(CNN) — Seven of the world’s top 10 busiest airports in 2020 were in China while the former world’s busiest airport — Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States — fell to No. 2 in the rankings after 22 consecutive years in the top spot.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China was the world’s busiest airport in 2020, rising to the No. 1 spot from its No. 11 ranking in 2019, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by airport trade organization Airports Council International (ACI).
Dramatic shifts in the top 10 list for passenger numbers — and the decimation of global air traffic overall — is of course because of the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to disrupt travel all over the globe.
Guangzhou saw 43.8 million passengers in 2020, down 40% from 2019. Atlanta had 42.9 million passengers last year, a precipitous 61% drop from 2019.
Atlanta’s fall from the top slot is expected to be temporary, according to Patrick Lucas, ACI World’s vice president for economics.
“While the industry recovers, we expect ATL to retake its spot at the top in the coming years,” Lucas said.
Airports in the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Shenzhen, Kunming, Shanghai and Xi’an were also among the top 10 in 2020, rising from 2019 rankings as low as No…