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Tue, Feb 18, 2003

Who's on First -- ORD or ATL?

It Depends...

The 2002 numbers are out, and again Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport (right) is claiming to be the Number One Airport in the World. Through its portals passed 76.8 million passengers. Chicago's O'Hare Internation processed "just" 66.5 million.

Atlanta isn't taking into account that "busiest" may mean more than just how many people have to get turned around in the airport.

Chicago, for instance, says "busiest" should be based on aircraft movements, and ORD  was ahead of that upstart southern airfield in that category -- 922,787 flight ops, an all-time record. Hartsfield was 30,000 shy of that number.

Things are likely to change soon, though, as O'Hare (ORD) is home to bankrupt-and-falling United; it is a secondary hub for troubled American, too. Atlanta is home to struggling Delta, and profitable Air Tran.

However, O'Hare is set to expand by nearly a whole Denver's worth of money, starting next year. On the other hand, Hartsfield is looking at another runway, too, along with extra rail and roads -- something Chicago's got in its plan, too.

It's getting interestinger and interestinger.

FMI: www.ohare.com; www.atlanta-airport.com

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