Airports in the United States are gearing up to cater for increasing passenger footfall as the country's economy shows signs of recovery. Airport-technology.com ranks the 10 busiest airports in the US based on total passenger traffic during the first seven months of 2013.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airport witnessed record passenger traffic of 55.22 million for the first seven months of 2013 making it the busiest in the world. The average monthly passenger flow during this period was 7.88 million, surpassing all other airports.
Passenger traffic, however, dropped marginally by 1.14% compared to the corresponding period in 2012. Cargo traffic during the first seven months of 2013 was 355,773t, which was a 5.9% drop compared to the corresponding 2012 period.
The airport has a central passenger terminal complex which witnessed a number of upgrades recently to enhance the passenger service.
A $6bn capital improvement programme is underway to further enhance the services and reduce flight delays. Air Transport Research Society has also named Atlanta airport as the Most Efficient Airport in the world in 2013.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) located in California, US, is the second busiest airport in the US as of the end of July 2013. It is also the fourth busiest airport in the world.
The airport witnessed 38.68 million passengers during the first seven months of 2013. The traffic increased by nearly 4.2% compared to the corresponding period in 2012.
Spread across 1,386ha of land, the airport is crucial to the economic infrastructure of Southern California. It handled 1.1Mt of cargo and witnessed 353,029 aircraft movements up to July 2013.
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) owns and operates the airport. The Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is currently being improved under a $1.9bn project.
The terminal will handle 4,500 passengers per hour upon completion of the overhaul. The total terminal space will also be increased to 1.2 million square feet.
Chicago O'Hare, the fifth busiest international airport in the world, is the third busiest in the US. The airport is located across an area of 7,000 acres in the city of Chicago. O'Hare is a major domestic and international hub for some of the largest airlines.
The airport handled 38.23 million passengers up to July 2013, which was marginally fewer than that of Los Angeles international airport. Cargo traffic during the period was 797,951t and aircraft movements were 507,859.
The $8.7bn O'Hare Modernisation Programme (OMP) that has been underway since 2001 envisions transforming the airport into a safe and efficient global destination. The programme encompasses construction of new West terminal campus, four new runways and extension of two existing runways.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) international airport is the fourth busiest airport in the US, with passenger traffic of 35.48 million during the first seven months of 2013. It is also the ninth busiest airport in the world.
The airport handled 371,049t of cargo up to July 2013. Aircraft movements during this period were 397,627.
DFW is one of the largest airports in the world, with a land area of 17,207 acres (6,963ha). A $1.9bn worth Terminal Renewal and Improvement Project is currently underway involving the modernisation of old passenger terminals to improve passenger services and experience.
The airport offers services to 191 destinations worldwide. It has seven runways and 155 aircraft gates.
Passenger terminals include four domestic and one international / domestic terminal. The airport's 60,000 plus employees strive to provide a pleasant passenger experience.
Denver International Airport located in Colorado is the fifth busiest airport in the US. The airport handled 30.35 million passengers in the first seven months of the year, a 1.1% fall compared to the corresponding period in 2012.
Cargo carriers at the airport handled approximately 227 million tonnes during this period, very much in line with the 2012 traffic for the corresponding period. The number of aircraft movements up to July 2013 was 341,442.
The airport has a short term master plan (2015-2020) and long term master plans envisioning developments up to 2035. Recent development projects at the airport include the South Terminal Redevelopment, runway rehabilitations and new road connections.
John. F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport operated by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the sixth busiest airport in the United States. JFK airport witnessed 29.76 million passengers during the first seven months of 2013.
The airport covers 4,930 acres of land on Jamaica Bay in Queens County, New York. It has six terminals with more than 125 aircraft gates. Parking is offered for more than 15,000 vehicles spread across the airport.
Terminal 4 at JFK international airport is currently being expanded to improve the passenger facilities. The expansion is currently in its second phase and is expected to be completed by 2015.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) witnessed approximately 25.65 million passengers, making it the seventh busiest airport in the US. The passenger traffic remained nearly the same compared to the corresponding period in 2012.
The two sets of parallel runways of the airport handled 240,002 aircraft movements in the first seven months of 2013. The airport offers non-stop services to more than 75 domestic and 30 international destinations.
AirTrain, the airport train service, provides connectivity to different areas of the airport with stations located in all terminals and some parking garages.
SFO is regarded as one of the best airport in the Americas for its outstanding customer service and world class amenities. Terminal 2 at the San Francisco International Airport is recognised as one of the best in the world for its unique and friendly staff services.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport stood next to SFO, with passenger traffic of 25.28 million during the first seven months of 2013.
The passenger volume increased by a decent 5.3% compared to the first seven month period in 2012. The number of aircraft movements and cargo traffic too increased marginally.
The airport operates with a single passenger terminal containing five concourses with 95 gates. The terminal has a total floor area of 1.8 million square feet. The east side expansion of the terminal added 60,000 square feet in 2012. It was completed with an investment of $23m.
The parking lots at Charlotte Douglas offer 26,700 spaces for passengers and visitors. Daily visitors to the airport exceeds 100,000.
The airport has good scope to become even busier given the fact that more than half of the US population lives within a two hour flight from Charlotte.
Las Vegas, the largest city in Nevada, is home to McCarran, the ninth busiest airport in the United States. The passenger traffic at the airport stood at 24.42 million passengers in the first seven months of 2013.
The airport has two terminal buildings featuring 110 aircraft gates in total. The terminals are not interconnected, however. Common terminal facilities include shopping, dining, ATM and currency exchange.
Aviation museum is an attraction at the airport. Entertainment facilities include a separate play area for kids, and a gaming zone.
McCarran international airport is also a busy cargo hub. It handled approximately 1.2 billion tonnes of cargo up to July 2013.
Miami international airport (MIA) is the tenth busiest airport in the US, competing very closely with the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. MIA handled 24.08 million passengers in the first seven months of 2013.
Passenger statistics for the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport are not yet announced yet, but are believed to be in the same range as that of MIA.
MIA is located in one of the most economically active regions of the country. The airport is spread across 3,230 acres of land in downtown Miami. Miami-Dade Aviation Department is the operator of the airport.
The capital improvement programme currently underway at the airport will increase the terminal space to more than seven million square feet by 2014. The airport is well connected by local metrorail.
What began as a dispute over unpaid leave for air traffic controllers has escalated into a stand-off between the US Government, the Federal Aviation Administration and labour unions, over federal budget cuts and passenger safety.
By integrating cutting-edge biometric security systems with passenger measurement programmes, Human Recognition Systems (HRS) offers airports a unique way to both meet high security targets and improve passengers' experiences.