The world’s busiest airport is ….

Story highlights

An American city retains its title as the world's busiest passenger airport for another year

In terms of international passengers, Dubai is the world's busiest

CNN  — 

Atlanta has done it again, holding off Beijing to retain its title as the world’s busiest passenger airport.

More than 100 million passengers passed though Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International in 2015, a rise of 5.5% over 2014 according to preliminary traffic data released by Airports Council International (ACI).

The report credits Atlanta’s strategic location as a major connecting hub and port of entry into North America for its continuing success, noting that it’s within a two-hour flight of 80% of the United States population.

Though the Georgia airport has held the top spot for 18 years, it was expected to finally lose its crown to the Chinese capital.

The overall news is also good for the world’s airports.

Worldwide passenger traffic increased 6.4% in 2015 to almost 7.2 billion, with increases in all the world’s six regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America-Caribbean, Middle East and Africa.

Worldwide cargo traffic, including mail, rose 2.6%. The world’s largest air cargo hub remains Hong Kong, China. The US city of Memphis, Tennessee, took the second spot, followed by Shanghai, China.

While geopolitical unrest, terrorism and physical capacity could become challenges to future growth, “history supports the long-run resiliency of the industry where connecting people, places, cultures and commerce is paramount in the shared mission of the aviation community,” said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World.

ACI’s figures and percentages from the annual report are based on data from more than 2,300 airports in 160 countries worldwide.

Dubai handled most international traffic in 2015

The one to watch? Definitely Dubai.

The sixth busiest airport in 2014, it moved to third position in 2015, with total passenger traffic growing by 10.7%.

The second busiest U.S. airport on the list is Chicago O’Hare, which moved from seventh to fourth position in 2015 thanks to growth of 9.8%.

When it comes to aircraft movements, U.S. airports continue to dominate.

Atlanta overtook last year’s leader, Chicago, with 882,497 total takeoffs and landings. Chicago had 875,136.

Coming in at third, Dallas Fort Worth saw 681,244 takeoffs and landings in 2015, followed by Los Angeles, with 655,564, and Beijing with 590,169.

“We’re not the busiest, we’re the most-traveled”

When it comes to public perception, turns out being at the top of the busy list isn’t necessarily a good thing.

In February, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport announced that it would rather people referred to it as “world’s most-traveled airport.”

General Manager Miguel Southwell told local media that “some really smart marketing people” learned that the word “busy” has a negative connotation.

“So it’s ‘world’s most-traveled,’” Southwell said.

“Please note that we’re no longer using the term ‘the busiest airport.’”

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