Geneva: Atlanta's Hartsfield International topped the list of the world's busiest airport terminals in 2007, according to a report issued by Airports Council International, an industry association, ahead of likely candidates - Chicago O'Hare and London Heathrow.
The Council's annual report also says that nearly 4.8 billion passengers flew to their destinations last year, about 6.8 per cent more than in 2006..
A note of warning was sounded by Council director-general, Angela Gittens, however, who pointed out that traffic growth had slowed during the first months of the current year, running only about 3 per cent higher than in 2007.
"Although we are still expanding, particularly in international traffic, we see some clouds on the horizon: slowing economies in certain nations and regions, the high price of fuel, airline financial difficulties, to name a few,'' she said.
As for the busiest airports, Atlanta took the top spot in 2007 with 89.4 million passenger arrivals and departures, an increase of 5.3 per cent over 2006. It was well ahead of Chicago's O'Hare, which came in second with 76 million passengers and London Heathrow which came in third with 68 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
- Tokyo, Haneda 67 million
- Los Angeles 62 million
- Paris, Charles De Gaulle 59.9 million
- Dallas, Fort Worth 59.7 million
- Frankfurt, Germany 54.2 million
- Beijing 53.6 million
- Madrid, Spain 52.1 million
The report says that the fastest growth was experienced in the Middle East, up 11.3 per cent, followed by Africa, 11.2 per cent and Asia-Pacific, 9.1 per cent.
North America reported the slowest growth at 3.5 per cent while Europe turned in 7.4 per cent.
The growth in cargo traffic slowed slightly to 3.2 per cent, with 88.5 million metric tons handled.
Memphis, the hub of FedEx airlines, remained the largest cargo airport in the world, the group said.