic location in the middle of the country, which makes Denver International Airport (pictured) a logical crossroads in between East and West, as well as North and South.

But the Mile High City is more than a waypoint. Thanks to its vibrant attractions and thriving economy, it's also a destination in its own right — which in recent years has fueled increased visitation to Denver and, in turn, accelerated growth at Denver International Airport, where the addition of 17 new domestic routes in 2018 has helped the airport reach a new milestone: Soon, it will offer service to 200 destinations worldwide, it announced last week.

"Our air service network at Denver International Airport has emerged as one of our region's key competitive advantages," said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. "This unparalleled level of connectivity, and the residents and visitors who use it, has only bolstered our strong economic and tourism growth, and will continue to help Denver solidify our position as a global destination."

Service added this year at Denver International Airport includes new international flights to Paris and Zurich, as well as new domestic flights to Portland, Maine; Asheville, N.C.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C. — which previously were un-served by Denver, whose domestic network now includes nonstop access to 175 destinations in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The growth at Denver International Airport is especially good news for meeting planners hosting events in Denver, as additional service means not only increased connectivity for meeting attendees, but also increased competition for airlines -- which drives airfares down.

"Thanks to the growing network of domestic and international air connections, Denver has never been more convenient and accessible to business and leisure travelers," said Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, Denver's convention and visitors bureau. "In 2017 we welcomed a record number of visitors to Denver. I am confident the abundance of nonstop flight options will continue to make Denver a popular destination for years to come."

Top In-Demand Airports

With 29.8 million passengers every year, Denver International Airport is the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. And as it turns out, the only four U.S. airports that trump its traffic are growing with it. In descending order — from least to most busy — they are:

4. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

DFW hosts 31.8 million passengers every year and serves 233 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 176 domestic and 59 international destinations. Earlier this year, the airport added Iceland to its destination portfolio thanks to Wow air, Icelandair and American Airlines, all three of which begin flying from DFW to Iceland's Reykjavík-Keflavík International Airport. Starting in June 2019, American also will launch new nonstop flights from DFW to Dublin and Munich — both of which are new destinations for Dallas/Fort Worth. The former will be DFW's first nonstop flight to Ireland, while the latter will be its third nonstop flight to Germany.

3. O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Chicago's ORD hosts 38.5 million passengers every year and serves 225 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 167 domestic and 58 international destinations. In 2017, United Airlines increased its nonstop service from ORD to Maui, Hawiii — the only nonstop service between Chicago and Maui — from once per week to five times per week. And in November, the airline will commence Chicago's first nonstop service to New Zealand with a direct flight to Auckland aboard Air New Zealand, with which it has a partnership. German airline Airberlin, meanwhile, recently began operating nonstop flights between ORD and Dusseldorf, Germany.

2. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX hosts 41.2 million passengers every year and serves 188 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 100 domestic and 88 international destinations. Last year, the airport celebrated the addition of nonstop service to Singapore aboard United Airlines, whose 18-hour flight to Singapore is the longest nonstop flight to or from the United States. Although United recently announced that it will cease flying to Singapore in October — just a year after launching the service — Singapore Airlines will reinstate nonstop service to LAX in November after discontinuing it in 2014. Other airlines also have been beefing up international service to and from LAX; American Airlines began nonstop service from LAX to Beijing in November 2017, and in December will launch the first-ever nonstop flight from LAX to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Meanwhile, Delta Airlines in June began nonstop service from LAX to Paris and Amsterdam.

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

Hartsfield-Jackson hosts 50.2 million passengers every year and serves 225 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 150 domestic and 75 international destinations. In July, Delta Air Lines reinstated nonstop service from Atlanta to China's Shanghai Pudong International Airport — a route that it previously attempted in 2008, and again in 2010. Along with new destinations like Shanghai, Hartsfield-Jackson is growing thanks to the addition of new airlines: JetBlue Airways began service from Atlanta to Boston in 2017, and this spring added service from Atlanta Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and New York.