ACI: Atlanta retains position as world’s busiest airport for passengers

posted on 15th March 2019 by Justin Burns

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport retained its position as the world’s busiest hub for passenger traffic in 2018 according to preliminary world airport traffic rankings released by the Airports Council International (ACI) World.

ACI published the figures during the 11th Annual Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition in London yesterday where it said passenger traffic “remains resilient” globally.

ACI has found that passenger traffic in 2018 is estimated to have reached 8.8 billion, growing by an estimated six per cent as compared to the previous year. This increase is above the 4.3 per cent compound annual growth rate for passenger traffic from 2007 to 2017.

Passenger traffic at the world’s 20 busiest airports – which represent 17 per cent of all global passenger traffic – grew by 4.7 per cent in 2018 as more than 1.5 billion passengers used these airports.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta kept top place and handled over 107 million passengers, while Beijing Capital Internatonal Airport surpassed the 100 million passengers mark in 2018, growing by 5.4 per cent and holding onto second spot and Dubai International Airport remained in third position as, after years of double-digit percentage traffic growth, it grew by one per cent.

The top 20 airports for aircraft movements grew by 2.4 per cent in 2018. Chicago O’Hare Airport has surpassed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport to become the busiest airport in the world for aircraft movements. Both airports experienced slight declines in 2017 but have since recorded growth of 4.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

“It is heartening to see that global passenger traffic growth has remained resilient in the face of an increasingly tense and challenging geopolitical climate,” said ACI World director general, Angela Gittens (pictured left). “Aviation is strongly linked to the global economy and to local development, however, and the protectionist rhetoric that has swept several Western countries will continue to restrain growth in the efficient flow of people, goods and services.

“With the cost of travel decreasing in many markets, and a burgeoning middle class growing in emerging markets, passenger traffic growth has remained irrepressible. Indeed, ACI’s global medium-term forecasts reveal growth in demand for air services between 2018 to 2023 will grow by almost 30 per cent. This means many national governments face the predicament of demand outstripping available airport infrastructure.

In other significant findings, India became the world’s third-largest aviation market in terms of passenger throughput, behind the US and China in 2018. India’s move towards a more liberalized aviation market and the nation’s strengthening economic fundamentals have helped it become one of the fastest-growing markets with its traffic growing rapidly in a relatively short time.