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Which airports consume the most fuel for aircraft refueling, and how much fuel do they use? I was able to find that "Heathrow uses about 20m litres of fuel a day", but it isn't easy to find figures for other airports.

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The best data I could find is in this paper about biofuels, which has data for US airports in 2014. Based on my reading of the chart on page 14 and some conversion:

Airport  Millions of barrels per year
KLAX     48.6
KJFK     43.5
KATL     30.8
KORD     30.5
KSFO     28.3
KMIA     26.0
KDFW     25.4
PANC     19.0

Comparing this to the top US airports in 2013, it is interesting to note that LAX and JFK use significantly more fuel than KATL, despite passenger traffic figures ranked the other way. Also notable is Anchorage showing up here right after DFW, while MIA and ANC are the only ones not in the top 10 by passengers, showing up at 11th and 58th, respectively.

Figures for other countries have been harder to find. This article from 2004 estimates the Dubai International usage at 24.2 million barrels that year, which has certainly grown since then. The 2012-2013 environmental report from Emirates Group lists their consumption at 73.9 million barrels, and half of this figure would be in line with the other numbers available.

I found a similar figure for Heathrow, listing it at 20-25 million liters per day, depending on season, which gives a range of 61.2 to 76.5 million barrels per year, well ahead of the US airports.

Becoming even fuzzier, the pipeline to Narita Airport in Tokyo transported 130 billion liters in its first 30 years of operation, which averages out to 36.3 million barrels per year.

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    $\begingroup$ Anchorage is a major refueling stop for freight, being toward the middle of the great circle route for much of North America to much of East Asia. $\endgroup$ – digitgopher Nov 20 '15 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ LAX and JFK both have massive amounts of long-haul traffic, much more than Atlanta. Atlanta, on the other hand, has more domestic passengers than JFK and LAX put together. While MIA is not in the top 10 by total passengers, it's number 2 by international passengers, with almost half of its passenger traffic being international, so that's why it makes the list. ANC makes the list primarily for the reason digitgopher mentioned, though the fact that much of Alaska is accessible only by air also adds to this. $\endgroup$ – reirab Nov 20 '15 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ fooot - thank-you very much. It is good to have complete U.S. numbers, and the Dubai report is a good find as this airport must be a candidate for number one. $\endgroup$ – Crosbie Nov 21 '15 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a claim of 12.8 million liters per day for Narita: Jet fuel consumption in Japan $\endgroup$ – Crosbie Nov 21 '15 at 8:41
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I found a few sources of data that is close but not specifically what you are looking for (Im going to keep looking)

Here is the total Jet fuel consumption reported by the DOT (you can filter by airline/carrier)

Here is the Jet fuel consumption by state in the USA

Here is an interesting report on fuel storage at airports.

Im sure the number vary over time as well as seasonly depending on where in the world you are talking about. On one hand you can argue that the distance/weight comparison of airports may be a useful metric. If we assume planes are least efficient and require the most fuel when flying far and heavy the airport with the greatest departing mass/distance value could shed some light on the number you are looking for (I have no idea how to figure out that number for the record).

Keep in mind that there is a growing number of planes that are running on Jet A1. A solid chunk of the smaller charter fleet that runs Turbo Props runs on Jet A1 as well as planes like the Piper Meridian and other similar turbo props sneaking their way into the GA market. To round it out diesel GA planes run on Jet-A1 and things like the Diamond-DA42 are making an impact on the GA market and increasing Jet-A1 consumption even if just marginally. That all being said just because a state has a single large or even mega sized airport other states with lots of GA or small charter traffic out of little fields may be able to keep up.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer so far! I actually started out doing the opposite. I wondered at which airports the highest number of passenger miles terminate, and fuel seemed like a reasonable proxy for that number. But it's quite an interesting topic in itself. I'm finding the per-state numbers hard to interpret - Georgia is listed as consuming just 3,833 thousand barrels per year, despite the presence of ATL. $\endgroup$ – Crosbie Nov 19 '15 at 21:33
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Easiest way is just to look at the busiest airports in the world, they have the most planes flying in and out, therefore, they have to fuel more.

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    $\begingroup$ That's probably close, but not necessarily an accurate metric: Airlines will tanker fuel if it's substantially cheaper at another airport (i.e. "If the cost of fuel at the busy airport exceeds the cost of hauling the extra weight from the less busy field the plane was at previously"). $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Nov 19 '15 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ Another factor would be the type of traffic. An airport with a lot of international traffic on large planes may use more fuel. For example, even if Atlanta is the busiest in the world, somewhere like Dubai might use more fuel. $\endgroup$ – fooot Nov 19 '15 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot Yeah, the 30-minute hops from Atlanta to Nashville don't use quite the same amount of fuel as, say, Atlanta to Incheon. While Atlanta has an absolutely massive amount of domestic traffic (IIRC, its domestic passenger throughput alone is higher than the total passenger throughput of any other airport in the world,) it doesn't have as much long-haul traffic as a lot of other airports. On the other hand, I'm not sure how fuel consumption per passenger compares between lots of small and medium-sized aircraft vs. fewer large aircraft. $\endgroup$ – reirab Nov 20 '15 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ You also have to consider that long haul flights are more fuel efficient. The aircraft generally fly higher and can take advantage of the jet stream. $\endgroup$ – user23614 Nov 22 '15 at 15:42

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