Record numbers of travelers have passed through U.S. airports since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in ways that in some ways have mirrored that chaos. The Department of Homeland Security’s annual domestic travel reports are available at www.travel.state.gov, which includes a breakdown of the largest airports.
The year’s total was 8.4 million — on par with last year, when 8.6 million traveled through the nation’s 100 largest airports. Nearly 1 million people flew through Dallas-Fort Worth; more than 800,000 went through Washington Dulles; more than 600,000 through Chicago O’Hare; more than 500,000 through Newark Liberty and Chicago Midway airports, respectively. In addition, about 150,000 people flew through Kennedy Airport and more than 100,000 through Boston Logan. Chicago’s O’Hare is the largest, with 132 million passengers passing through in 2011. New York’s JFK and Newark, New Jersey, airports are second and third in this category, and Washington Dulles, Cleveland Hopkins, Denver International and Portland International round out the top 10.
At the bottom of the list are airports such as Pittsburgh International, Peoria Regional, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Tampa International. Nearly 40 percent of their passengers were traveling only on weekdays. Fourteen percent flew on weekends, which was the case for only 10 percent of all travelers.
In some airports, the percentage of travelers flying for leisure was as high as 88 percent. Other airports, such as Sacramento, rank among the 20 percent of travelers who flew for business purposes.