Airports across Europe receive a large number of travelers every year, including both domestic and international flights. Travelers fly throughout this region for a number of reasons ranging from business to pleasure and everything in between. The amount of passengers who travel through European airports has been on an upward trend for many years. This articles takes a look at the busiest airports that can be found on the continent, by passenger volume.
The Busiest Airports In Europe
1. Heathrow Airport - London, England
As of 2016, Heathrow Airport in London, England has remained the busiest airport operating in Europe with 75,671,863 annual travelers passing through it. This number represents a 1% increase over the 2015 report. Heathrow runs 473,200 commercial takeoffs and landings on its two existing runways, putting the airport at full capacity in terms of flights. Its number of flights is expected to increase in 2026, when its 3rd runway is forecasted to be up and running.
2. Charles de Gaulle Airport - Paris, France
The second busiest airport in Europe is the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. In 2016, this airport serviced 65,933,145 passengers that, while no small number, is significantly less than Heathrow’s passenger count. This number represents a mere .3% increase over the 2015 passenger number. Although the Charles de Gaulle Airport sees fewer travelers every year, it does operate a similar number of commercial takeoffs and landings. In 2016, this airport sent off and received 472,900 flights.
3. Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam jumped up to 3rd place in 2016 when it provided incoming and outgoing flights to 63,625,664 passengers. This number represents a 9.2% increase of the previous year. Interestingly, this airport provides more commercial flights and takeoffs (478,900) than either Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle. This data indicates that the Schiphol Airport handles much smaller aircraft than the previous 2 airports. The reason for this airport’s jump in ranking can be attributed to the decrease seen in the Ataturk Airport of Istanbul, Turkey (discussed below).
4. Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt, Germany
The Frankfurt Airport, in fourth place on the list of Europe’s busiest airports, was also pushed into its spot by the significant decline in the Ataturk Airport. In 2016, Frankfurt provided flights to 60,786,937 travelers. This number is a .4% decline over 2015. Despite this loss, the airport still managed to move its way up on the list. The Frankfurt Airport sees 452,500 commercial flights and takeoffs every year.
5. Ataturk Airport - Istanbul, Turkey
The 5th busiest airport in Europe is the Ataturk Airport of Istanbul, Turkey. In 2016, this airport saw 60,119,215 passengers, a 2.1% decrease from the previous year. At one point, it seemed that the Ataturk Airport could surpass London’s Heathrow given its convenient location at the crossroads of two continents. However, in 2015, Turkey experienced a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks and an attempted coup d’ etat. Because of these catastrophes, Turkish Airlines stopped 30 planes, rerouted several others, and canceled 22 routes. These occurrences pushed the Ataturk Airport to its current ranking and helped Frankfurt and Schiphol to rise to number 4 and 5.
The chart published below offers a more comprehensive look at the busiest airports in Europe.