Atlanta’s airport is no longer the world’s busiest airport, marking the first time in 22 years that ATL has not transported the most passengers.
Instead, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China took that honor in 2020 with more than 43 million passengers, according to a preliminary report from Airports Council International released on Thursday.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had 42,918,685 passengers in 2020, a decrease of more than 67 million from the previous year.
Passenger count is generally considered the barometer for determining “world’s busiest.”
“While we have been proud of our title as busiest in the world, 2020 was an unprecedented year, with unprecedented challenges, impacting travel across the United States, and the globe,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement.
Seven of the world’s top 10 busiest airports in 2020 were in China, according to the report. Only Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver made entries for the U.S.
Over the course of the pandemic last year, global passenger traffic at the world’s busiest airports decreased by 45.7%. That decline becomes steeper, 64.6%, when factoring in all airports’ passenger traffic, according to the report.
“In most cases, domestic air travel is beginning a modest rebound while international air travel remains depressed because of ongoing travel restrictions,” the report stated.
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Early figures for 2021 also show a stark year-over-year difference in passenger totals. Atlanta’s airport saw 3,205,694 passengers this February, down from 7,790,620 at the same time last year, according to the airport.
“The data published today reveals the challenge airports continue to face, and it remains imperative that the industry is supported through direct support and sensible policy decisions from governments to ensure that aviation can endure, rebuild connectivity, and fuel a global economic recovery,” Airports Council International World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.
Atlanta did claim the title as the world’s busiest airport for aircraft movements – landings and takeoffs – in 2020, overtaking Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from the previous year.
The world’s top 10 busiest airports for passenger traffic in 2020:
1. Guangzhou, China (CAN)
2. Atlanta (ATL)
3. Chengdu, China (CTU)
4. Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW)
5. Shenzhen, China (SZX)
6. Beijing (PEK)
7. Denver (DEN)
8. Kunming, China (KMG)
9. Shanghai (SHA)
10. Xi’an, China (XIY)
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Atlanta airport no longer busiest airport in the world