Serving 43.8 million passengers yearly, China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is now the busiest airport in the world.

Hit by the pandemic, the air travel industry reconfigured the list of the world’s busiest airports. After 22 consecutive years, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) lost its title as Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) mounted to the top of the list and crowned itself the busiest airport in the world. 

On January 25, 2021, Guangzhou airport announced it had carried 43.8 million passengers in 2020. In 2018, the airport carried 69.74 million and ranked 13th on the list of the busiest airports. In 2019, it climbed to 11th place with 73.39 million yearly passengers. In 2020, even experiencing a 40% drop of passenger traffic, Guangzhou airport outperformed Atlanta International Airport, which has seen a slower recovery from the pandemic.

In 2019, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the busiest airport by passenger volume and served 110.5 million passengers. In the first quarter of 2020, passenger traffic dropped to 20.7 million passengers. On January 23, 2021, the Atlanta airport said its passenger numbers mounted to 42.9 million in 2020.

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The ongoing pandemic reordered cities’ air connectivity rankings. While declined traffic affects all markets, there are no winners.