North American Airports Experience Record Growth in 2017

September 20, 2018

WASHINGTON – Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) today released the 2017 North American Airport Traffic Summary, containing passenger, cargo and aircraft operations data from 231 North American airports. In 2017, passenger traffic grew 3.7 percent and cargo traffic increased 7.1 percent.

“The record growth in passenger and cargo volume at airports across North America in 2017 could not better illustrate the need for more modern and efficient airport infrastructure,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “In many cases, an airport’s growth far outpaces its ability to invest in essential infrastructure improvements that enhance the passenger experience because of outdated federal rules on airport infrastructure financing. Airports continue to call on Congress and the Trump Administration to work together and provide airports with the tools they need to make local infrastructure investment decisions, including eliminating the outdated cap on the Passenger Facility Charge user fee and increasing the Airport Improvement Program.”

Key Findings

  • North American airports experienced a 5.8 percent increase in international passenger traffic and a 3.3 percent increase in domestic passenger traffic.
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remained the world’s busiest airport with nearly 104 million passengers.
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport is once again Canada’s most traveled airport with 47.1 million passengers, an increase of 6.3 percent from 2016.
  • Memphis International Airport continues to be the busiest cargo airport in North America, handling more than 4.3 million metric tons.

The 2017 North American Airport Traffic Summary contains passenger, freight/mail and aircraft operations data for 231 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 the top 50 North American airports is available on ACI-NA’s website.


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 support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at