It sometimes has been said ironically that at the end of our lives, whether we are bound for heaven or hell, we surely will have to change planes at the Atlanta airport.
That’s because that particular airport is the transfer point for so many flights to — well, anywhere.
It now is reported, to the surprise of few in our area, that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta remains the world’s busiest airport.
But reporting what’s first in anything always raises a question: “What’s second?”
It’s Beijing Capital International Airport in the world’s most populous nation: Communist China.
Atlanta’s airport had passenger traffic of 89,331,622 — yes, nearly 90 million! — in 2010.
Beijing’s airport was second, with “only” 73,891,801.
Following were Chicago O’Hare with 66,665,390; London Heathrow with 65,884,143; Tokyo/Haneda with 64,069,098; Los Angeles with 58,915,100; Paris Charles de Gaulle with 58,167,062; Dallas/Fort Worth with 56,905,066; Frankfurt, Germany, with 53,009,221; and Denver with 52,211,242.
Many Chattanoogans fly out of and into Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. But many local people just drive a little more than a hundred miles to join the crowd in Atlanta to begin their flights.
Can anyone look at our freeways and even imagine how crowded they would be if we didn’t have so much airline service throughout our country — to everywhere?