Airports globally have reported 4.6 billion travellers in 2021, a 28.3% surge compared with the prior year and a 49.5% fall from 2019 levels, stated a report by Airports Council International (ACI) World.
The World Airport Traffic Dataset unveiled that the top 20 airports made up for 19% of this global traffic with 863 million travellers. This figure is up 42.9% from 2020 and 31.9% lower than 2019.
Air cargo volume stood at a record 125 million metric tonnes last year, a 15.4% rise from 2020 and a 4.5% increase compared with 2019.
Of this, the top 20 airports accounted for nearly 44% or 54.8 million metric tonnes, marking a rise of 14.7% and 13.4% from 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The growth was said to result from a demand spike for consumer goods and pharmaceutical products amid better economic conditions.
There were around 74 million aircraft movements globally last year, an 18.7% increase from 2020 or -28.2% from 2019. The top 20 airports contributed to 12% or 8.7 million movements, which is a 27.9% surge from 2020 or a 15.7% fall from 2019.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in the US secured the first rank in the list of the world’s busiest airports in terms of passenger traffic for the year 2021.
ATL handled around 75.7 million passengers last year, which marks a 76.4% growth compared with the previous year. The airport also saw the highest aircraft movements (almost 708,000) in 2021.
Dallas Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) came second with a passenger volume of 62.5 million while Denver International Airport (DEN) stood third with around 58.8 million passengers last year.
Most of the top 20 airports have seen a surge in domestic passenger flow, which accounts for 65% to 100% of their total travellers.
Only Istanbul International Airport (IST) in Turkey recorded higher international passenger footfall, representing 72% of its total passenger volume.
In terms of air cargo movement, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) reclaimed the first position with around five million metric tonnes of cargo passing through it last year.
Memphis International Airport (MEM), ranked first in this area in 2020, came second last year with 4.48 million metric tonnes of cargo.
Last month, ACI World, in its quarterly analysis on the effect of Covid-19 on airports, stated that easing various pandemic-related curbs in several European nations and the Americas brought back positivity in the air travel industry.