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Atlanta is the World’s Busiest Airport Once Again



In what should be a surprise to no one in the industry, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport is the busiest passenger airport in the world yet again.

It is the 21st year running that the busy ATL hub has topped the list issued by Airports Council International.

This past year more than 107 million travelers passed through airlines/faa-investigating-hartsfield-jackson-atlanta-international-airport.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Hartsfield-Jackson, which was a 3.3 percent increase.

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The report also showed that passenger numbers globally reached an estimated 8.8 billion in 2018, which represents an increase of 6.4 percent over the previous year.

Also, noteworthy, airlines” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>the world’s airports accommodated 122.7 million metric tons of cargo and almost 100 million aircraft movements.

While the report notes that growth moderated slightly compared to 2017, passenger traffic remained resilient despite a variety of global uncertainties affecting many major economies.

The 2018 increase is still above the 5.8 percent compounded average annual growth rate for passenger traffic from 2010 through 2018, states the report.

It’s also interesting to note that while advanced economies held the largest proportion (52.8 percent) of global passenger traffic in 2018, the airport traffic in emerging markets and developing economies actually grew faster last year, at 8.3 percent than in advanced economies, at 4.8 percent.

Here’s a more detailed ranking of which regions saw the highest number of travelers in 2018:

  1. Asia-Pacific (3.3 billion, +8.1 percent)
  2. Europe (2.4 billion, +6.4 percent)
  3. North America (2 billion, +5.0 percent)
  4. Latin America-Caribbean (651 million, +5.0 percent)
  5. Middle East (396 million, +0.7 percent)
  6. Africa (214 million, +9.4 percent)

In issuing its report, ACI also weighed in on growing protectionist policies in certain countries around the globe, stating that in ACI’s view, protectionist policies, slowing global economy, and geopolitical tensions represent the most pressing downside risks over the near-term for continued growth.

“Protectionist rhetoric – fueled by isolationist policies – has swept several major economies in recent times and this has translated into a dismantling of established open trade relationships and regimes,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said in a statement.

“Because aviation has strong links to the global economy and to local development through commerce and tourism, these new barriers may restrain the efficient flow of people, goods, and services; air transport very much relies on open markets to grow,” Gittens added.

Air cargo market did not fare as well as passenger traffic in 2018, according to the report. Global year-over-year volume fell 1.7 percent in December 2018 against the previous year, bringing growth for 2018 overall to 3.4 percent.

“If these isolationist policies persist, their adverse effects will continue to stifle output growth in many countries,” Gittens said. “Economies that rely more on exports or carry higher debt loads will be most sensitive to a downturn, further exacerbating economic conditions.”

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