North American Airports Continue to Report Passenger Growth in 2016

September 18, 2017


FORT WORTH – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) today released the 2016 North American Airport Traffic Summary, containing passenger, cargo and aircraft operations data from 227 North American airports. In 2016, passenger traffic grew 3.8 percent and cargo traffic increased 2.4 percent.  The 2016 North American Traffic Summary was announced at the 2017 ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Fort Worth, TX.

"This growth highlights the need for airports to continue to modernize their infrastructure in order to accommodate expanding passenger and cargo activity to ensure a modern and competitive 21st-century airport system," said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. "As traffic volume increases, airports are forced to do more with less, which hurts every airports' ability to serve their passengers and communities. We must move quickly to address these challenges, especially as the industry prepares for continued traffic growth in the years ahead.”

Key Findings

  • North American airports experienced a six percent increase in international passenger service.
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remained the world’s most traveled airport with more than 104 million passengers, a 2.6 percent increase from 2015.
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport is once again Canada’s most traveled airport with 44.3 million passengers, an increase of 8 percent from 2015.
  • Memphis International Airport continues to be the busiest cargo airport in North America, handling nearly 4.3 million metric tons.

The 2016 North American Airport Traffic Summary contains passenger, freight/mail and aircraft operations data for 227 North American airports. Total passengers represent the sum of passengers enplaned and deplaned on all commercial aircraft, but not those who travel on business or general airplanes. Total cargo figures represent the sum of the total freight and mail—both loaded and unloaded—at the reporting airport. Total aircraft movements reflect the sum total of all domestic commercial, international commercial, commuter, general aviation and military take-offs and landings. A summary of the data for top 50 North American airports is available on ACI-NA's website

*Passenger traffic is defined as the aggregate total of arriving (deplanement) and departing (enplanement) passengers. Transfer passengers are only counted once.

About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America.  Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports.  Collectively, U.S. airports employ more than 1.3 million people and account for $1.2 trillion in economic activity—or seven percent of the total U.S. workforce and eight percent of GDP.  Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada's GDP. Learn more at