O’Hare was nation’s busiest airport in 2018; Sea-Tac is No. 8

The Atlanta airport slips to No, 2 in the nation, followed by LA, Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver.

Herald News Services

CHICAGO — O’Hare International Airport is once again the nation’s busiest in terms of total flights, surpassing Atlanta for the first time since 2014, according to federal data.

O’Hare’s total flights last year topped 900,000 for the first time since 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration reported Monday. The busiest days for flights at O’Hare occurred during June and July, and the busiest day was June 27, with 2,847 arrivals and departures.

O’Hare also handled more than 83.4 million passengers last year, a 4.5 percent increase over 2017, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation, citing preliminary airline data. Both airports together saw more than 105 million passengers, a new record, the city said.

Los Angeles International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Denver International Airport round out the top five.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was the eighth-business in the nation, up from ninth place in 2017.

O’Hare saw 903,747 flights in 2018, up 4.2 percent compared with the previous year, while Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hosted 895,502 flights, up 1.8 percent, the FAA said. Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver were in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.

O’Hare’s 2018 passenger numbers are not expected to be high enough to surpass Atlanta’s, which saw nearly 104 million passengers in 2017, according to Airports Council International, the global trade representative of the world’s airport authorities. O’Hare used to be the busiest airport in the world in terms of passengers, but Atlanta has held that title for 20 years.

In 2018, the FAA found that more flights have been arriving on time at O’Hare in recent years, moving its ranking from the bottom among large airports to the middle of the pack.

More business does not necessarily mean happier travelers. The airport still ranks low in terms of passenger satisfaction, according to the 2018 North American Airport Satisfaction Survey by J.D. Power, a marketing information services firm.

The city is planning an $8.5 billion expansion of O’Hare.

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