According to Airports Council International, 2010 marked a year of strong passenger increases for many of the world’s busiest airports as passenger levels started to bounce back after remaining stagnant during the recent economic downturn.
In the report released Tuesday, total passenger numbers worldwide grew 6.3% while cargo increased 15.2% for the year.
According to ACI, 2010 marked the first time in which over five billion passengers flew over the course of a year. Not surprisingly, much of that growth was driven by strong demand in Asian markets.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remained the world’s busiest with just over 89 million passengers in 2010. Beijing Capital International Airport saw the largest growth in passenger totals amongst the top ten airports in the world with an increase of 13% to put it firmly in second place with over 73 million passengers, impressive for an airport that wasn’t in the top 30 just nine years ago.
Also shifting rankings among the top ten were London’s Heathrow Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. O’Hare climbed up to third place while Heathrow fell from second to fourth as the airport struggled to grow due to limited capacity and growing congestion.
Memphis International Airport finally lost its long-held position as the world’s busiest cargo airport, being surpassed by Hong Kong International Airport and bumped down to second place. Memphis had been the world’s busiest cargo airport in terms total tons shipped for the last 18 years thanks in large part to FedEx which uses the airport as its primary hub.
With Asian airports leading the major increases in airport traffic, five of the world’s top ten busiest airports remain in the United States but with none of those airports recording more than 4.5% increases in passenger totals.