Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) ranks as the busiest passenger airport in the world for the 17th consecutive year based on 2014 statistics, according to Airports Council International’s World Airport Traffic Report that came out Monday. The Atlanta airport had 96 million passengers pass through its gates last year for an increase of 1.9 percent compared to 2013.

Also among the Top 10 are Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at No. 5, Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) at No. 7 and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) at No. 9. LAX moved up a spot, Chicago dropped two positions and Dallas/Fort Worth remained the same.

“Atlanta is one of the most accessible destinations in the world with 80 percent of the U.S. population within a two-hour direct flight to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,” said William Pate, president and CEO of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Due to our position as a gateway city to the U.S., meeting attendees from all around the world find that getting to Atlanta is a breeze.”

It’s no coincidence that the busiest passenger airports also are among the top cities for meetings and events. Let’s face it: If it’s easy and convenient to get to a destination, your chances of drawing a record-breaking turnout to your convention goes up dramatically.

Citywides Boost Numbers

busiest-passenger-airportEarlier this summer, for example, Atlanta experienced a record-setting 80 percent hotel occupancy rate in July. Citywide events were definitely a big factor as Atlanta hosted the International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, Alcoholics Anonymous 80th International Convention, Primerica International Convention and American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Those four groups drew a combined 217,000 attendees and had an estimated direct economic impact of $262 million.

“Occupancy levels in Atlanta are greater than ever before because visitors are discovering what locals have been raving about for years,” Pate said. “From world-class attractions to restaurants that suit every taste, Atlanta is one of the most appealing and dynamic destinations in the country.”

Beijing Capital International Airport finished second for number of passengers in 2014, with more than 86 million. It experienced a 2.9 percent increase one year after the double-digit growth. London’s Heathrow Airport ranked No. 3, with more than 73 million passengers. Toyko’s Haneda Airport was fourth with nearly 73 million passengers.

While Atlanta ranks as the busiest passenger airport, Chicago took over the No. 1 spot for total aircraft movement, which means more planes went through the Windy City airport than Georgia’s gem.