Back to blog

The busiest airports in Europe

See blog

Readers' comments

Reader comments are listed below. Comments are currently closed and new comments are no longer being accepted.



If you add up all the London airports dotted around the north, south, east and west of the capital -- not just Heathrow -- London is servicing somewhere around 165 million passengers per year in 2016.

No other city on Earth, adding up all their peripheral airports, gets anywhere near that total for London.

Atlanta is second and a long, long way behind at roughly 105 million.

London remains by far the world's biggest airport hub.

Danny Yee

It's possible that Brexit will throw a spanner in the works. If the UK remains a member of the European Common Aviation Area and the European Aviation Safety Agency then everything should be ok, but in both cases that will mean accepting EU regulations and laws over which the UK will no longer have any control...

MoJos in reply to sfkauder

No, actually it is because 21,818,418 passengers used it in 2016.

It would have taken you 10 seconds to figure this out, but then you couldn't have gotten off your not very funny EU insult.

You're welcome.

RetFift in reply to sfkauder

The city doesn't get many tourists comparatively and isn't a major financial centre. And the airport isn't a big hub for transfer traffic, or a main base for any major airline.


I'm shocked that you're shocked that Turkish has discovered political risk.

The Economist is excellent, but my god it has some blind spots - political risk, migration, to just name two...


I am curious why Brussels isn't on this list -- can it be that no one goes to see the EU anymore?

sfkauder in reply to MoJos

Thank you for the gratuitous insult, did you have a bad day or are you just a wee bit sensitive today? My point (obviously my poor attempt at sarcastic humor went un-appreciated), is that the so-called "capital of Europe" is not a top air destination. I am genuinely curious as to why -- is it that many people go by train or automobile or is that Brussels just doesn't get that many visitors which would indicate that there is already a move away from a centralized bureaucracy.

Carlos Collaco

The top 10 busiest airports in Europe show an adaptable 3-tier structure. Topmost is Heathrow well ahead of the pack, ParisCDG a distant second.
Not when it comes to aircraft movements presenting a far more mixed picture. Now a decision has been made to add a third runway to LHR it may be said that capacity (movements and pax throughput)will rise by 50%. That would mean additional 40M passengers may go through its 5 Terminals into the future. Will they?
Which begs a final question: what is LHR's ultimate capacity that will permanently saturate the facility, both Aerodrome and Terminals?

nigel777 in reply to Skier1

LHR 75m, LGW 40m, Stansted 24m, Luton 12m totals 151m. So in that respect you are correct. However you cannot describe four airports as a hub since a hub (as in "hub and spokes") exists to connect passengers. Only a tiny percentage of travelers through London connect between London's airports, whereas a huge percentage of Atlanta's 105m passengers are connecting through Hartsfield.

nigel777 in reply to Aidan 1974

See my comments below about hubs. If we are to include Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin, then we should equalize the comparison by including Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC as satellites of New York, and which are as close to NYC as Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin are to London and carry far more traffic.

Aidan 1974 in reply to sfkauder

Whilst you're making hilarious jibes, have you got one to explain or make public comment on why the DUP was used to funnel money to Brexit campaigners which would have been illegal in England, Wales or Scotland. Personally I can't see the funny side.