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airlineAZ
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10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sat Feb 20, 2021 4:56 pm

Just stumbled on this cool article. Shows a list of the top 10 and 30 busiest airports in the world by passenger traffic at the beginning of the Jet Age in 1961.

Interesting to see 2 NYC airports and 2 Chicago area airports in the top 10...Sign of the times...America was on top, and it seems Europe had barely recovered from WWII...The rest of the world except for maybe Australia and NZ were still in the developmental stage for aviation.

https://www.airporthistory.org/blue-concourse/the-worlds-busiest-airports-at-the-dawn-of-the-jet-age
 
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FLALEFTY
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:43 pm

Interesting article.

In 1961, EWR was basically a regional airport that finally grew up over 20 years later. While JFK still ruled as America's primary international gateway, in the mid/late-1980's EWR started competing with JFK when Virgin Atlantic and People Express began flying B742's to the UK and Europe. When Continental swallowed up the remains of People Express, the EWR ops were their major prize. Continental expanded EWR into a significant international gateway. United merged with Continental and continued this expansion. In 2019 over 46 million passengers passed through EWR.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:23 am

Facinating reas. With Midway unable to handle 1st generation jets, that year was in the process or O'Hare becoming a powerhouse. The transfer completed and Midway faded for a long time.

Seeing Atlanta at #8 is weird. For 22 years it has been #1 (ok, maybe not 2020, but we'll see).

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jfklganyc
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:44 am

FLALEFTY wrote:
Interesting article.

In 1961, EWR was basically a regional airport that finally grew up over 20 years later. While JFK still ruled as America's primary international gateway, in the mid/late-1980's EWR started competing with JFK when Virgin Atlantic and People Express began flying B742's to the UK and Europe. When Continental swallowed up the remains of People Express, the EWR ops were their major prize. Continental expanded EWR into a significant international gateway. United merged with Continental and continued this expansion. In 2019 over 46 million passengers passed through EWR.



Was Newark mentioned in this article? I didnt see it.
 
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FLALEFTY
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:08 am

jfklganyc wrote:
FLALEFTY wrote:
Interesting article.

In 1961, EWR was basically a regional airport that finally grew up over 20 years later. While JFK still ruled as America's primary international gateway, in the mid/late-1980's EWR started competing with JFK when Virgin Atlantic and People Express began flying B742's to the UK and Europe. When Continental swallowed up the remains of People Express, the EWR ops were their major prize. Continental expanded EWR into a significant international gateway. United merged with Continental and continued this expansion. In 2019 over 46 million passengers passed through EWR.



Was Newark mentioned in this article? I didnt see it.


No, EWR wasn't mentioned in the article. But I tried to mention why JFK went from World #1 in '1961, to off the top-ten list by 2019. The rise of international service at EWR was the main reason that traffic at JFK was moderated over the years.
 
mga707
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:44 am

Dallas is interesting--different airports, but about the same ranking. DAL was #11 in '61; DFW was #10 in '19.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:44 am

I just checked. At the end of the article there's a link to the Top 30 busiest airports in 1961 https://www.airporthistory.org/busiest-airports-1961.html. That year, Newark was 13th busiest in the world and 11th busiest in the US.

Airports like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Montreal are in the top 20. Wow!
 
mga707
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:46 am

jfklganyc wrote:
FLALEFTY wrote:
Was Newark mentioned in this article? I didnt see it.


Yes, EWR ranked #13 on the 1961 top 30. Not on the 2019 top 30.
 
eielef
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 2:07 am

It seems odd they "forgot" all Soviet airports. At a certain point, even till the 1980s, Soviet aviation was massive. At a certain point, SU had more aircraft than all US airlines combined. We are speaking of up to 8000 aircraft/helicopters.
The information is really hard to find... But if someone has it, please share it!.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:26 am

eielef wrote:
It seems odd they "forgot" all Soviet airports. At a certain point, even till the 1980s, Soviet aviation was massive. At a certain point, SU had more aircraft than all US airlines combined. We are speaking of up to 8000 aircraft/helicopters.
The information is really hard to find... But if someone has it, please share it!.


