Domestic traffic provides major boost for top 10 busiest airports of 2021

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Airports Council International (ACI) World has published the top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2021, showing encouraging signs of traffic recovery as many previous busiest airports re-join the top ranks.

The world airport rankings are based on the preliminary compilation of 2021 global data from airports around the world.

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.

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% from the 2019 results.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (75.7 million passengers, +76.4%) is back at the top of 2021 rankings, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (62.5 million passengers, +58.7%), and Denver International Airport (58.8 million passengers, +74.4%). After reaching the top rank in 2020, Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport (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 USA with the two remaining in China. 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 (40.4 million passengers, +86.7%) that jumped from 27th position in 2020 to seventh spot in 2021.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director general, said, “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. 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 travelers with more travel options and boost the overall recovery through aviation’s unique role in boosting trade, tourism, investment and creating jobs,” he said.

Credit: ACI World

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Dan originally joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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