Beats O'Hare By Nearly 20,000 Operations
The FAA confirmed yesterday
Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International is still the world's
busiest airport. That makes two years in a row it's beat out its
number one contender, O'Hare.
Massive growth at Hartsfield during the late 1980s and through
the 1990s pushed it into contention with O'Hare for the title late
This year, Hartsfield counted 78 million passengers through
November (yearly totals have yet to be calculated) with O'Hare
logging around 70 million.
Deputy general manager of Hartsfield Mario Diaz told the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, "There's no way they can catch up."
And it's not just the number of passengers, more airplanes
landed and departed Hartsfield too. The FAA says Hartsfield logged
976, 313 operations with O'Hare snagging only (only!) 958,643. DFW
came in third nationally with 702,713.
O'Hare does have some qualifiers though. First, the FAA has
limited the number of flights because of airline overbooking.
Second, O'Hare competes for planes and passengers with Midway
Airport. Midway logged nearly 300,000 operations last year.
O'Hare spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said in a statement that
officials there were not surprised the Atlanta airport had more
flights in 2006.
"O'Hare's flight restrictions, which
are scheduled to expire next year, have limited our ability to land
and depart aircraft and, ultimately, meet the demand for air
service that continues to grow at our airport," Abrams said.
Chicago's O'Hare is in the midst of a massive expansion
project with a planned 2013 completion date.
On the other hand, Atlanta opened a fifth runway in May last
year allowing airlines to add more flights.
Of course, some industry observers say the Chicago-Atlanta
rivalry may soon be a thing of the past. With markets heating up in
China and India -- both with massive populations -- the title of
"world's busiest" may soon leave the US for good.