By Talia Avakian
February 05, 2019
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is now the country's busiest.
Credit: Getty Images

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has overtaken Atlanta for the title of the busiest airport in the U.S. in terms of its total flight operations, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This marks the first time the airport has surpassed the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport since 2014, according to the FAA. It’s also the first time the airport has seen its total operations top 900,000 flights since 2007, with the total number of flights coming in and out of the airport in 2018 reaching 903,747.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport saw a total of 895,502 flight operations in 2018, coming in at second place in terms of total operations.

O’Hare’s total flight operations came in at 867,049 in 2017, with the airport seeing some of its busiest days in 2018 occur during the summer.

The busiest days for O’Hare in 2018 were on June 12 (with 2,821 flight operations), June 14 (with 2,845 flight operations), June 27 (with 2,847 flight operations), July 12 (with 2,823 flight operations), and July 19 (with 2,826 flight operations).

“Chicago is proud to be the home of the best-connected airport in the U.S., and now the busiest airport for total flights, as well,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "With more people visiting Chicago every year, our modernization programs at O’Hare and Midway will keep passengers connected to our two leading gateway airports, and will fuel new opportunities for the City and the region for years to come,” he added.

O’Hare, which was also dubbed America's best-connected airport by air travel intelligence company OAG in 2018, is home to dual hub operations from two of the country’s major carriers — United and American — and is in the process of $8.5 billion plan to expand its terminals throughout the next decade.

Chicago is now also the only U.S. city that offers travelers nonstop flights to six continents (all but Antarctica), and is one of only four other cities in the world to offer this connectivity to passengers.

While O’Hare ranks as the nation’s busiest in terms of flight operations, ATL has been known to boast the most passenger traffic based on data from Airports Council International. The airport accommodated roughly 104 million passengers in 2017.

The ACI typically releases preliminary findings on these numbers for each year in the spring, with the finalized results arriving later in the fall to determine which airport was 2018's busiest in terms of its total number of arriving and departing passengers.