Atlanta Tops Busiest Airports List

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport regained the top spot as the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic in 2021, the Airports Council International trade association announced Monday.

The Atlanta airport handled 75.7 million passengers during last year, up 76.4 percent from 42.9 million in 2020. It replaced China’s Guangzhou airport, which dropped to eighth busiest amid Covid-19 lockdowns in the country.

“2021 represents the beginning of the aviation industry’s recovery,” said ACI director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira in a statement. “While some of the perennial busiest airport leaders have re-joined upper ranks, other regions struggle to recover, leading to new entrants in the top 20.”

Eight of the top 10 busiest airports are located in the United States. Some of the entrants into the top 20 list which didn’t make it in 2020 include Orlando, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, Seattle and Mexico City.

China’s airports saw the biggest drops, mainly because of the country’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. Aside from Guangzhou, China’s Chengdu airport made the top 10, at ninth. It had been third in 2020. Three Chinese airports dropped out of the top 10 but made the last three rankings in the top 20: Chongqing, Shanghai and Beijing, in order.

ACI’s dataset covers over 2,600 airports in more than 180 countries and territories. In 2021, those airports accommodated 4.6 billion passengers, representing an increase of 28.3 percent year over year, or a drop of 49.5 percent from 2019. The top 20 airports, with 863 million passengers, represented 19 percent of global traffic.

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