It’s safe to say 2020 was a horrendous year for air travel.
Recently published world data on passenger traffic by the Airports Council International (ACI) makes this abundantly clear.
The report states that passenger traffic at airports dropped by 64.6% – highlighting the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on air travel.
With China’s relatively quick recovery from the coronavirus outbreak, the country saw domestic air travel rebound faster than most countries, including the US.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport managed to jump 10 spots from 2019 and overtake Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as the busiest airport in the world in 2020, with 43,767,558 total passenger trips.
The figure shows a 40% decline in traffic compared to 2019, while Atlanta passenger traffic fell by more than 60% year-on-year.
Seven Chinese airports made the top 10 for most passenger traffic, including Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai and Xi’an. The remaining three airports are from the US.
Most of the Chinese airports that made the top 10 list in 2020 will likely be replaced once international air travel normalizes. For example, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport jumped from No. 46 and No. 40, respectively, into the top 10.
“The impact of COVID-19 on global passenger traffic brought aviation to a virtual standstill in 2020 and we continue to face an existential threat,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.
[Cover image via @香草VS天空/Weibo]