If Russian wikipedia is to be believed, Pulkovo had 362,000 passengers in 1960, so if true, not in the top 30. Moscow airports either hadn't opened yet or were missing data, and I don't speak Russian, so can't do any more digging.
 
BAINY3
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:58 am

It's amazing to see how these numbers have grown over time. To give one example, MSP in 2020, even with the Covid slowdown in full effect, managed nearly 15 million passengers. If not for Covid it was on pace to break 40 million, and it still didn't break the top 50 globally in 2019. That's still busier than ORD & MDW combined handled in 1961, at just over 13 million. Although the three NYC airports combined still came in at over 16 million that year.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:00 am

FLALEFTY wrote:
jfklganyc wrote:
FLALEFTY wrote:
Interesting article.

In 1961, EWR was basically a regional airport that finally grew up over 20 years later. While JFK still ruled as America's primary international gateway, in the mid/late-1980's EWR started competing with JFK when Virgin Atlantic and People Express began flying B742's to the UK and Europe. When Continental swallowed up the remains of People Express, the EWR ops were their major prize. Continental expanded EWR into a significant international gateway. United merged with Continental and continued this expansion. In 2019 over 46 million passengers passed through EWR.



Was Newark mentioned in this article? I didnt see it.


No, EWR wasn't mentioned in the article. But I tried to mention why JFK went from World #1 in '1961, to off the top-ten list by 2019. The rise of international service at EWR was the main reason that traffic at JFK was moderated over the years.



It has nothing to do with that at all.

All the top ten airports were in large destination cities.

Places like Charlotte were small towns in 1961. Places like Dallas were small cities.

The busiest airports of the day today are in large hubs with huge amounts of connections. Many of those hubs are in Medium sized to newish Large sized cities. They have lots of land to expand.

JFK still has more international traffic than any US airport.

But small airports like LGA and DCA and medium sized airports like JFK and EWR cant compete with mega hubs like Atlanta or Shanghai. They are small, have bad airspace congestion and pose operational nightmares.

We think of JFK as busy. But when I do an ATL turn out of Kennedy, you quickly realize that they move more metal off one runway at a rapid pace than places like JFK or EWR could ever dream of. They arent even in the same league.

Furthermore, as places in Asia continue to develop mega airports, look for most US airports to be pushed down the list.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:01 am

Pupntaco wrote:
Airports like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Montreal are in the top 20. Wow!


That's not surprising at all when one considers the historical environment and population demographics at that time. Cleveland was the eighth largest city in the U.S. in 1960 and Pittsburgh was sixteenth. Further, PIT was one of the earliest airline hubs -- Allegheny basically grew from a small local service carrier into USAir(ways) on the strength of that hub (and buying up competitors).

Montreal as a metropolitan region was quite a bit larger than Toronto in 1960 -- it was Canada's financial capital and a manufacturing powerhouse. Toronto only surpassed Montreal for metro population in the mid-1970s -- thanks in part to an exodus of businesses due to the threat of Quebec separatism.
 
SCQ83
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:56 am

ScottB wrote:
Pupntaco wrote:
Airports like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Montreal are in the top 20. Wow!


That's not surprising at all when one considers the historical environment and population demographics at that time. Cleveland was the eighth largest city in the U.S. in 1960 and Pittsburgh was sixteenth. Further, PIT was one of the earliest airline hubs -- Allegheny basically grew from a small local service carrier into USAir(ways) on the strength of that hub (and buying up competitors).

Montreal as a metropolitan region was quite a bit larger than Toronto in 1960 -- it was Canada's financial capital and a manufacturing powerhouse. Toronto only surpassed Montreal for metro population in the mid-1970s -- thanks in part to an exodus of businesses due to the threat of Quebec separatism.


Definitely the most shocking (although I agree it is no surprising) is to see CLE and PIT in the Top 30. Just for comparison.

1961

LAX - 6.947 M
MIA - 3.761 M
PIT - 2.3 M
CLE - 2.253 M
SEA - 1.62 M

2019.

