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Could O’Hare Win Back ‘Busiest Airport’ Title?


FAA numbers show Chicago and Atlanta virtually neck-and-neck for coveted title.

The title for “world’s busiest airport” could soon return to O’Hare International Airport (ORD), according to a news item published in the Chicago Tribune Wednesday.

Looking at flight traffic from January to August of this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported 585,517 flights in and out of ORD, versus 582,138 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), or 0.6 fewer, according to the Tribune. ATL was 3 percent higher in 2013.

The increase is due primarily to international traffic, city officials told the Tribune, which rose 8 percent during the first half of 2014 to 5.2 million passengers. In the past 18 months, ORD and Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW) added six international airlines and “dozens” of destinations, according the article. FAA data also showed that ORD lost fewer flights in the first eight months of the year than ATL, with traffic down 0.85 percent at ORD and 5.6 percent at ATL.

ATL has held the title of the world’s busiest airport for more than 10 years after surpassing ORD in flight traffic. Prior to that, the title was firmly held by ORD since “the dawn of the jet age,” the Tribune noted. In anticipation of continued growth, ATL recently presented its master plan update to the Atlanta city council’s transportation committee on August 27, which outlined plans for possible terminal expansion and the addition of a sixth runway, among other capital improvements, according to an article posted on Aviation Pros.

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
emma dog September 26, 2014

It all depends on what is being measured by "busiest". ATL and ORD have been trading off busiest by aircraft movements this year. However, when you measure passenger volume, ATL beats ORD by almost 2X margin. By passenger volume, ORD is only #7 in the world. I'd much rather have a ton of passengers than a ton of planes... especially since those ORD planes involve a lot of commuter jets relative to ATL.

aghadden September 25, 2014

The expression is "neck-and-neck". It is an idiom derived from horse racing, referring to their heads and necks being aligned, indicating a tie.

sdsearch September 25, 2014

Why is this title "coveted"? Hearing that an airport is the busiest makes me think it's a crowded mess, and more likely to avoid it!