By Marnie Hunter, CNN
(CNN) — Transfer above, Guangzhou. Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport is at the time once more the world’s busiest airport.
The US airport was knocked off its No. 1 perch to the No. 2 slot in passenger volume in 2020 by Guangzhou Baiyun Worldwide Airport in China, breaking the Atlanta airport’s 22-yr streak in the leading slot.
But in the 2021 rankings introduced on Monday by trade affiliation Airports Council Intercontinental, ATL is again on top, a indicator of restoration from 2020’s precipitous plunge in air site visitors as the pandemic took maintain.
In 2021, the Atlanta airport noticed 75.7 million passengers. That figure is up a whopping 76% from 2020 but nevertheless virtually 32% beneath pre-pandemic 2019 figures.
Guangzhou’s airport dropped to No. 8 in 2021, with 40.3 million passengers. An additional airport in China, Chengdu’s Shuangliu Intercontinental Airport, is ninth on the 2021 listing, down from No. 3 in 2020.
US airports dominated the passenger visitors rankings in 2021, with 8 of the leading 10 in the United States.
Dallas/Fort Truly worth International Airport in Texas was the 2nd-busiest in 2021, with about 62.5 million travellers, and the intercontinental airport in Denver, Colorado, ranked third, with 58.8 million passengers.
Chicago’s O’Hare and Los Angeles Global rounded out the best five.
The record shows “an encouraging development of recovery,” Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World’s director general, stated in a statement.
“Even though we are cautious that recovery could confront multiple headwinds, the momentum developed by reopening strategies by nations could lead to an uptick in travel in the next fifty percent of 2022,” de Oliveira said.
In 2021, there ended up an approximated 4.5 billion passengers globally, in accordance to ACI. That figure signifies a approximately 25% boost from 2020 but a lot more than 50% drop from 2019.
US and China change destinations
Presented the a great deal more rapidly recovery of domestic travel in contrast with international vacation, airports that were being way down the list of the world’s busiest airports pre-pandemic have leaped up into the major 10.
The airports in Charlotte, North Carolina (No. 6) Orlando, Florida (No. 7) and Las Vegas (No. 10) are new to the major 10 this year. Holiday vacation magnets Orlando and Las Vegas ended up No. 31 and No. 30 for passenger targeted traffic in advance of the pandemic in 2019.
The United States’ strong exhibiting in the best 10 is a reversal from 2020, when airports in China took 7 of the top 10 slots.
China’s dominance in 2020 was because of the early rebound of domestic travel in China. The nation however has not reopened to international site visitors.
“If we look back on 2020, China was a single of the first to arrive out of the preliminary waves of the pandemic and it basically virtually arrived at a total recovery by the conclusion of 2020,” claimed Patrick Lucas, ACI World’s vice president for economics.
But in 2021, domestic website traffic in China dropped significantly with renewed lockdowns, while the United States saw a massive leap.
The United States has the world’s biggest domestic vacation market, adopted by China.
Airports that routinely landed in the prime 10 of the world’s busiest airports list — this kind of as Dubai Worldwide, London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle — have been absent for the duration of the pandemic.
“Those marketplaces that had incredibly substantial proportions of intercontinental website traffic ended up of system harm as a result of all these limitations and quarantine prerequisites,” Lucas explained.
The significant position of intercontinental visitors is also component of the purpose that Beijing’s Money and Shanghai’s Pudong Worldwide airports have dropped out of the major 10. Beijing Cash — when routinely No. 2 in passenger site visitors — is also looking at its site visitors break up by the city’s new Daxing Intercontinental Airport.
Rolling back limits
ACI is advocating a “threat-primarily based strategy” to easing journey limits, following Covid-19 information, Lucas reported.
“Vaccines basically have been the passport to vacation, but as we can see now, several major marketplaces are opening up and … a lot of countries have come to realize that curbing travel or imposing travel limitations basically does not do anything,” he stated.
“If something, it generates even far more hurt. So meaning that it disrupts the socioeconomic gains of air transportation and tourism and so on.”
As it stands, ACI expects overall passenger site visitors quantities to recover to pre-pandemic concentrations in 2024.
Nevertheless, solid domestic markets, together with the United States, are anticipated to get well by 2023. And marketplaces with a high proportion of intercontinental targeted visitors aren’t predicted to rebound until 2025, Lucas mentioned.
Globally, there are “distinct forces relocating in opposite instructions.”
You can find very sturdy pent-up need and the lifting of restrictions that have dampened journey versus the soaring price of journey and geopolitical concerns associated to what’s taking place in Jap Europe, Lucas said.
But all round, ACI is upbeat. “We have a perception that shoppers, travellers, will bite the bullet, so to speak, even with the rise in the price tag of travel.”
World’s best 10 busiest airports for passenger visitors in 2021
1. Atlanta (ATL): 75.7 million passengers, up 76% from 2020
2. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): 62.5 million passengers, up 59% from 2020
3. Denver (DEN): 58.8 million passengers, up 74% from 2020
4. Chicago O’Hare (ORD): 54 million travellers, up 75% from 2020
5. Los Angeles (LAX): 48 million passengers, up 67% from 2020
6. Charlotte (CLT): 43.3 million passengers, up 59% from 2020
7. Orlando (MCO): 40.4 million passengers, up 87% from 2020
8. Guangzhou (CAN): 40.3 million travellers, down 8% from 2020
9. Chengdu (CTU): 40.1 million travellers, down 1.5% from 2020
10. Las Vegas (LAS): 39.8 million passengers, up 79% from 2020
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