April 11 2022  |  Airlines & Airports

ACI reveals top 10 busiest airports

By Hibah Noor

Airports Council International (ACI) World has published the top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2021 showing encouraging signs of traffic recovery as many previous busiest airports rejoin the top rank.

The world airport rankings are based on the preliminary compilation of 2021 global data from airports around the world.

Total global passengers in 2021 are estimated to be around 4.5 billion, representing an increase of almost 25% from 2020, or a drop of more than 50% from 2019 results.

Passenger traffic at the top 10 busiest airports, representing collectively almost 10% of global traffic (463 million passengers), witnessed a gain of 51.8% from 2020, or a drop of 29.1% compared with their 2019 results.

Eight of the top 10 airports for passenger traffic are in the US, with the two remaining in China.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (75.7 million passengers, +76.4%) is back at the top of 2021 rankings, followed by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (62.5 million passengers, +58.7%) and Denver International Airport (58.8 million passengers, +74.4%).

After reaching the top rank in 2020, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (40.3 million passengers, -8.0%) slid to eighth position in 2021.

Source: ACI World

All top 10 airports have a significant share of domestic traffic, the traffic segment that has been leading global recovery. The biggest improvement recorded was from Orlando International Airport (40.4 million passengers, +86.7%) which jumped from 27th position in 2020 to seventh spot in 2021.

“The ACI World passenger traffic rankings tell the story of an encouraging trend of recovery, with most of the recurrent busiest airports pre-COVID-19 back at the top,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “Although we are cautious that recovery could face multiple headwinds, the momentum created by reopening plans by countries could lead to an uptick in travel in the second half of 2022.

“ACI World continues to advocate to governments to follow the data and ease travel restrictions to safely restore the movement of people, goods and services. This will provide travelers with more travel options and propel the overall recovery through aviation’s unique role in boosting trade, tourism, investment and creating jobs.”

ACI World estimates that there were over 69 million global aircraft movements in 2021, representing a gain of more than 12% from 2020. The top 10 airports represent close to 8% of global traffic (5.3 million movements) and experienced a gain of 33.9% year-on-year, still representing a drop of 16.1% compared with 2019.

All top 10 airports for aircraft movements are in the US. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (708,000 movements, +29.1%) leads, followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport (684,000, +27.1%) and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (652,000, +26.7%).

REGION International

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