American air traffic up 4.3 % in 2005

More than 1.52 billion passengers traveled through North American airports in 2005, an increase of 4.3 percent, the Airports Council International-North America has revealed.Both cargo and total operations, however, declined slightly by 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

“North American passengers are returning to the skies in record numbers and many air carriers continue to add flights in markets across the U.S. and Canada. The numbers reinforce ACI-NA’s 2005 Capital Needs Survey, which shows that airports plan to spend $14.3 billion per year over the next five years to add capacity and upgrade facilities to meet that demand,” said ACI-NA President Greg Principato.

“This is clearly not the time to reduce investment in airport infrastructure as the Administration proposed in its Fiscal Year 2007 budget. As we move toward FAA Reauthorization in 2007,” he said, “we need to find ways to increase investment in the nation’s aviation system.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport retained the number one worldwide ranking for passenger traffic, counting 85.9 million passengers in 2005, a 2.8 percent increase over 2004. Atlanta was followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport (76.5 million) and Los Angeles International Airport (61.5 million).

Memphis International Airport remained the busiest cargo airport in the world, handling over 3.6 million metric tons—an increase of 1.2 percent over its final 2004 numbers.


Atlanta replaced Chicago as the airport with the greatest number of total operations worldwide with a yearly total of 980,386 movements. Chicago posted a 2 percent decrease in operation at 972,248 movements. Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport ranked third with 711,878 operations, a decrease of 11.5 percent.

Canada’s busiest airport in two of the three categories is Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, ranking 17th in North America for passengers (29.9 million) and 18th in total movements (409,401). Vancouver International Airport ranked highest at 30th in Canada for cargo (223,677 metric tons).