Despite rebound, O'Hare still lags behind other major airports; no longer busiest in nation

Two air traffic control towers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport
Photo credit Getty Images Stock

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Traffic rebounded last year at Chicago’s airports, but O’Hare lags behind Atlanta’s airport as the nation’s busiest.

The number of flights at O’Hare last year was up 27 percent from 2020, but down 26 percent from 2019, before the pandemic. Midway also saw a rebound, but was also down 20 percent from 2019.

The FAA reported O’Hare had just over 684,000 flights in 2021.

Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had over 707,000 flights, which was also down 22 percent from 2019. As recently as 2019, O’Hare led Hartsfield-Jackson in total operations, according to Crain's.

The Chicago recovery lags behind the nation’s other large airports, especially away from the coasts.

Dallas, Denver, and Charlotte saw smaller decreases compared to 2019.

According to Crain's, O’Hare is more dependent on international and business travel, less on leisure trips, which have recovered more quickly.