China dominates list of busiest airports in year hit by pandemic

China dominates list of busiest airports in year hit by pandemic
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(April 22): The Covid-19 pandemic shuffled global airport rankings last year, with hubs in six Chinese cities moving into the top 10 based on passenger traffic.

Guangzhou’s Bai Yun International topped the list, moving up from 11th place, Airports Council International said in a statement.

Hubs in Chengdu and Shenzen were among the others that joined Beijing Capital International in the elite group. Shanghai’s Hongqiao International surged 37 spots to make the grade while the city’s better-known Pudong, where international flights typically land, dropped off.

Covid reshuffling

The report from the industry’s global trade body puts an official stamp on the disruption sewn by the coronavirus pandemic, which slashed air travel across the world last year, especially in Europe and the US.

Gone from the top 10 are the main airports in Los Angeles, Dubai, Tokyo, Chicago, London and Paris.

China was already closing in on the US before the outbreak. But its ability to contain the virus, combined with a large domestic market, made it the only major air-travel market to fully recover the capacity lost during the downturn — doing so despite its borders remaining mostly shut to international visitors.

“The impact remains uneven with different regions experiencing different challenges and requiring different policy decisions,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said in the statement.

Overall, passenger traffic at the world’s airports declined 65% last year, according to ACI.