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Atlanta airport busiest in the world - again

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The Federal Aviation Administration's statistics from 2007 show that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is, once again, the busiest airport in the world.

The airport has been using the slogan, "The World's Busiest Airport," since Hartsfield-Jackson took the title from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2004.

The FAA statistics show 994,466 airplanes flew in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson, during the year. There were 722,461 large jets, 257,722 small jets, 11,120 general aviation and 824 military flights, according to the preliminary numbers released on Wednesday.

The total number of flights was up by almost two percent. At O'Hare, in 2007, the number of flights decreased by 2.4 percent.

The third busiest airport in the country, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, was also down more than two percent in 2007, with a total of 686,711 flights.

The major Chicago airport saw 617,135 large jets, 299,356 small jets, 10,308 general aviation and 174 military flights, and a total of 935,000, according to the FAA numbers.

Herschel Grangent, spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson, said there is a bit of friendly rivalry between the Atlanta and Chicago airports.

"Friendly competition is always good," Grangent said. "They had the title before, and we're trying our best to make sure they don't ever get it back."

Grangent said the credit for being the busiest airport in the world is shared with Delta Airlines and Air Tran Airways, the two largest airlines in Atlanta.

"Air Tran's domestic strategy and Delta's international strategy will keep us the busiest airport in the world," Grangent said. "Delta is 70 percent of our business and they're constantly adding routes. As they grow, we grow."

Hartsfield-Jackson has responded to the title by looking for new ways -- such as the fifth runway, finished in 2006, Taxiway Victor, finished in 2007, and the International Terminal, currently under construction -- to manage expanding capacity.