Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport becomes world's busiest airport in 2020
Published: Jan 25, 2021 07:21 PM

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport on October 1, 2020 Photo: cnsphoto

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport was the world's busiest airport with 43.768 million passengers in 2020, the airport said on Monday, the first time for a Chinese airport to reach this ranking.

The data broke the record of the Atlanta International Airport in the US after 22 years.

Baiyun airport, one of China's three giant airports along with those in Beijing and Shanghai, noted that passenger throughput in 2018 was 69.74 million, ranking 13th globally, and it climbed to 11th place in 2019 with 73.39 million. 

In 2020, the global air transport industry was in a downturn, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the gradual effective control of the epidemic in China and the resumption of work and production, the domestic air transport industry recovered. 

Although the passenger throughput of Baiyun airport in 2020 was 40 percent lower than in 2019, it surpassed Atlanta airport, which is still in a downturn, and became the world's busiest airport for the first time.

On January 23, the Atlanta airport said its passenger throughput was 42.9 million in 2020, a year-on-year decrease of more than 60 percent.

Baiyun Airport has gone far beyond the transportation and operation management of an airport, Zhang Kejian, chairman of the Guangdong Airport Authority, said on Monday, adding the result is the best reward for all parties to work together to fight against the epidemic.

The airport said that its operations were significantly affected by the epidemic at the beginning of last year, as in February, passenger flow fell to a "freezing point" of 967,000.

But activity started to pick up in March 2020, and the performance continued to improve for 10 consecutive months. In July 2020, the capacity ranked first in China, and during the eight days of the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, a total of 1.33 million passengers were carried and 10,100 planes took off and landed, a record high since the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

In November 2020, Baiyun became the only domestic airport to exceed 5 million passengers after the outbreak.

Behind these figures was the strong support provided by the rapid resumption of work and production in South China's Guangdong Province, a major manufacturing hub in the nation.

On March 26, 2020, 99 percent of Guangdong's industrial enterprises above designated size had fully resumed work. Guangdong's GDP in the first three quarters went from contraction to growth of 0.7 percent, and the growth of industrial enterprises above designated size in the province in the first 11 months shifted from contraction to growth.

Guangdong achieved 2020 GDP growth of 2.3 percent year-on-year against the headwinds that the export-oriented economy faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Guangdong's Governor Ma Xingrui said. 

The province's GDP surpassed the 11 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) mark in 2020 for the first time, a jump from 7.5 trillion yuan in 2015, ranking No.1 for the 32nd year among all Chinese provincial-level regions in terms of economic output, Ma said during the government work report delivered on Sunday.

Global Times