Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained the world’s busiest airport in 2006, according to preliminary figures released last week by the Geneva-based Airports Council International.
Some 84.8 million passengers passed through the Atlanta airport in 2006, a 1.2 percent decline from the previous year. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was the second-busiest with 76.2 million, and London’s Heathrow International Airport was third with 67.5 million, both with slight decreases in passengers compared with 2005.
Hartsfield-Jackson also the highest number of flights in 2006, handling 976,447, a decline of 0.4 percent from the year before. O’Hare, which was first in 2005, finished second last year with 958,643, a drop of 1.4 percent.
The council reported that air traffic in U.S. airports declined because of the restructuring of Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines, as well as the closure of Independence Air.
Of the rest of the top 10 busiest airports in the world, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport was the fourth-busiest with 65.2 million; Los Angeles International Airport was fifth with 61 million; Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, 60 million; Paris’ Charles de Gaulle, 56.8 million; Frankfurt Airport, 52.8 million; Beijing Capital International Airport, 48.5 million and Denver International Airport, 47.3 million.
Beijing saw the highest increase in passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region with an 18 percent increase, and Denver was the best U.S. performer with a 9.1 percent increase.
The total number of passengers worldwide rose by 5.1 percent to 4.4 billion, according to the council.
Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, which is the headquarters of Federal Express Corp., continued to be the world’s busiest airport for cargo, handling 4.08 million tons. Hong Kong International Airport was second with 3.97 million tons. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska was third with 3.09 million tons.
The final figures are to be released by the council in June.