The world’s busiest airport revealed

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While airline passengers might wish for slightly less crowded airports, cities love to brag about their booming airports and the impact of flight on the local economy. One of the most popular in the world is Denver International Airport in the US, which was the 20th busiest in the world last year, with more than 61 million passengers. That's according to preliminary 2017 passenger data from Airports Council International.

It’s not just you: Airports really are getting busier.

Close to 104 million passengers passed though Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2017, making it the world’s busiest passenger airport for another year.

That’s according to 2017 travel data released Thursday by Airports Council International.

Globally, there were significant increases in passenger numbers, air cargo traffic and total aircraft movements.

Major connecting hub

Atlanta can thank its location as a major connecting hub and port of entry into North America for its continued dominance.

The city is within a two-hour flight of 80% of the United States population of more than 300 million people.

However, that could change by next year. Atlanta was the only airport among the top 20 busiest airports for passengers to see a decrease in passenger traffic last year, with a small drop of 0.3%.

Beijing Capital International has long nipped at the heels of Hartsfield-Jackson. In 2017, the Chinese capital’s airport came in second place again with 96 million passengers (a 1.5% increase).

The overall news is also good for the world’s airports.

Worldwide passenger traffic increased 7.5% to 8.3 billion in 2017, one of the strongest growth rates on record.

International passenger numbers were up 8.6% globally.

Worldwide cargo traffic rose 7.7%. The world’s largest air cargo hub remains Hong Kong. The US city of Memphis, Tennessee, took the second spot, followed by Shanghai, China.

Worldwide aircraft movements increased 3% in 2017 to 95.8 million.

ACI’s data for the annual World Airport Traffic Report is drawn from more than 2,500 airports in 175 countries.

Rapid growth

The countries to watch are China and India, according to ACI. Their combined passenger traffic represents 34.5% of the global total.

Of the fastest-growing top 30 airports with over 15 million passengers, 16 are located in those two countries.

The top three contributors to global passenger traffic growth are China, the United States and India.

“Global passenger traffic has reached record levels as airports continued to make a crucial contribution to furthering economic development and global connectivity,” said Angela Gittens, ACI World’s director general.

The world’s busiest airports 2017

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Georgia) — 104 million passengers

2. Beijing Capital International Airport (China) — 96 million

3. Dubai International Airport (United Arab Emirates) — 88 million

4. Tokyo Haneda International Airport (Japan) — 85 million

5. Los Angeles International Airport (California) — 84.6 million

6. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (Illinois) — 80 million

7. London Heathrow Airport (United Kingdom) — 78 million

8. Hong Kong International Airport (China) — 73 million

9. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (China) — 70 million

10. Aéroport de Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France) — 69 million

11. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Netherlands) — 68.5 million

12. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (Texas) — 67 million

13. Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport (China) — 66 million

14. Frankfurt Am Main Airport (Germany) — 64.5 million

15. Atatürk International Airport (Turkey) — 64 million

16. Indira Gandhi International Airport (India) — 63.5 million

17. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Indonesia) — 63 million

18. Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore) — 62.22 million

19. Incheon International Airport (South Korea) — 62.16 million

20. Denver International Airport (Colorado) — 61 million

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