Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remains the world's busiest airport, according to the latest global ranking of airport traffic. But No. 2 Beijing is gaining ground.
Atlanta's airport, the world's busiest since 1998, handled 92.4 million passengers in 2011, up 3.4 percent year-over-year.
But according to figures released by Airports Council International, Beijing Capital International Airport saw a 4.7 percent increase to 77.4 million passengers, slightly narrowing Atlanta's lead. Beijing could eventually become the world's busiest airport, but the 2011 figures make clear that time is not soon.
London Heathrow came in at No. 3, with 69.4 million passengers, followed by Chicago O'Hare with 66.6 million passengers.
Atlanta did not make the top 30 airports list for air cargo traffic. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has made increasing air cargo traffic a priority since he campaigned for mayor.
"Cargo traffic slowed for most of the year as business confidence deteriorated in light of the looming Eurozone debt crisis," according to a written statement by ACI World Director Angela Gittens, who previously led Atlanta's airport. "Despite economic instability and political unrest in many regions of the world, overall, airports continued to experience sustained global passenger growth" over 2010.
Separately, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics earlier reported that Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines carried more passengers worldwide than any other U.S. airline in 2011. Southwest Airlines came in No. 1 in domestic passengers for the eighth year in a row.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.