Preliminary global airport traffic figures show that only four of the busiest 20 hubs recorded an increase in passenger numbers last year.
Beijing posted a rise of 16.8% to 65.3 million, putting the Chinese capital airport in third place behind Atlanta and London Heathrow which both turned in lower figures.
Just three other airports in the top 20 - Dubai, Bangkok and San Francisco - recorded a rise in passengers.
Airports Council International's preliminary figures also show positive growth at just 26 of the top 100 airports. Only four of these 26 - Cairo, San Francisco, Baltimore and Istanbul - were not located either in the Asia-Pacific region or Brazil.