The Georgia Senate voted Thursday to approve a measure that would give the state control of Hartsfield-Jackson airport, a move that Atlanta’s mayor said is tantamount to declaring war on the city.

Hartsfield-Jackson No. 1 in passenger counts -- but faces challenge to ‘world’s busiest’ title from Beijing and Chicago O’Hare

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport again handled the most passengers of any airport in the world in 2018 -- but Beijing followed close behind, and Chicago O’Hare took the title for the most flights in the world.

The Atlanta airport has been the busiest in the world measured by passenger counts since 1998, and last year handled 107.4 million passengers.

But for the first time, another airport also topped 100 million passengers in a year: Beijing Capital International Airport, as confirmed in a ranking released Wednesday by industry group Airports Council International.

The 100 million mark was a distinction previously held only by Atlanta since 2015. But Beijing Capital is growing faster than Hartsfield-Jackson.

“We are going to continue to double our efforts to retain our title,” said Hartsfield-Jackson general manager John Selden at an Atlanta city council transportation committee meeting Wednesday morning.

Source: Airports Council International

Other airports are the world’s busiest by different measures. Chicago O’Hare had the most flights with 903,747 to Atlanta’s 895,682.

Source: Airports Council International

It’s not the first time in recent years that O’Hare has been No. 1 in flight counts -- Chicago also bested Atlanta by that measure in 2014.

In 2018, Airports Council International rankings also show that Dubai International Airport had the most international passengers, while Hong Kong International Airport handled the most cargo traffic.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.