INTERNATIONAL. Global passenger traffic increased +7.5% in 2017 – one of the strongest growth rates on record.

That’s according to the 2018 edition of Airports Council International’s (ACI) World Airport Traffic Report, which uses data drawn from more than 2,500 airports in over 175 countries.

All regions experienced growth as air travel “remained resilient and robust in the face of threats from trade and political tension around the world”, ACI said.

The world’s ten busiest airports in 2017, according to Airports Council International statistics. Click here for the ranking of the top 20.

Some 8,277,676,508 passengers were handled at the world’s airports as aviation’s centre of gravity continued to shift eastward in 2017.

ACI noted that the majority of the world’s fastest-growing large airports are located in emerging markets. Moreover, 16 of the fastest-growing top 30 airports with over 15 million passengers are located in China and India.

ACI World Director General Angela Gittens: “The continuing impact of protectionism and trade wars on international air transport services will likely have a major impact on airports in the future.”

Passenger traffic in advanced economies grew +5.2% compared to +10.3% in emerging economies. ACI said it expected rising incomes in emerging markets to “help propel global traffic to new heights” in the coming decades as new aviation hubs begin to overtake the more mature markets of Western Europe and North America.

In all, 13 airports of the 0 busiest passenger hubs were located in Asia Pacific. ACI noted that traffic at the world’s 30 busiest air passenger hubs grew +5.4% last year, serving almost 2 billion passengers, some 24% of all global passenger traffic.

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport maintained its position as the world’s busiest airport by handling just under 104 million passengers in 2017. Beijing Capital International stayed in second place with over 95 million passengers, while Dubai International remained third with more than 88 million. Dubai also maintained its position as the world’s busiest hub for international passenger traffic.

“Global passenger traffic has reached record levels as airports continued to make a crucial contribution to furthering economic development and global connectivity,” said ACI World Director General Angela Gittens.

“While strong competitive forces continue to drive innovation and improvements in efficiency and service for passengers, airports face the challenges of meeting the continuing global growth in demand for air services.”

Dubai International maintained its position as the world’s busiest hub for international passenger traffic in 2017.