Hartsfield-Jackson reports record 2012 passenger count

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had a record 95.5 million passengers pass through the facility in 2012, keeping it the world’s busiest for the 15th year in a row, according to airport officials.

The 2012 passenger count was up from 92.4 million passengers in 2011, an increase of about 3.4 percent.

Beijing Capital International Airport was the second busiest with a reported 81.8 million passengers in 2012, up 4.2 percent. Many expect that with China’s growing economy, Beijing will eventually surpass Atlanta.

But the Beijing airport’s traffic has slowed from past rates of 6.4 percent in 2011 and 13.1 percent in 2010, according to Airports Council International figures. The airports group releases its rankings later in the year.

Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Louis Miller pointed to the airport’s appealing amenities and services and said in a writtne statement the city of Atlanta “has established itself as an attractive environment in which to do business.”

The passenger volume through Hartsfield-Jackson is driven by Delta’s mega-hub in Atlanta, where millions of passengers have connecting flights. Also driving traffic has been the hub operated by AirTran Airways, which has been acquired by Southwest Airlines. Dallas-based Southwest expects to continue to run a large operation in Atlanta but will decrease the focus on connecting traffic.

Although passenger traffic grew in Atlanta, cargo volumes fell 2.5 percent in 2012. The decrease reflected “a global decrease of consumer purchases and reduced manufacturing,” according to the airport. One of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s campaign pledges was to increase cargo operations at Hartsfield-Jackson.

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