Beijing Might Soon Surpass ATL as World’s Busiest Airport, This Stat Shows

Oct 24, 2018

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New numbers show that Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) will have more airline capacity this upcoming quarter than the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta (ATL).

According to airport scheduling data for the fourth quarter of 2018, Airline Weekly reports that PEK will have a higher scheduled seat capacity than ATL.

In scheduled seats, Beijing is edging out Atlanta by 462,179 seats. It’s important to keep in mind that scheduled departing seats is not the metric typically used to measure how busy an airport is. Scheduled seat capacity is a tabulation of physically how many seats are on the aircraft scheduled to fly in and out of an airport. The “busy” definition is usually based on the number of passengers that pass through an airport’s terminals in a given year, in which Atlanta still nabs the top ranking.

But scheduled seats statistics usually indicate the amount of passengers that will be passing through an airport in future years. So, in the near future Beijing should dethrone Atlanta for the world’s busiest airport.

Looking at passenger growth trends in Asia, this change doesn’t exactly come as a shock. Two rapidly growing airports in Asia recently knocked New York’s JFK off the list of top 20 busiest airports in the world: India’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi (DEL) and China’s Guangzhou Airport (CAN) were 2017’s first- and second-fastest growing airports by traffic in the world, respectively.

Both China and India will likely be among the world’s top-three aviation markets by 2020, Airport Council International says, while the Asia Pacific market is on course to have more than 3.5 billion passengers by 2036, according to numbers from the International Air Transport Association.

Featured image by GA161076 / Getty Images.

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