With its five terminals, endless flurry of travellers and busy skies, many people assume that London’s Heathrow hub is the most visited airport on the planet.
But according to new figures released today, the UK capital’s biggest air terminus is only third on the global list of the world’s busiest airports.
The statistics, which use passenger numbers as the key gauge of an airport’s importance, show that Heathrow had 72 million passengers in 2013 – a rise of 3.3 per cent on 2012.
But this was easily eclipsed by Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the southern US city of Atlanta – which retained its position as the planet’s busiest air hub.
A crucial connection airport for travellers within the United States – or for visitors from Europe continuing further west into the USA, or on into Central and South America – Hartsfield-Jackson played host to 94 million passengers in 2013.
However, this was a slight decrease – of 1.1 per cent – on the airport’s performance in 2012, according to the figures released by the Airports Council International (ACI).
This allowed a fast-growing rival to close the gap towards the top of the list.
Beijing Capital International Airport saw 84 million passengers pass through its doors and terminals in 2012 – an increase of 2.2 per cent on numbers for the previous year.
Positions three to six in the list remained unchanged.
Heathrow held its ground, followed closely by Tokyo International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International and Los Angeles International.
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