LAX - 88 M (x12)
MIA - 45 M (x12)
PIT - 10 M (x4)
CLE - 10 M (x4)
SEA - 51 M (x30)

If CLE/PIT had grown at the same pace as MIA/LAX, nowadays they would have about 25-30M PAX. If they had grown at the same pace as SEA, they would have 60-70M PAX.
 
eielef
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:45 am

hpff wrote:
eielef wrote:
It seems odd they "forgot" all Soviet airports. At a certain point, even till the 1980s, Soviet aviation was massive. At a certain point, SU had more aircraft than all US airlines combined. We are speaking of up to 8000 aircraft/helicopters.
The information is really hard to find... But if someone has it, please share it!.


If Russian wikipedia is to be believed, Pulkovo had 362,000 passengers in 1960, so if true, not in the top 30. Moscow airports either hadn't opened yet or were missing data, and I don't speak Russian, so can't do any more digging.


In 1960, the main airport in Saint Petersburg was Smolny Airport. Pulkovo was something "very new". But by 1970, Pulkovo had 2,2Mio, that is close to 7 times more, doubling the previous number every year (approx). Seems easy, if using the same technique SCQ83 did, to say: if in 1960 LED moved 0,36k pax and in 2019 19,58k, the number has grown 54 times in 59 years.

Also, St Petersburg is not a main reference of the USSR as it should be Moscow, but I doubt the info is available, considering Moscow had 5 airports (SVO, DME and VKO + OSF and BKA (which today not longer operate pax airplanes). I've tried rewriting the whole schedule of SU in 1959, and albeit being small planes (the largest carried 90 pax, but most were between 12 and 30 pax), they had just TOO many flights. Routes who have today either 0 flights, or maybe a couple times a week, had in those days 3 or 4 daily services. And I only mean domestic. International flights to very strange destinations, such as CKY, LIM or VTE, were common back in the day. But the insane amount of domestic routes is worth to a very long study.

Unfortunately, i abandoned the project having done about 70%.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:32 pm

airlineAZ wrote:
and it seems Europe had barely recovered from WWII...


Isn't that difference also about trains, the distances in Europe for business travel so much shorter and pretty efficient by train, the only European airport being on an island is probably relevant. Even now (outside covid) isn't Europe a higher proportion of recreation and VFR compared to the US?
 
eurotrader85
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:54 pm

A really fascinating find, thanks to airlineAZ for posting.

CPH as 21 in the world and even ZRH and Kansas making it into the top 30. When you compare to the list for 2019 with all the Asian airports in the list shows how much the centre has shifted.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:57 pm

SCQ83 wrote:
ScottB wrote:
Pupntaco wrote:
Airports like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Montreal are in the top 20. Wow!


That's not surprising at all when one considers the historical environment and population demographics at that time. Cleveland was the eighth largest city in the U.S. in 1960 and Pittsburgh was sixteenth. Further, PIT was one of the earliest airline hubs -- Allegheny basically grew from a small local service carrier into USAir(ways) on the strength of that hub (and buying up competitors).

Montreal as a metropolitan region was quite a bit larger than Toronto in 1960 -- it was Canada's financial capital and a manufacturing powerhouse. Toronto only surpassed Montreal for metro population in the mid-1970s -- thanks in part to an exodus of businesses due to the threat of Quebec separatism.


Definitely the most shocking (although I agree it is no surprising) is to see CLE and PIT in the Top 30. Just for comparison.

1961

LAX - 6.947 M
MIA - 3.761 M
PIT - 2.3 M
CLE - 2.253 M
SEA - 1.62 M

2019.

LAX - 88 M (x12)
MIA - 45 M (x12)
PIT - 10 M (x4)
CLE - 10 M (x4)
SEA - 51 M (x30)

If CLE/PIT had grown at the same pace as MIA/LAX, nowadays they would have about 25-30M PAX. If they had grown at the same pace as SEA, they would have 60-70M PAX.


Keep in mind though for the most part these are really just O/D numbers for 1961 before the hub and spoke system was put into place. Many of the 2019 numbers are artificially inflated because of the amount of transfer passengers that go through these airports now.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:26 pm

JibberJim wrote:
airlineAZ wrote:
and it seems Europe had barely recovered from WWII...


Isn't that difference also about trains, the distances in Europe for business travel so much shorter and pretty efficient by train, the only European airport being on an island is probably relevant. Even now (outside covid) isn't Europe a higher proportion of recreation and VFR compared to the US?


