City in China replaces Atlanta: Guangzhou has the most passengers

The corona crisis has overturned the airport rankings worldwide. The largest airport in terms of passenger numbers is now in China. Domestic traffic in particular has recovered quickly.

Steffen Wurzel, ARD Studio Shanghai

At the airports in China there is still a lot less going on these days than in the pre-Corona times, but apart from the almost completely canceled international connections, the mood is largely normal again – and has been since mid-2020.

David Yu, author and aviation expert on the New York University campus in Shanghai says: “The aviation industry in China has suffered less than that in other countries, especially in terms of domestic flights.”

Almost 44 million passengers

Last year, the record holder among the airports in China was the airport in Guangzhou. Around 43.8 million people flew, landed or transferred there in 2020. That was almost 30 million fewer passengers than in 2019 – but because air traffic in other parts of the world has collapsed even more than in China due to the corona pandemic, it is enough for Guangzhou to set a new record: nowhere else in the world were there so many in 2020 Passengers traveling like in Guangzhou.

China has recovered faster

The previous record holder has always been the airport in Atlanta in the USA in recent years. Corona has caused air traffic to collapse drastically in the People’s Republic as well. But the country of origin of the Covid 19 pandemic has recovered faster than other countries, there have been relatively few new infections and few restrictions for months. Accordingly, the Chinese economy has been on the up again since early summer. That helps the aviation industry.

“Whenever there are new infections in China, suspected cases are isolated very aggressively and contacts are consistently followed up,” says Yu. “These measures were and are very successful in building confidence in flying and have helped the industry accordingly.”

Guangzhou: the most important economic metropolis

Guangzhou Airport is a hub for several Chinese companies – including China Southern and Hainan Airlines. Guangzhou is located in the south of China. The city, which was formerly also known as a canton, is the most important economic metropolis of the People’s Republic alongside Shanghai. With around 15 million inhabitants, about as many people live in Guangzhou as in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg together. More than 100 million people live in the greater Guangzhou area.

In Europe, the new Istanbul Airport made it to the top in 2020, replacing London Heathrow.


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