The Busiest Airports In The United Kingdom By Passenger Traffic

A scene inside the passenger area of Heathrow Terminal 5. Editorial credit: Gordon Bell /
A scene inside the passenger area of Heathrow Terminal 5. Editorial credit: Gordon Bell /

Air travel is one of the popular means of transport within the United Kingdom. The UK has several commercial international airports and other private or domestic airfields. The UK is home to some of the largest and busiest airports in Europe. London is the largest aviation hub in the UK and also in the world by passenger traffic. The city has six international airports handling over 130 million passengers annually. Heathrow Airport Holding is the largest operator in the UK followed by the Manchester Airport Group. Some of the busiest airports in the UK by passenger traffic include;

London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport in England is the busiest airport in Europe and among the busiest in the world after Dubai International and Hong Kong International by international passenger traffic and the sixth busiest by total passenger traffic in the world. In 2016, London Heathrow Airport handled 75.7 million passengers up from 74.9 in 2015. The airport caters for 86 airlines which serve 194 destinations in 84 countries with the numbers increasing. Heathrow has two runways and four operational terminals. The approval for the third runway was done in October 2016. The airport offers a wide range of shopping opportunities, a multi-faith prayer room, and a counselling room in each terminal. The airport also offers a wide range of parking facilities.

London Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport is in the southeast of England. It is the second busiest airport in the UK and the ninth busiest in Europe by total passenger traffic, handling 43.1 million passengers in 2016 up from 40.3 in 2015. The airport has two terminals, the North and the South terminals and operates as a single runway airport. The three biggest airlines at the airport include EasyJet, British Airways, and Norwegian. Gatwick Airport has several shops and restaurants in both terminals. EasyJet airline accounts for more than half of the passenger traffic using the airport. The busiest routes to and from the airport include Barcelona, Dublin, and Malaga, Spain.

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport is located in the Ringway, Manchester and is among the busiest airports in the UK regarding passenger handling. The airport handled about 23 million passengers in 2015 and has a capacity to handle approximately 50 million passengers annually. The capacity of the airport is particularly low because of the restriction of the airport to 61 aircraft per hour. The Manchester Airport has three terminals with terminal 1 and 2 linked by the Skylink, a walkway. The airport has two parallel runways and the second tallest control tower in the UK. The busiest destinations include Dubai, Amsterdam, and Dublin.

London Stansted Airport

London Stansted Airport is at Stansted Mountfitchet and serves about 170 destinations across the world and the most scheduled European destinations in the UK. The airport is also served by some of the major European low-cost airlines while some private companies also use its runway. The Manchester Airport Group operates the London Stansted Airport. A railway station is situated below the main concourse in the terminal building. The busiest routes include Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport is in Bedfordshire, England. It is the fifth busiest airport in the UK handling a record 12.26 million passengers in 2015. Luton Airport is among the four largest airports in London among the city’s six international airports. The airport has a single runway equipped with Instrument Landing System and a single two-storey passenger terminal building. The building has several shops and arrival facilities. Some of the busiest international routes to and from Luton Airport include Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Budapest.

Which Are The Busiest Airports In The United Kingdom By Passenger Traffic?

RankAirportTotal Passengers 2015
1London Heathrow74,985,748
2London Gatwick40,269,087
4London Stansted22,519,178
5London Luton12,263,505
11East Midlands4,450,862
12Belfast International4,391,292
13London City4,319,301
16Leeds Bradford3,455,445
17Belfast City2,692,713

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