Yes. Partly. but while it definitely has had an impact, and is popular, high speed rail across Europe isn't as widespread as is sometimes assumed. Take Zurich to Paris. Sure you can take the TGV, but its 4 hours. A lot of people still find it quicker to fly in less than an hour. But then Zurich to Milan is three hours by train, where it does make more sense rather than the usual airport hassle both sides. There are definitely pairs which have been impacted by high speed rail O&D, take MAD-BCN, AMS-BRU, Paris-BRU, some domestic in Germany, even London-Paris etc but MAD-BCN still takes over 2.5Mln pax per annum by air.

The respective economic situation though is the driving point within this. Even today, with nearly three decades of the European single market, Europe is still not as interconnected as an economy with a flow of people and labour than the US is. Obviously this is changing, as has the relative economic and political situation of countries such as Spain, Portugal, the ex Soviet block etc, which is creating more flow and will continue to do so.

Europe as a population and a market, in persons and GDP, is bigger than the US. It would be interesting to see what the chart would look like in 2051 (if the world is still turning!). While the list will certainly be dominated by Asia, could well be the case there would be more European hubs verses US in the list.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:01 pm

eurotrader85 wrote:
JibberJim wrote:
airlineAZ wrote:
and it seems Europe had barely recovered from WWII...


Isn't that difference also about trains, the distances in Europe for business travel so much shorter and pretty efficient by train, the only European airport being on an island is probably relevant. Even now (outside covid) isn't Europe a higher proportion of recreation and VFR compared to the US?


Yes. Partly. but while it definitely has had an impact, and is popular, high speed rail across Europe isn't as widespread as is sometimes assumed. Take Zurich to Paris. Sure you can take the TGV, but its 4 hours.


I was meaning even more in 1960, I'm pretty sure most of the rail journeys in the UK will be slower now than they were in the 60's and the flights faster, how was the relative flight to rail times then? Including international flights where passport control was I believe still a thing on more of the routes than today? Certainly agree that rail is rarely a competitor today, that's why there's so many LCC's fighting it out at very low prices.
 
eurotrader85
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:49 pm

JibberJim wrote:
eurotrader85 wrote:
JibberJim wrote:

Isn't that difference also about trains, the distances in Europe for business travel so much shorter and pretty efficient by train, the only European airport being on an island is probably relevant. Even now (outside covid) isn't Europe a higher proportion of recreation and VFR compared to the US?


Yes. Partly. but while it definitely has had an impact, and is popular, high speed rail across Europe isn't as widespread as is sometimes assumed. Take Zurich to Paris. Sure you can take the TGV, but its 4 hours.


I was meaning even more in 1960, I'm pretty sure most of the rail journeys in the UK will be slower now than they were in the 60's and the flights faster, how was the relative flight to rail times then? Including international flights where passport control was I believe still a thing on more of the routes than today? Certainly agree that rail is rarely a competitor today, that's why there's so many LCC's fighting it out at very low prices.


There was certainly no Schengen zone back in 1961 and so yes, every country had a border with border guards stamping everyone's passport. I don't have stats across Europe about Train schedules, but yes, in many areas of the UK domestic travel has actually slowed down a bit, but also integrated cross border rail is a relatively new phenonium in Europe (apart from special services such as the Orient Express.) The Eurostar between London and Paris only commenced in 1994. Between Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain, in a lot of areas you had to change trains at a border station back then. As an example, before the growth of LCC and the Channel Tunnel, a favourite route taken between London and Paris was to go 1.5hrs from London to Newhaven port on the rail. Then take a 4 hour ferry to Dieppe, and then a few hours rail onwards to Paris, as opposed to what was at the time an hour flight from London airport to Paris. Why did people do this? Cost I was told. Aviation was just out of the reach for many.

It's difficult to fathom how far Europe has come in this sense. Back in the 50s-60's each country was a relative island, cut off from each other in an economic sense. Germany was split in half with the iron curtain. Britain and France and others were still recovering economically from the war. Spain and Portugal were largely cut off from the world under dictatorship and the Soviet block was completely cut off. Cross border business, even between say the UK and Germany, would be eyebrow raising compared to today with the single market where you just get on with it. The mass British summer package holidays to Spain etc only started to take off in the late 60s early 70s. Compare this to the US at the time, and obviously even more so now, which was a booming mass market from California to NY, completely integrated with one another in an economic sense.

