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Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson retains 'world's busiest' title despite overall lagging numbers

In spite of overall U.S. airline passenger numbers falling 5.3 percent in 2009, data released Monday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics once again showed Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to be the world’s busiest.

Tallying year-end data from 2009, the Bureau enumerated the total number of passengers emplaned at Hartsfield-Jackson at 42 million, besting runner-up Chicago O’Hare by 11 mil. passengers.

Though all showed a percentage drop in total number of passengers, the ten busiest U.S. airports remained the same from 2008, with Houston’s Bush Airport supplanting Las Vegas’s McCarran at the number 7 spot. [In order from busiest: Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, New York JFK, Houston Bush, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco]

Of the ten, Chicago’s O’Hare suffered the largest passenger drop, dipping 7.5 percent, or 2.5 mil. passengers.

Among U.S. based airlines, Southwest remained at the top of the list, enplaning 101mil. passengers in 2009, and while, like the airports, each airline also saw their total number of passengers trend downward, Southwest showed the smallest decrease, falling a miniscule 0.6 percent from 2008.

Atlanta-based Delta retained the third spot, enplaning 67 mil. passengers.

July remained the busiest month for air travel in the U.S for the third straight year, and although passenger rates were down from 2008 in every other month, December actually showed a slight increase, rising 0.7 percent.

The full report from BTS can be seen HERE.

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