Summer 2021 promises to be busier than summer 2020 as Europe slowly reopens its borders to tourism. Airports may get more crowded as people take summer vacations. There is more to airports than merely providing runways for aircraft to take off and land. They are also used to house people, store cargo, and perform maintenance on planes, among other functions.
There’s no surprise that the busiest airports are those that serve major tourist sites and frequently trafficked transportation routes. Consequently, below is a list of the top ten busiest airports in Europe:
With an astonishing 23 million passengers from all over the world, Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the busiest airport in Europe in 2020. Despite ranking sixth with 52 million passengers in 2019, it outperformed other airports during the Covid pandemic. As the world’s busiest airport, Atatürk Airport in Istanbul serves a wide range of destinations. Istanbul is the country’s busiest and largest airport in terms of aircraft movements, passengers, and destinations served.
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
With 22,257,469 passengers in 2020, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, commonly known as Roissy Airport, is the second busiest airport in Europe and the largest international airport in France. Additionally, in 2019, the airport handled 76 million people and 498,175 aircraft movements, ranking it the ninth most-trafficked international airport worldwide and Europe’s second-busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic. The airport has direct flights to most nations in the globe and is home to the largest number of carriers.
Air traffic at London’s international airport Heathrow recorded 22,109,726 passengers in 2020, making it Europe’s third busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic. It is one of six international airports that serve the Greater London area. In 2019, it ranked No. 2 on the world’s international passenger traffic list, No. 7 on the world’s total passenger traffic list, and No. 1 among European airports with 80,100,311 passengers. Over 80 airlines utilize Heathrow Airport to operate to 185 destinations in 84 countries.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, often known as Schiphol Airport, is located four metres below sea level in the former Haarlemmer Lake. When translated to Dutch, “Schipol” means “major port,” underscoring its importance as a gateway to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany’s northern region. All major European airlines, including KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Brussels Airlines, fly into the airport. It is rated the fourth busiest European airport in 2020, with 20,887,174 passengers, but third in 2019 with 71,707,144 passengers.
Sheremetyevo International Airport
Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin International Airport is one of four international airports serving in Moscow and the busiest airport in Russia. As of 2020, it is the fifth busiest airport in Europe, with 19,566,402 passengers, and the eighth busiest airport in 2019 with 49,438,469 passengers. About 40.1 million passengers and 308,090 aircraft movements were handled at the airport in 2017. A total of 45.8 million passengers passed through the airport in 2018. This is a 14.3 percent increase from 2017. Year-over-year, aircraft traffic increased by 15.9 percent. When compared to other airports, it has fared well throughout the Covid crisis.
Frankfurt International Airport
Frankfurt International Airport, which serves Germany’s fifth-largest city, is the primary hub for Lufthansa, a leading provider of affordable flights to Europe from the United States. There were 18,768,601 passengers in 2020 at Frankfurt, making it the sixth-largest airport in terms of passenger volume in Europe. It welcomed and departed over 70 million people in 2019. About 65 million passengers can travel through Frankfurt Airport each year, making it Germany’s busiest airport by far. By offering nonstop flights to 293 locations across the world, it is a global leader in nonstop flights, with an economic effect of approximately €26 billion annually.
Besides being Spain’s busiest and largest airport, Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas Airport serviced 18,768,601 passengers in 2020, ranking sixth in Europe. The economic and social effect is estimated to be over €13bn. In 2019, Madrid–Barajas handled 61.8 million passengers, making it the country’s busiest airport and Europe’s sixth busiest in terms of passengers.
Domodedovo International Airport
Located 42 kilometres (26 miles) south-southeast of Moscow, the Domodedovo Mikhail Lomonosov International Airport is a Russian international airport. With 16,389,427 passengers in 2020, it is one of four main Moscow airports, one of Russia’s largest airports, and the eighth busiest airport in Europe. 2017 saw a 7.6% rise over 2016, making it Russia’s second busiest airport behind Sheremetyevo.
Barcelona–El Prat Airport
Barcelona El Prat Airport, or simply BCN Airport, is the entrance to the north of Spain and the Mediterranean coastline. In Spain, it is the second busiest airport. There were 52,686,314 passengers at Barcelona Airport in 2019, increasing 5.0 percent from the year before. Air Europa, Iberia, EasyJet and Ryanair all have hubs here, as did Level and Vueling. 2020 had 12,739,259 passengers pass through it, making it Europe’s 9th busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic.
Vnukovo International Airport
A dual-runway international airport in Moscow’s Vnukovo District, Vnukovo Andrei Tupolev International Airport, lies 28 kilometres (17 miles) southwest of the city’s centre. Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Zhukovsky are the other three main Moscow international airports. 24.01 million passengers passed through the airport in 2019; that’s a 12 percent increase over 2018. It is Europe’s tenth busiest airport, with 12,565,241 passengers travelled through in 2020.