Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, also known as Delhi Airport, has emerged as the ninth busiest airport in the world in 2022, handling over 59 million passengers annually.
Airports Council International (ACI) World has published the top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2022 report, which puts IGI airport at the ninth place a jump from 13th position in 2021 and 17th before the pandemic in 2019. The handling of over 59 million passengers was a, over 60 per cent rise in the passenger handling as compared to 2021, the ACI figures said.
Delhi airport is one position behind London’s Heathrow Airport, which handled over 61 million passengers with Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport taking the 10th position behind IGI.
The report welcomes back some of the world’s largest airport hubs as international traffic returns, marking an important milestone in air travel’s full recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
ACI said, preliminary figures indicate that with the resumption of international travel, 2022 global passenger traffic reached close to seven billion, representing an increase of 53.5% from 2021, or a 73.8% recovery from 2019 results.
The top 10 airports for total passenger traffic, representing 10% of global traffic, witnessed a gain of 51.7% from 2021 amounting to 85.9% recovery vis-à-vis their 2019 results.
Holding their positions from 2021, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (93.7 million passengers) is at the top of the 2022 rankings, followed by Dallas Fort Worth Airport (73.4 million passengers), Denver Airport (69.3 million passengers) and Chicago O’Hare Airport (68.3 million passengers), the report said.
Airports reinstated in the upper ranks also include Dubai Airport achieving 5th rank (66.1 million passengers), Los Angeles CA at 6th (65.9 million passengers), Istanbul Airport reaching 7th position (64.3 million passengers) followed by London Heathrow Airport, Delhi Airport, and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in the 8th, 9th, and 10th spots respectively.
The biggest jump in the top 10 was recorded for London Heathrow (LHR). The airport improved its ranking from the 54th position as borders reopened in March 2022 after two years of closures.
ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “The new top 10 busiest airports for passenger traffic reflects the resilience of the airport and aviation industry, and the eagerness of passengers to travel by air. While US airport hubs were able to recover quicker due to their strong domestic market, we are now witnessing global hubs joining upper ranks—including Dubai, Istanbul, and London Heathrow airport. While we continue to march forward cautiously amidst multiple headwinds that could impact the speed and magnitude of global air traffic recovery, the latest rankings represent an important milestone in reaching pre-pandemic levels. The re-opening of China, the second largest aviation market after the US, is now expected to bring an overall gain, both domestically and for international travel”.
Incidentally, Air cargo volumes are estimated to have decreased by 6.7% year-over-year (-1.7% versus 2019), to close to 117 million metric tonnes in 2022.
The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.