In Europe rail would certainly, and still does, take a lot of domestic traffic, but then when for example you consider the UK is "slightly smaller than Oregon" as the CIA world factbook describes it, domestic aviation wasn't ever really a potential driver in growth.

Thus I see the 1961 list as an interesting snapshot economically and politically, showing US dominance over the global economy in terms of wealth and economic integration in its market. Today, with a much bigger and integrated European market, LGW and MUC have the same pax as MIA.
 
umichman
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:54 am

DTW is missing from the top-30 list. I thought it was odd to see CLE and PIT, but not DTW. There were 2.793 million total pax in 1961 putting it behind Newark at #14. Here is the source --
https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/ ... atType=pdf

YIP still had passenger service in 1961, but only had 125K passengers.

Here's the website with historical Michigan stats -- https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/AIRSTATSHome.htm
 
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airporthistory
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:46 pm

umichman wrote:
DTW is missing from the top-30 list. I thought it was odd to see CLE and PIT, but not DTW. There were 2.793 million total pax in 1961 putting it behind Newark at #14. Here is the source --
https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/ ... atType=pdf

YIP still had passenger service in 1961, but only had 125K passengers.

Here's the website with historical Michigan stats -- https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/AIRSTATSHome.htm


Hi, I'm the author of the article. Thanks for pointing out the mistake! There was a glitch with the transfer from Excel to Word. DTW has now been added.
 
twaconnie
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:50 pm

What's interesting how times change how a small airport like LGA had 3.3million in 1961 and 30million in 2019.
 
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vhtje
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:44 pm

Thank you for posting. Very interesting reading.

I wonder how differently it would rank, if airlines’ hub-and-spoke operations were excluded, so that only O&D passengers were counted?
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:14 pm

Great info. Thanks for sharing. LAX holding on to the #3 spot from 1961 to 2019. Way to stay consistent! All kidding aside, great article.
TWA, Ozark, Braniff, Piedmont, USAir, American, Delta, Frontier, Midwest Express, Western, Eastern, Southwest, Northwest, PanAm, United, Mississippi Valley, Britt, Continental, Trans America, Midway, America West, National, American Trans Air, Sun Country
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:26 pm

JibberJim wrote:
airlineAZ wrote:
and it seems Europe had barely recovered from WWII...


Isn't that difference also about trains, the distances in Europe for business travel so much shorter and pretty efficient by train, the only European airport being on an island is probably relevant. Even now (outside covid) isn't Europe a higher proportion of recreation and VFR compared to the US?


Yes or put another way, it would show a very different picture if the focus was on international passenger numbers. In Europe, particularly early 60's, most domestic travel would be by train, as the rail network in European countries was (and is) much more developed than in the US, plus not so many domestic air services in Europe for the general public at that time.
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FlyingElvii
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:12 pm

vhtje wrote:
Thank you for posting. Very interesting reading.

I wonder how differently it would rank, if airlines’ hub-and-spoke operations were excluded, so that only O&D passengers were counted?

Airports like CLE and STL were top 10 US O&D markets for decades, due to the concentration of Fortune 100 HQ’s and manufacturing in those areas. As offshoring took hold, beginning in the late 70’s, they dropped quickly through the mid-late 90’s, and the HQ’s moved to the financial hubs instead of the manufacturing ones.
 
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:09 pm

What I found fascinating was right at the beginning of the article with the overhead shot of the 2 piers at LGA...notice there is a jetway being used on the AA Electra!! I've never seen this before! I wonder if AA did that at other airports such as ORD where they had a lot of Electra ops (IIRC)? WOW!
Try a Little VC-10derness
 
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ghost77
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:59 am

Any reports out there so far of 2020?

g77
 
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BN727227Ultra
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:57 am

Pupntaco wrote:
I just checked. At the end of the article there's a link to the Top 30 busiest airports in 1961 https://www.airporthistory.org/busiest-airports-1961.html. That year, Newark was 13th busiest in the world and 11th busiest in the US.

