Atlanta Bags Title For World’s Busiest Airport For 20 Consecutive Years


Atlanta is again hailed as the world's busiest airport with almost 104 million passengers that passed through in 2017, according to the Airports Council International.

For 20 years in a row, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport caters the highest number of airline passengers being a strategic connecting hub in the United States.

Accessibility is reported to be Hartsfield-Jackson's edge compared to other airports with an approximately two-hour flight distance from 80 percent of the country's population. With 0.26 percent decrease in passenger rate, Atlanta is the only airport in the top 20 list that saw a decline.

Coming in second to Hartsfield-Jackson is Beijing Capital International in China with 94.4 million passengers. Beijing has been in the number 2 spot for two decades straight ahead of Dubai International Airport with 88.2 million passengers last year.

Meanwhile, India's Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport jumped six spots from its 22nd place in 2016, making it the fastest growing airport in terms of passenger traffic. Guangzhou ranked next, with 10.3 percent growth among the top 20 airports.

Aviation Boom

The International Air Transport Association estimated that the so-called aviation boom is going to double in the next 20 years following a surge in international trade and tourism.

The projected growth rate for the first 10 years is 5.5 percent annually. Cheaper fares, new routes, and better infrastructure has facilitated a continuous industry growth.

"Demand for air travel is still expanding. The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don't choke growth," said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

For 2017, airline traffic grew by 5.2 percent or approximately 1.5 billion passengers for all airports combined. The top 20 comprise 17 percent of the 1,202 airports worldwide.

Airports also saw a significant increase in cargo business with 6.8 percent growth or approximately 51 million metric tons of cargo.

Hong Kong is the busiest cargo port with 9.4 percent growth or 5 million metric tons of the total cargo volume. This is followed by Shanghai, Chicago, and Doha with growths at 11.2 percent, 12.6 percent, and 15 percent respectively.

"The surge in cargo volumes and passenger numbers across many of the world's airports is a testament to heightened business and consumer confidence, at least in the short term," said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World.

Gittens explained that the boom in e-commerce, particularly online retail, has fueled the growth of the air cargo business. Markets such as China and the United States represent the bulk of the global commercial arena.

She added that the trans-pacific link has been a crucial factor in boosting international flights and freights.

"Connecting people, business and places still remain paramount to the aviation sector despite the recent threats of a step backwards in market liberalization in some major economies," Gittens said.

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