ATLANTA — In a remarkable sign of how the coronavirus pandemic has changed things, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport - famed as the world's busiest - is now less busy on a typical day than the airport in Anchorage, Alaska.
A CNN report this weekend outlined how, thanks mostly to increased cargo routes through Alaska, the Anchorage airport has seen a serious uptick in traffic - on some especially busy days it even becomes the busiest in the world, a title usually belonging to Atlanta.
But a look at the FAA's most recent flight data, through April 29, shows it doesn't even need to be an especially busy day for Anchorage to be more active than Atlanta - it's just that way every day, now.
As lockdowns around the country set in during April, traffic through Atlanta gradually fell. Up through April 22, Atlanta still conducted more total operations every day than Anchorage.
But every day after that on record, from April 23-29, the airport of Alaska's largest city was busier.
The data show that on April 29, the last day for which there is current data available on the FAA site, Anchorage conducted 646 operations to Atlanta's 613.
For reference, on April 29, 2019, Atlanta conducted 2,610 operations.
According to Airports Council International, the Atlanta airport lost more than 18% of its traffic in the first quarter of this year - a time period that doesn't even capture the full scope of the COVID-19 impact on travel.
In the second quarter of this year, according to a recent ACI report, airports around the world are expected to lose 2 billion passengers in the second quarter. More than a half billion of those fewer passengers are expected for the North America region.
Meanwhile, Hartsfield-Jackson continues to stay ready for those few who are traveling through.