Atlanta tops Beijing for world's busiest airport crown

Atlanta tops Beijing for world's busiest airport crown
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Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has topped Beijing International to retain the title of "world's busiest airport," according to Airports Council International (ACI). 

The Atlanta airport had 96 million passengers in 2014, compared to 86 million who passed through Beijing last year, according to the group that monitors worldwide airport traffic. 

Atlanta's margin over the second-place airport decreased from a 10.7 million spread in 2013, but traffic at the airport itself went up from 94.4 million that year. 

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The airport group said the growth is a sign of the popularity of air travel in the face of challenging economic factors in several areas of the world. 

“Passenger traffic remained resilient in the face of the global uncertainties that beleaguered many economies in 2013 and 2014,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said in a statement. 

"International tourism, in particular, was irrepressible in 2014 considering the geopolitical risks that have persisted in certain parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East," she continued. "The Ebola outbreak also presented significant challenges to the aviation sector. Notwithstanding, by and large, the international traveller in 2014 appears to have been immune to these potential dangers. Overall global passenger traffic grew at a rate of over 5 percent. This is above the 4.3 percent average annual growth rate in passenger traffic from 2004 to 2014."   

The title of "world's busiest airport" has become a coveted position that allows a city to crow about its attractiveness to visitors. 

Hartsfield-Jackson has been the passenger traffic titleholder since the 1990s, although the airport group said this year Chicago's O'Hare International Airport had more airplane takeoffs and landings. 

Los Angeles International Airport was the second-busiest domestic airport — and fifth worldwide — in terms of passenger numbers, with 70 million passengers. Chicago's O'Hare was in third place domestically — seventh overall — with 69 million.