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Atlanta Tops List of World’s 10 Busiest Airports

Atlanta Tops List of World's 10 Busiest Airports

Atlanta tops the list of the 10 busiest airports in the world

Global travel continues to improve but is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the world's busiest airport in 2021, carrying 75.7 million passengers.  Reuters

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the world’s busiest airport in 2021, carrying 75.7 million passengers. Reuters

Atlanta is back in the lead as the world’s busiest airport after slipping from one spot last year as global air travel continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were nearly 4.5 billion passengers on global flights in 2021, an increase of nearly 25% from the previous year, according to figures released Monday by Airports Council International, an industry group. However, this is still about 50% lower than in 2019.

The world’s 10 busiest airports, which account for about 10% of all global traffic, carried 463 million passengers in 2021, a 52% increase from 2020, according to ACI World. This is a 29% decrease from 2019.

In the United States, eight airports ranked in the top 10 in passenger traffic last year. By comparison, seven of the 10 busiest airports in 2020 were in China, where demand for global travel collapsed during the onset of the pandemic.

“The new flight statistics show an encouraging trend for recovery, with most frequent busiest airports returning before Covid-19 to the top,” said Luis Filipe de Oliveira, director general of ACI World. “Although we are cautious that the recovery could face several headwinds, the momentum generated by the reopening of plans by countries could lead to an increase in travel in the second half of 2022.”

None of the top 10 airports last year returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Air traffic has improved as countries around the world ease Covid-19 travel restrictions such as testing and vaccination rules.

Airlines said travel demand has rebounded after the winter wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the Omicron variant. Airlines said passengers were willing to pay more for plane tickets.

But the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted the travel plans of many Russian citizens with the collapse of the ruble. Western sanctions have meant that many Russians can no longer use their credit cards.

Fewer Chinese citizens are traveling due to China’s Covid-19 restrictions, including strict lockdowns, that have affected the global travel industry.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport pushed out Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in southern China to regain its lagging position as the world’s busiest airport, with 75.7 million passengers in 2021. This was a 76% increase from the previous year but still lagged behind the year’s figures 2019. 32%.

For its part, Guangzhou Baiyun fell to eighth on the list, with 40.3 million passengers in 2021, down 8% from 2020 and down 45% from 2019.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport came in second, and Denver International Airport was the third busiest.

Dallas had 62.5 million passengers, up 59% from the previous year and down 17% from 2019. Denver had 58.8 million passengers, a jump of 74% and a drop of 15% from 2019.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport both returned to the top ten list in 2021 after a row in 2020.

O’Hare ranked fourth with 54 million passengers, up 75% from 2020 and down 36% from 2019. Los Angeles ranked fifth with 48 million passengers, up 67% from the previous year and down 46% from 2019. .

Dubai International Airport remained the number one destination for global travelers in 2021. The airport welcomed 29 million international passengers in 2021, an increase of 13% over the previous year, but still down 66% from 2019.

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