Hartsfield-Jackson’s passenger counts up 76% in 2021

A crowd goes through security at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Saturday, January 29, 2022. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines suspended operations at its hubs in New York and Boston on Saturday and canceled more than 1,000 flights through the weekend due to the nor’easter expected to hit the region. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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A crowd goes through security at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Saturday, January 29, 2022. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines suspended operations at its hubs in New York and Boston on Saturday and canceled more than 1,000 flights through the weekend due to the nor’easter expected to hit the region. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

More than 75 million passengers passed through Hartsfield-Jackson International last year, a vast improvement over 2020. However, it’s yet to be seen if Atlanta will officially reclaim the title of home of the world’s busiest airport.

The passenger counts were up 76%, from 42.9 million passengers in 2020 to 75.5 million in 2021. Whether that’s enough to reclaim the title will be determined by the industry group Airports Council International, which will release its ranking later this year.

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who took office in January, said he thinks “this airport continues to excel” under the leadership of airport manager Balram Bheodari. While Dickens is replacing some members of his cabinet, he said he plans to keep Bheodari in place “as long as he keeps doing that, keeps doing a good job.”

The number of travelers passing through the airport is still far short of the 110.5 million passengers ATL had in 2019. Passenger counts in 2021 were down nearly 32% from 2019 levels.

Domestic passengers make up most of the traffic at Hartsfield-Jackson, and the counts were down nearly 29% from 2019 levels.

International passenger counts are still at less than half of 2019 levels.

The airport handled 707,661 flights in 2021, far below the 904,301 flights seen in 2019.A bright spot for Hartsfield-Jackson’s traffic numbers is air cargo, driven by increased e-commerce.

A total of 730,995 metric tons of cargo passed through Hartsfield-Jackson in 2021, up from 599,179 tons in 2020 and 639,276 tons in 2019.