PHOTO: It’s no surprise what airport claims the title of busiest in the world. (photo via Flickr/James Emery)
The Airports Council International (ACI) released its study of the busiest airports in the world, and one American location reigns supreme once again.
It’s Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport going back to back, taking the honor as the absolute busiest the world over.
As the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reminds, it’s no wonder why Atlanta boasts the most prolific set of flights and travelers. The location is perfect for such an accolade as it is only one two-hour flight away from 80 percent of the country’s population.
It’s a distinction, along with the bustling business and leisure life of Atlanta, that has helped it secure this specific title two years running, usurping Chicago O’Hare starting in 2015.
READ MORE: TravelPulse 100 Best US Airports 2016: The Best Of the Best
Stepping away from Atlanta, for a moment, there is a lot to glean from ACI’s report. The fastest growing airport amid the top 20 is Seoul’s Incheon (ICN), which enjoyed a remarkable boost in congestion with a 17.1 percent uptick in travelers.
The top 10’s most intriguing airport might be Los Angeles International, which is now the fourth busiest airport in the world, rising 8 percent since last year’s study.
Overall traffic was up at the 20 busiest airports to the tune of 4.7 percent (1.4 billion passengers). And Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport leads the charge with some stunning numbers.
Last year represented a 2.6 percent bump from the previous year, which means 104 million passengers flooded through its gates and sprinted to make their planes within its confines.
Beijing’s airport did not, however, take the top spot, despite expectations. The report points to “continuing capacity constraints” as the major reason.
LAX didn’t face these types of issues, allowing it to leap from seventh to fourth in the rankings.
ACI points to a strong market and expanded capacity that helped LAX accommodate a near 10 percent rise in traffic.
Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World, spoke to the various issues and strengths of the industry as it heads into the back end of the year: “Global aviation markets remain dynamic in the face of economic uncertainty and geopolitical risks that persist on many fronts. Connecting people and places still remains paramount to the aviation sector in spite of the looming threat to market liberalization in major Western economies.”
Despite this uncertainty, Gittens fully expects this positive trend to continue: “We see passenger traffic continuing to grow at many of the major hubs. The combined use of larger aircraft, increased load factors by airlines and more efficient use of infrastructure continue to be an important trend across the industry. From a global perspective, this is a testament to the efficiency gains that have been achieved in the sector.”
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport isn’t just the busiest airport. According to TravelPulse’s careful study of the nation’s hubs, it came out on top as the best.
Rich Thomaselli writes, “in the seven categories TravelPulse used as its methodology to determine the best airports, Hartsfield-Jackson finished no worse than 11th in any one of them, and led three of them.”
And just because you are the apex of airport congestion doesn’t mean you have to feel that way.
Something this enormous can feel cozy. Or, as one respondent to TravelPulse’s study states on Atlanta’s aviation jewel: “Atlanta is pretty exceptional in general considering that it's probably the busiest airport in the world and handles the traffic relatively comfortably.”
Let this be a lesson to you other airports. There is now no excuse to feel like an overcrowded nightmare.