North American Airport Passenger Traffic Up 1.8 Percent

WASHINGTON - According to recent data released by Airports Council International (ACI), based in Montreal, nearly 1.53 billion passengers arrived and departed from North American airports in 2011, a 1.8 percent increase from the previous year. Cargo decreased by 1.3 percent while total operations decreased by 0.5 percent.

“Government and industry forecasts indicate that demand for air travel will increase over the next decade,” said ACI-NA President Greg Principato.  “Modernizing our aviation infrastructure is critical to not only meet this projected demand but also to foster economic growth and job creation throughout North America.”         

The four busiest airports were Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson with more than 92.4 million passengers, followed by Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (66.7 million), Los Angeles International Airport (61.9 million), and Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (57.7 million).

Memphis International Airport remained the largest cargo airport in North America, handling about 3.9 million metric tons, which is unchanged from last year’s totals. Anchorage International Airport ranked second in North America with a 3.9 percent decrease in its cargo volume to 2.5 million metric tons. 

Canada's busiest airport, once again, is Toronto Pearson International Airport, ranked 15th in North America for passengers with 33.4 million, an increase of 4.7 percent from 2010. It ranked 12th in total cargo with 492,660 metric tons, a 2.5 percent increase, and 13th in total movements with 428,477, an increase of 2.4 percent.

The ACI 2011 Traffic Report contains passenger, freight/mail and aircraft operations data for 214 North American airport members. Total passengers represent the sum of passengers enplaned and deplaned in all commercial services but not passengers who travel in business or general aviation modes of transportation. Total freight/mail figures represent the sum of the total freight and mail—both loaded and unloaded—at the reporting airport. Total aircraft operations reflect the sum total of all domestic commercial, international commercial, commuter, general aviation and military operations. The final 2011 North American traffic summary data is available on ACI-NA's website.

*Passenger traffic is defined as the aggregate total of arriving (deplanement) and departing (enplanement) passengers. Transfer passengers are only counted once.

About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America.  Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports.  Collectively, U.S. airports employ more than 1.3 million people and account for $1.2 trillion in economic activity—or seven percent of the total U.S. workforce and eight percent of GDP.  Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada's GDP. Learn more at