Hartsfield-Jackson Solidifies Status as 'Busiest'

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had more passengers pass through its concourses than any other airport in the world last year, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Geneva-based Airports Council International.

It is the second year in a row Hartsfield-Jackson has been dubbed the world's busiest airport in both number of passengers and number of flights.

"This keeps our region and our city in everybody's awareness," said Ben DeCosta, Hartsfield-Jackson's general manager. "I'm pleased we're still out there."

Earlier in the year, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that Hartsfield-Jackson was the nation's busiest airport based on the number of flights taking off and landing in Atlanta. That designation also meant it was the world's busiest in terms of total flights.

Atlanta's airport also showed up in the No. 1 spot for takeoffs and landings in the council's report --- it showed 976,447 total "aircraft movements" at Hartsfield-Jackson in 2006, a decrease of about half a percent.

Hartsfield handled 84.8 million passengers last year, a decrease of about 1 percent over the previous year, while Chicago's O'Hare had 76.2 million, a decrease of .3 percent. London's Heathrow came in third worldwide with 67.5 million passengers.

The council said traffic at U.S. airports declined --- about 2 percent --- for a number of reasons, including the restructuring of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines and the closure of Independence Air. Total passenger traffic was up worldwide about 5 percent to 4.4 billion.

Traffic at some U.S. airports did see improvement. Denver saw an increase of 9 percent, while Las Vegas saw a 4.3 percent jump.

Memphis --- headquarters of Federal Express --- continued to have the world's busiest airport for cargo, handling 3.7 million metric tons. Atlanta placed a paltry 28th on the cargo list, handling about 747,000 metric tons.



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