And the World’s Busiest Airport is… – But Only If Today is Saturday

By Anna Breuer on 24 May 2020
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There are several ways to determine the world’s busiest airport.

One method is by passenger traffic, the total number of passengers emplaned and deplaned, but there hasn’t been a lot of that recently so let’s put that to the side. Another is the total of loaded and unloaded freight and mail.  The third is the number of traffic movements, meaning takeoffs and landings, at an airport.

Indeed, the Airports International Council, an industry group founded in 1991, codified all this.

Typically the world’s biggest airport by aircraft movements or the number of flights as well as passenger traffic would be Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which it was for 2019.  Historically, until the mid 1950s, New York’s LaGuardia Airport had the most passengers and flight operations until it was surpassed by Chicago Midway, while Memphis International, the home of FedEx, held the title for the biggest when measured by loaded and unloaded freight from 1993 to 2009.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, however, all bets are off, and – at least on some Saturdays – Alaska’s Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport holds the crown for busiest airport based on flight operations, the number of takeoffs and landings.

The airport saw 744 flight operations on May 2, while Chicago O’Hare had 579 and Atlanta had 529, airport manager Jim Szczesniak told CNN.

Anchorage Airport opened in 1951, and was served by Alaska Airlines Northwest Orient, Pacific Northern Airlines, and Reeve Aleutian Airways, and saw aircraft ranging from Douglas DC-3s to Boeing 377 Stratocruisers. It was used as a stopover for many airlines flying to and from Asia because airlines were forbidden from flying over China, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Bloc countries and early aircraft including the first generation of jet aircraft and wide-body airliners did not have the range to fly non-stop across the Pacific Ocean.

The airport was renamed to honor Senator Ted Stevens in 2000.  Stevens had survived a crash at the airport in 1978 that resulted in the death of his wife.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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