Global airport passenger traffic increased by 5.7% in 2014 to more than 6.7 billion, according to new statistics from the trade association Airports Council International (ACI).
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International retained its title as the world’s busiest airport with 96 million passengers in 2014, a year-over-year increase of 1.9%. In second place was the Beijing, China, airport, which served 88 million passengers, up 2.9% over the previous year.
The Asia-Pacific region was the busiest on the planet, with 2.3 billion passengers and 7.1% growth, followed by Europe (1.8 billion passengers, a 5.5% increase over 2013) and North America (1.6 billion, up 3.2%). Africa had fewer than 200 million passengers.
In an August 2015 statement, ACI executive Angela Gittens said the traffic totals demonstrate the airline industry’s resilience in the face of the global uncertainties and geopolitical risks of the past few years. Travelers appeared to be “immune to these potential dangers” in 2014, she said.
ACI says its 590 member airport authorities operate 1,850 airports in 173 countries. The association’s World Airport Traffic Report is based on input from 2,215 commercial airports and also includes data on cargo traffic.
Atlanta’s status as the world’s busiest airport for the 17th straight year was due, in large part, to its 85.4 million domestic passengers, up 1.5% over 2013. But Chicago O’Hare International Airport passed Atlanta as busiest in terms of flight operations, with 881,933 “total movements” in 2014, compared to Atlanta’s 868,359 movements.
In addition to Atlanta and Chicago, the top 10 airports by passenger traffic featured two other U.S. airports: Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.
The Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates had the most international travelers, 69.9 million, up 6.2% over 2013. It was followed by London and Hong Kong.
Three U.S. airports were among the top 10 by total freight and mail cargo in 2014: Memphis, Tennessee, in second place; Anchorage, Alaska (fifth); and Louisville, Kentucky (seventh). The list was again topped by Hong Kong.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics previously reported that domestic and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 848.1 million passengers in 2014. That was up 2.5% over the previous year, with increases in both the number of domestic and international passengers.
For the fifth straight year, Delta Air Lines led U.S. carriers in total passenger traffic, with 129.2 million enplanements, according to the federal agency.