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Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remains the world's busiest airport based on passenger traffic in 2017.
According to preliminary data released by Airports Council International (ACI) Monday, nearly 104 million passengers passed through the bustling airport last year.
Surprisingly, Atlanta, which is within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the U.S. population and a major port of entry for international travelers, held down the top spot despite seeing a 0.26 percent decrease in passenger traffic.
Trailing Atlanta are Beijing Capital International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. Delhi, India's Indira Gandhi International Airport was the biggest mover last year, rising six spots from 22nd to 16th.
Passenger traffic at the world's 20 busiest airports grew by 5.2 percent in 2017. The nearly 1.5 billion travelers who passed through those airports alone represent 17 percent of global passenger traffic.
Overall, things are looking up for air travel. ACI reported worldwide passengers increased 6.6 percent in 2017 while international passengers rose 8.4 percent. Total cargo increased 7.9 percent year-over-year, total international freight increased 9.9 percent and total aircraft movements rose 2.4 percent.
"The surge in cargo volumes and passenger numbers across many of the world's airports is a testament to heightened business and consumer confidence, at least in the short term," said ACI World's Director General, Angela Gittens in a statement. "The world's airports continue to be a vital link in the economic multiplier effect that aviation provides and the role it plays as an enabler for global commerce is growing."
"Connecting people, business and places still remain paramount to the aviation sector despite the recent threats of a step backward in market liberalization in some major economies."
Monday's reveal comes just one month after ACI unveiled the winners of its annual Airport Service Quality Awards.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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