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Atlanta still world's busiest airport, but not for long

CNN
Saturday, April 5, 2014 - 9:00am

 

Atlanta's airport is still the busiest passenger airport in the world, but Beijing's airport is closing the gap.

More than 94 million passengers went through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2013, a decrease of 1.1% over the previous year, according to Airports Council International's preliminary passenger traffic results for 2013.

Beijing Capital International Airport came in second place and is continuing to close the gap with Atlanta, reporting nearly 84 million passengers last year. That's an increase of 2.2% over 2012.

London's Heathrow Airport remained in third place with more than 72 million passengers, an increase of 3.3%, according to Airports Council International, the worldwide association of airports.

There were no changes to fourth, fifth and sixth places. They remained Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. With 66.4 million passengers last year and a 15% increase in traffic, Dubai jumped from 10th place to seventh place.

"With double-digit growth rates in passenger traffic for 2013, Dubai is likely to move up several spots again in the 2014 rankings, solidifying its status as the major hub connecting the east and west," ACI World's Economics Director Rafael Echevarne said in a press release.

"Aviation's nucleus appears to be moving eastward," he said. "Other emerging markets such as Turkey, China and South East Asia that have a critical mass of traffic also remain major contributors to the upward surge in air transport demand. This trend will continue into 2014."

Paris dropped from seventh to eighth place, Dallas/Fort Worth remained in ninth place and Jakarta dropped to 10th place.

Passenger traffic continued to grow around the world, with the world's airports serving nearly 5.4 billion passengers in 2013, growing by 4% from 2012, according to the report.

Atlanta's airport still topped the rankings in airplane movements (takeoffs and landings), with 911,000 movements last year. Chicago O'Hare International Airport came in second place with 883,000 movements and Dallas/Fort Worth was third with 678,000. Rounding out that list were Los Angeles International Airport, Denver, Beijing, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Houston and Paris.

Hong Kong's airport is still the busiest cargo airport in the world, transporting nearly 4.2 million metric tons of cargo last year. Memphis, Tennessee, home to FedEx, came in second place with 4.1 million metric tons and Shanghai was third with 2.9 million metric tons. (One metric ton equals 2,205 pounds.)

Rounding out the top 10 were cargo airports in Incheon, South Korea; Dubai; Anchorage, Alaska; Louisville, Kentucky; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris; and Tokyo (Narita).

The Airports Council International preliminary traffic report was based on reports from over 1,105 airports worldwide. A final version will be released later in the year.

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