The Airports Council International trade association announced that Atlanta International Airport regained its title as the world’s busiest airport by passenger volume in 2021. Last year, the Atlanta airport handled 75.7 million passengers, a 76.4 percent increase from 42.9 million in 2020. It took the place of China’s Guangzhou airport, which had slipped to the seventh busiest in the country due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
“2021 represents the beginning of the aviation industry’s recovery,” said ACI director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira in a statement. “While some of the perennial busiest airport leaders have re-joined upper ranks, other regions struggle to recover, leading to new entrants in the top 20.”
The United States is home to eight of the top ten busiest airports. Orlando, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, Seattle, and Mexico City are among the top 20 entrants who did not make it in 2020. China’s airports had the greatest decreases, owing mostly to the country’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. Aside from Guangzhou, China’s Chengdu airport ranked tenth. It finished third in 2020. Three Chinese airports slipped out of the top ten but remained in the top twenty: Chongqing, Shanghai, and Beijing, in that order.
The ACI dataset includes over 2,600 airports in over 180 nations and territories. In 2021, those airports served 4.6 billion people, a 28.3 percent increase over the previous year or a 49.5 percent decrease from 2019. With 863 million passengers, the top 20 airports accounted for 19% of worldwide traffic.