ACI encouraged by traffic recovery as Top 10 busiest airports announced

By Charlotte Turner |

Airports Council International (ACI) World says it has observed ‘encouraging signs of traffic recovery’ as it publishes the Top 10 Busiest Airports ranking, featuring Atlanta (ATL) back in the top spot for total passengers, while Dubai International (DXB) leads the ranking for international passengers.

 

ACI has today (Monday 11 April) published the top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2021, based on the preliminary compilation of 2021 global data from airports around the world.

 

“Due to ACI’s reach as the trade association of the world’s airports, the rankings reflect the most updated airport data used by the industry and include passenger traffic, cargo volumes, and aircraft movements,” stated the organisation.

 

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

 

TRAFFIC FOR TOP 10 AT -29% ON 2019 FIGURE

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% vis-à-vis their 2019 results.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

DOMESTIC TRAFFIC STILL LEADING GLOBAL RECOVERY

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 (MCO, 40.4 million passengers, +86.7%) that 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.

 

“As such, 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 travellers with more travel options and propel the overall recovery through aviation’s unique role in boosting trade, tourism, investment and creating jobs.”

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