Ric Feld  /  AP
Aircraft litter the tarmac at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport last summer. The airport topped Chicago's O'Hare as the nation's busiest in terms of takeoffs and landings, the FAA said Tuesday.
updated 1/4/2006 8:43:41 AM ET 2006-01-04T13:43:41

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has topped Chicago O’Hare International Airport as the nation’s busiest in terms of takeoffs and landings, the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.

Hartsfield-Jackson finished 2005 with 980,197 takeoffs and landings, while O’Hare was second with 972,246.

O’Hare had the most takeoffs and landings in the U.S. in 2004 with 992,471, compared to 964,793 at Hartsfield-Jackson, the FAA said.

A possible explanation for the surge at the Atlanta airport is fleet and operational changes at Delta Air Lines Inc., which has its hub in Atlanta. The airline, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, has shifted more flights to Atlanta after shuttering its hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and scaling back operations in Cincinnati.

“The transformation plan network changes that are being made with regard to right-sizing ... has added to that as well,” Delta spokeswoman Chris Kelly said.

The Atlanta airport for the last several years has been the busiest airport in terms of passengers, though FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said that full-year numbers in that category are not yet available for 2005.

The Atlanta airport also is considered the busiest in the world. Bergen wasn’t immediately able to provide numbers of takeoffs and landings and passengers for airports outside the United States.

Dallas-Fort Worth was third in the U.S. in takeoffs and landings in 2005 with 718,291, while Los Angeles International Airport was fourth with 650,539, according to the FAA.

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