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While viewing videos from one personal that has been to every country he mentioned that it was easier for him to see new countries because the airport close to him had so many flights to other countries. This made me curious:

Which airport has direct (non-stop) passenger flights to the most other countries and how many?

Although it makes only a difference of one, let's exclude domestic flights for the case where an airport also serves as domestic airport. Flights must be regularly scheduled, although they can be seasonal, and available to book for individual passengers, to exclude chartering an airline and private flights.

Bonus Question: Same but for a group of airports serving a single metropolitan area? Which metropolitan area has airports with direct flights to the most countries? In terms of selecting a home base to visit many countries, this could arguably be a more useful metric.

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    Note that "direct" and "non-stop" are not exactly the same thing. – Spehro Pefhany Jan 13 at 5:56
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The Wikipedia page for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport states that:

As of 2017, the airport offers direct flights to the most countries and hosts the most airlines in the world.

It uses this page as a reference, which has several rankings, including airports serving the most countries:

Two airports, both in Europe, are the only ones worldwide to offer non-stop flights to more than 100 countries. Paris CDG (connected to 108 countries) edges out Istanbul Atatürk (104) this summer. Frankfurt completes a European clean sweep of the top three places. Only three non-European airports make the top 15 led by Dubai in fourth place which offers non-stop service to 96 countries. New York JFK in seventh place is the only US airport, with Doha just behind in eighth place. No Asian airports make the top 15. Beijing offers non-stop service to 57 countries the same number as can be reached from Africa’s leading airport in these rankings, Addis Ababa.

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  • Impressive! That explains it, two of the most traveled people I know had Dubai and New York as home base. – Itai Jan 12 at 21:32
  • I know that you are only quoting but what continent do they think that Dubai and Doha are on? – Some wandering yeti Jan 12 at 21:54
  • @Somewanderingyeti en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Michael Hampton Jan 12 at 21:56
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    @Somewanderingyeti They’re probably using “regions” rather than continents, with Dubai and Doha in the “Middle East” region. – jcaron Jan 12 at 22:03
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Istanbul Airport's website claims flights to over 120 countries.

The main airline at that airport, Turkish Airlines, states that it flies to over 120 countries, and Wikipedia states that number as 122. The vast majority of these flights depart from Istanbul airport, although a small number may be "tag" flights and thus not direct as stated in the question. Add in other airlines, and the airport's figure of >120 appears to be valid.

For the "single metropolitan area" part of the question, I suspect the answer is likely also Istanbul. There is one major secondary airport, SAW, however it's unlikely it adds (m)any additional countries to the list.

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  • Don't these include terminated routes (e.g. Yemen)? It also seems to include Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey. I'm not sure if that counts as a country. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Jan 12 at 21:21
  • That's amazing, this number is much higher than I would have guessed from any airport! – Itai Jan 12 at 21:31
  • @JJforTransparencyandMonica If North Cyprus isn't a country, then what country is Ercan in? (Presuming the answer is "Cyprus", that's still a country, so it still counts) – Doc Jan 13 at 0:46
  • @Doc sure, but then you're counting Cyprus twice, once for Nicosia and once for North Nicosia and Famagusta. Similar would be to consider each US state separately, then most US airports with lots of domestic and international connections will easily win this game. ;) – JJ for Transparency and Monica Jan 13 at 0:48
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    @JJforTransparencyandMonica I didn't count anything, I relied on the count at the top of the page, along with that on the Istanbul Airport page – Doc Jan 13 at 0:53

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