Aeroplane after the rain aircraft 1928064

Top 8 Busiest Airports in Europe

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In recent years, air travel has increased rapidly. Thanks to cheaper tickets and regular flights there is a growth of passengers travelling across the European continent. Although air traffic is rapidly increasing, it is not evenly spread out over the continent. Have you ever wondered which airports are the busiest? Then this is the list you have been waiting for! We have found the top 8 busiest airports in Europe.

July 25, 2019 was the busiest day in aviation history and it saw 230 thousand flights cruise through the skies all over the world and were tracked by Flightradar24. A percentage of those flights departed or were arriving in Europe and chances are, most of them were departing or arriving from one of this airports. So here’s the list of Europe’s busiest airports.

Before we continue with the information, there's something very relevant for the current times. Please make sure that you know what your rights are during this pandemic.

Coronavirus: What are my rights when a flight is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, you are entitled to a complete refund of your ticket. European Regulation EC 261/2004 obliges the airline to refund the full price of the ticket within 7 days in case of a cancelled flight. Currently, many airlines and travel agencies only offer vouchers that can be used to book a new flight in the future. However, this voucher policy is not in compliance with European legislation. 

Unfortunately, we see too often that airlines still fail to comply with the legal obligations. Passengers are forced to accept vouchers when they are actually entitled to a refund of their fare. will be happy to help you claim the full refund. From submitting the claim to taking the airline to the courts in the event of non-payment.

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8 - London Gatwick Airport (United Kingdom)
Aeroplane flying above London

Ranking in number 8 is Gatwick Airport! The airfield opened in 1920 and has been running commercial flights since 1933. The airport, which is situated in London, has become one of the busiest airports in the world. Until 2017, Gatwick was operating using a single runway which made it the busiest single-use runway in the planet!

Total Passengers (2018) – 46.1 million
Main AirlineEasyJet
Nearest Hotel – Hilton London Gatwick
Fun fact about the city – The famous clock tower in London is not actually called Big Ben. Its real name is simply The Clock Tower, while Big Ben is the name of the Bell inside.

7 – Barcelona - El Prat Airport (Spain)
View from airplane of Barcelona

Claiming the spot in number 7 is Barcelona El-Prat Airport. Also known as Barcelona Airport, the Catalan airport opened in 1918. Located just 12km away from Barcelona city centre, this airport has become one of the most popular flight destinations for passengers across Europe and abroad.

Total Passengers (2018) – 50.1 million
Main Airline - Vueling
Nearest Hotel - Air Rooms Barcelona Airport by Premium Traveller
Fun fact about the city - The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona has taken over 100 years to build. This is considerably longer than the great pyramids (just 20 years).

6 - Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (Spain)

Madrid Airport

Landing on (pun intended of course) the sixth place of our list is Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, also commonly known as Madrid Airport. The airport's name is derived from the district of Barajas and serves as a key gateway to the Iberian peninsula from the rest of the world. From here, you'll be able to reach various destinations in Latin America.

Total Passengers (2018) – 57.9 million
Main Airline - Iberia
Nearest Hotel - Hotel Barajas Plaza
Fun fact about the city - Madrid city is around 650m above sea-level. This makes it the highest capital city in Europe!

5 - Istanbul Atatürk Airport (Turkey)
Istanbul airport

Ranking on number 5 one will find the now closed Istanbul Atatürk Airport in all its former glory. Opening in 1924, this Istanbul airport resides on the European side of the city and was the largest airport in Turkey. However, it was replaced by Istanbul Airport on April 6, 2019. Without a doubt, we'll find Istanbul International Airport in this list when the data for 2019 comes in.

Total Passengers (2018) – 68 million
Main Airline - Turkish Airlines
Nearest Hotel - TAV Airport Hotel
Fun fact about the city - British author Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in Istanbul. The Orient Express was a train that travelled from Paris to Constantinople (Istanbul).

Number 4 - Frankfurt Airport (Germany)
Frankfurt Airport

Claiming a spot on the top half of this list is Frankfurt Airport, the busiest Airport in Germany! As of 2017, this airport flies to more than 300 destinations around the world, making it the airport with the most direct routes worldwide!

Total Passengers (2018) – 69.5 million
Main Airline - Lufthansa
Nearest Hotel - IntercityHotel Frankfurt Airport
Fun fact about the city - In 1944, bombings destroyed almost all the Frankfurt zoo buildings, allowing many animals to escape and roam free on the streets!

3 - Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (The Netherlands)

Amsterdam airplane

In one of the smallest countries on the continent we find one of the busiest airports. On number 3 of our list you'll find Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. This aerodome became the primary airport for the Netherlands in 1949 and has kept on growing ever since.

Total Passengers (2018) – 71 million
Main Airline - KLM Airlines
Nearest Hotel - Mercure Hotel Schiphol Terminal
Fun fact about the city - In Amsterdam there are more bikes than people! It is estimated there are around 1’000’000 bikes in the city, compared to just 800’000 people.

2 - Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (France)
Air France plane

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) takes spot number 2 (to no surprise!). Named after Charles de Gaulle, who led the Free French forces during the second world war, this Airport is one of the busiest worldwide.

Total Passengers (2018) – 72.2 million
Main Airline - Air France
Nearest Hotel - Hotel ibis Paris CDG Airport
Fun fact about the city - It takes 60 tonnes of paint to cover the entire Eiffel Tower in Paris. That is the equivalent weight of 10 elephants!

Number 1 - London Heathrow Airport (United Kingdom)

Heathrow airport
Leading the list of the 8 busiest airports in Europe is London Heathrow Airport. This main London Airport is one of the busiest airports worldwide (seventh in the worlwide list), funnelling through millions of travel-hungry passengers a year.

Total Passengers (2018) – 88.1 million
Main Airline - British Airways
Nearest Hotel - Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel
Fun fact about the city - London is the first city to have hosted the Olympic games three times (1908, 1948 and 2012)

As great as these airports are, it is impossible to fly millions of people around the world each year without some of the flights being delayed. If you have had a flight delayed at any of the above airports, you may be entitled to compensation! At our mission is to help delayed passengers and ensure they are treated fairly by their airlines. Use our free flight checker to work out if you can submit a claim with us! We’ll handle your claim and fact-check the airline under no win, no fee principle. Best of all, our 25% win fee covers absolutely everything, even if we have to sue the airline for your compensation! Don’t wait any longer, check your flight!

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To finish up, here's the list of the top 8 busiest airports in Europe:

  1. London Heathrow - 88.1 million passengers
  2. Paris Charles de Gaulle - 72.2 million passengers
  3. Amsterdam Schiphol - 71 million passengers
  4. Frankfurt Airport - 69.5 million passengers
  5. Estambul Ataturk (closed) - 68 million passengers
  6. Madrid - Barajas - 57.9 million passengers
  7. Barcelona - El Prat - 50.1 million passengers
  8. London Gatwick - 46.1 million passengers

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