Preliminary 2017 world airport traffic ranking data released by Airports Council International (ACI) has found that passenger traffic at the world’s 20 busiest airports increased by 5.2% on a year-on-year basis.

The report found that nearly 1.5 billion passengers passed through the terminals of these airports last year, representing around 17% of global passenger traffic.

Atlanta-Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) Airport in the US retained the top spot in the list of most-travelled airports, followed by Beijing and Dubai.

“The surge in cargo volumes and passenger numbers across many of the world’s airports is testament to heightened business and consumer confidence.”

Delhi Airport in India jumped six places to 16th overall, making it one of the fastest growing airports in the world for passenger traffic.

Besides passenger traffic, air cargo volumes at the 20 busiest airports grew by 6.8% last year.

Hong Kong occupied the top rank as the largest air cargo centre, followed by Shanghai, Chicago and Doha, with all experiencing high growth.

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ACI World director general Angela Gittens said: “The surge in cargo volumes and passenger numbers across many of the world’s airports is testament to heightened business and consumer confidence, at least in the short term.

“The world’s airports continue to be a vital link in the economic multiplier effect that aviation provides and the role it plays as an enabler for global commerce is growing.”

Overall, the total number of passengers grew by 6.6% on a year-on-year basis, while the growth of total international passengers stood at 8.4% in 2017 when compared to a year earlier.

Founded in 1991, ACI is a trade association of the world’s airports.

As of January this year, provisional figures show that ACI serves 641 members operating 1,953 airports across 176 countries.