More than 5.4 billion people traveled by air in 2011, an increase of 5.3 percent, and all indications point to a similarly steady growth in 2012. To help air passengers pinpoint the best airport for their own upcoming travels, the business class and first class travel experts at FlyFirst discuss the 2012's 10 Busiest Airports in the World, based on preliminary statistics compiled by the Airports Council International.
For more than a decade, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been the world's busiest airport, and is expected to retain its No. 1 spot in 2012. From January to November in 2012, the airport handled the enplanement and deplanement of more than 88 million passengers, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2011. In spite of its tremendous passenger volume, Atlanta's airport earns high marks in on-time measurements. The airport infrequently experiences flight cancellations, at a rate of a little more than half of one percent.
“We urge travelers not to automatically avoid busy airports,” says Julia Graft, FF PR manager. “Airports like Atlanta's can sometimes offer more available routes and capacity and may be more efficient than smaller, regional airports.”
China's Beijing Capital International Airport is a distant second to Atlanta with 75 million passengers from January to November, 2012. It will likely retain its No. 2 ranking in 2012, experiencing a 4.3 percent increase in passenger traffic. A bustling hub for Air China, the airport earned high marks in customer service in 2011, placing third in the Airports Council International's Airport Service Quality Awards.
London's Heathrow Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport will likely end 2012 at third and fourth places, respectively. Heathrow handled more than 64 million passengers during the first 11 months of 2012. Its entire network of six London-area airports is consistently ranked as the busiest airport system in the world. O'Hare's traffic is relatively close to Heathrow's, with 62 million passengers during the 11-month period. O'Hare's growth for the year was small, at just under one percent.
Tokyo international airport in Japan experienced a stellar 8.1 percent increase in the first 11 months of 2012, with nearly 62 million passengers in the first 11 months of 2012. The airport has ranked fifth on the list each year since 2009.
The only airport new to the preliminary Top 10 list is Indonesia's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at No. 10. "The airport has steadily risen in the rankings over the past few years, placing 12th in 2011 and 16th in 2010," notes Graft. "Its 15.6 percent increase in passenger traffic is significant and makes it an airport to watch in the coming months."
Here are the preliminary rankings for the 10 busiest airports in the world for January to November, 2012:
10. Indonesia Soekarno-Hatta International Airport – 52.6 million passengers
9. Frankfurt Airport, Germany – 53.5 million passengers
8. Dallas-Fort Worth International, U.S. - 53.7 million passengers
7. Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France – 56.9 million passengers
6. Los Angeles International, U.S. - 58.4 million passengers
5. Tokyo International, Japan – 61.9 million passengers
4. Chicago O'Hare International, U.S. – 62.1 million passengers
3. London Heathrow, United Kingdom – 64.4 million passengers
2. Beijing Capital International, China – 75.3 million passengers
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, U.S. - 88.0 million passengers