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O’Hare Climbs Ranks of Busiest Airports Worldwide in ACI World Report Out Today

March 15, 2019 Airport No Comments Email Email

Airports Council International (ACI) World today released its preliminary airport traffic rankings showing that O’Hare International Airport finished 6th for total passenger traffic and 18th for airports in the world for total cargo volumes in 2018. The ACI Report also confirms that Chicago-O’Hare has surpassed Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to become the busiest airport in the world for flight operations, following on FAA’s earlier findings that O’Hare is the busiest in the nation.

Chicago again ranked top 20 for both passenger and cargo and moved up on the ACI list of busiest airports in the world, thanks in part to continued growth at O’Hare, pictured here.
“Chicago is proud to be the home to the busiest airport in the world for total flights, and to continue breaking records as we improve service for customers at O’Hare,” said Jamie L. Rhee, CDA Commissioner. “O’Hare in 2018 witnessed a record year for travel as well as trade, with nearly 50 new flights added—each making Chicago more accessible to travelers and businesses from around the world and creating more economic opportunity for our communities. Working alongside the airlines and federal partners, we will continue to grow connectivity, improve service, and deliver more reasons to choose travel to Chicago-O’Hare than ever before.”
O’Hare is among the few airports worldwide that rank in the top 20 for both passenger volume and cargo tonnage – two leading indicators of an airport’s connectivity and economic strength.

“North America continues to lead the global airport industry in terms of passenger traffic, cargo volume, and movements,” said Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Chicago-O’Hare’s rankings show the important economic role the airport plays in connecting its local businesses and communities.”

The latest ACI World Report reveals Chicago’s airports standing on a global scale, following CDA’s earlier data release for 2018, which saw record levels of growth at O’Hare in terms of both passengers and cargo carried. Passenger volumes increased by more than 4.4 percent, reflecting the highest total in the airport’s history and landing O’Hare’s standing as sixth busiest airport in the world for passengers.

ACI’s report finds air cargo activity levels also rose at O’Hare, with a 3.6 percent increase in activity in 2018 over 2017, beating out the average cargo growth seen worldwide at 3.2 percent. Chicago ranked 18th for overall cargo activity, up from 20th last year. O’Hare ranked 16th for freighter activity, a move from 17th last year, and representing an 8.5 percent increase in cargo-only aircraft served.

Chicago’s surging cargo activity is due to a major investment to create new cargo capacity at O’Hare, resulted in an estimated annual $200 billion in imports and exports handled from Chicago-O’Hare alone. A third installment in O’Hare’s new cargo campus is being planned now in response to the strong demand for moving air cargo through O’Hare to markets around the world.

With worldwide passenger volumes reaching 8.8 billion in 2018, ACI projects passenger volumes to rise to over 16 billion by 2034, and to reach as many as 20.9 billion by 2040. With more travelers than ever before, O’Hare will continue to maintain a strong market for travel as well as trade, thanks to its central geographic location and ongoing investments that will accommodate growing demand.

O’Hare’s modern new airfield sets the stage for an $8.5 billion plan to expand terminals over the next decade. The airport’s largest expansion yet will deliver the addition of a new Global Terminal, three new concourses, 25 percent more gates, 60 percent larger airport terminal area that will allow more space for travelers to dine, shop and relax. These investments are a part of Mayor Emanuel’s O’Hare 21 vision, designed to modernize facilities, expand terminal capacity, and enable O’Hare’s future growth to better connect travelers and Chicago to other parts of the world.

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