A snowstorm in early December followed by a massive airport power outage later in the month caused thousands of flight cancellations.
That kept the total number of passengers for the year below the record of more than 104.1 million passengers handled by Hartsfield-Jackson in 2016.
Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Reese McCranie called the 0.26 percent drop “sort of flat.... It’s not a precipitous drop.”
He said 2017 brought “several days of inclement weather, a couple of snow days, a severe thunderstorm in the spring,” and several hurricanes that affected flights, including Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The April thunderstorm alone triggered a five-day meltdown of Delta's flight operations, causing more than 3,300 flight cancellations.
Hartsfield-Jackson rival Chicago O’Hare, meanwhile, handled 79.8 million passengers in 2017, 2.4 increase over its total for 2016 and a record for that airport.
Chicago Department of Aviation commissioner Ginger Evans said last week that the total “clearly shows the strength of the Chicago market,” according to a written statement.
McCranie said Hartsfield-Jackson’s title as the world’s busiest airport “shows that this airport can handle large volumes of passengers efficiently and safely,” McCranie said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a written statement the “worldwide leadership role” that Hartsfield-Jackson holds enables it to “maintain its status as the economic engine of the Southeast.”
The Atlanta airport saw a 2 percent decline in total flights in 2017. But international traffic was up year-over-year, as well as cargo tonnage.