Airports like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Montreal are in the top 20. Wow!


MKC was #29 and STL was nowhere? Interesting.
 
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jaybird
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:30 am

Thanks .. and love the pictures!
Electras .. 727-100s .. DC-6s and -7s .. Connies .. DC-8s .. 707s ... DC-3s at MIA and DCA .. UA CV-340s at LAX .. and that shack at JFK between the TWA terminal and the United terminal. When I was there in '66 Trans Canada and Trans Caribbean were there .. perhaps National too. And these shots are so early I don't even see any "local service carriers." The LHR picture has to be later in time though .. I see Tridents and and Vanguards .. Viscounts .. and I think a VC-10 and BOAC 707s in a livery that didn't exist in 1961. But THANK YOU - great article!
 
SFOThinker
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:12 am

ScottB wrote:
Pupntaco wrote:
Airports like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Montreal are in the top 20. Wow!


That's not surprising at all when one considers the historical environment and population demographics at that time. Cleveland was the eighth largest city in the U.S. in 1960

I first visited Cleveland Hopkins airport in 1963, and it was very impressive for its time. The main lobby had a board listing all flights leaving in the next hour or two. The display was not electronic, but rather used rotating numbers and airline names, clattering when changes were posted. I believe that this pre-dated similar displays at ORD.
I think I recall that AA and UA competed with nonstops to LAX, a level of service unavailable to Clevelanders today.
The concourses were shabby by today’s standard, with no jet bridges and little space for waiting passengers But for the time, it felt like a major airport, whereas today’s Hopkins, with much nicer facilities, does not.
 
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airporthistory
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:45 pm

BN727227Ultra wrote:
MKC was #29 and STL was nowhere? Interesting.


Hi, another omission. Thanks for pointing that out! STL handled 2,127,000 passengers in 1961, which makes it the 22nd busiest in the world that year. I added it to the list.
 
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BN727227Ultra
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Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:25 am

airporthistory wrote:
BN727227Ultra wrote:
MKC was #29 and STL was nowhere? Interesting.


Hi, another omission. Thanks for pointing that out! STL handled 2,127,000 passengers in 1961, which makes it the 22nd busiest in the world that year. I added it to the list.


:-)
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 2021
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:53 pm

umichman wrote:
DTW is missing from the top-30 list. I thought it was odd to see CLE and PIT, but not DTW. There were 2.793 million total pax in 1961 putting it behind Newark at #14. Here is the source --
https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/ ... atType=pdf

YIP still had passenger service in 1961, but only had 125K passengers.

Here's the website with historical Michigan stats -- https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/AIRSTATSHome.htm


It seems strange that YIP would be so much less than DTW in 1961, because more airlines served YIP than DTW at that time.

In 1961, YIP was served by Capital, Eastern, Mohawk, North Central, TWA, and United

DTW was served by Allegheny, American, BOAC, Delta, Northwest, and Pan Am.

Capital, United (which merged in mid 1961) and North Central all had strong presences in Detroit at that time; UA was the only airline with nonstop authority from Detroit to LAX and SFO.
 
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NCAD95
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:11 am

Re: 10 busiest airports in the world 60 years ago (1961)

Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:04 pm

WA707atMSP wrote:
umichman wrote:
DTW is missing from the top-30 list. I thought it was odd to see CLE and PIT, but not DTW. There were 2.793 million total pax in 1961 putting it behind Newark at #14. Here is the source --
https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/ ... atType=pdf

YIP still had passenger service in 1961, but only had 125K passengers.

Here's the website with historical Michigan stats -- https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/AIRSTATS/AIRSTATSHome.htm


It seems strange that YIP would be so much less than DTW in 1961, because more airlines served YIP than DTW at that time.

In 1961, YIP was served by Capital, Eastern, Mohawk, North Central, TWA, and United

DTW was served by Allegheny, American, BOAC, Delta, Northwest, and Pan Am.

Capital, United (which merged in mid 1961) and North Central all had strong presences in Detroit at that time; UA was the only airline with nonstop authority from Detroit to LAX and SFO.


I had read some here that in 1959 KYIP was the 5th busiest airport in the country so yes I'm not agreeing with this data either.

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