In the 21st century, traveling between distant geographical distances has become a very important activity in the life of many people. Especially for millennials that are very keen on exploring and connecting with the other part of the world. Studies show, that millennials travel more than any generation of world’s population has ever traveled.
A high number of travelers who make long trips, means busy and crowded airports. According to national aviation authority statistics, or those of the airport operator, airports are getting busier and busier every year. The airports in Europe are no exception.
Figures released recently for 2017, show that the top 10 busiest airports in Europe are:
- Heathrow Airport in London, United Kingdom
- Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt, Germany
- Istanbul Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey
- Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain
- Barcelona El Prat Airport in Barcelona, Spain
- London-Gatwick Airport in London, United Kingdom
- Munich Airport in Munich, Germany
- Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy
Heathrow Airport in London, United Kingdom
The busiest airport in Europe is the Heathrow Airport, located in London, United Kingdom. Only in 2017, 78,047,278 travelers used the airport as a gateway to their destination. Compared to 2016, more than 2 million more travelers passed through the Heathrow Airport past year.
The airport has been established in 1929. It has only five terminals and two runways, with the third under construction. The expansion is expected to create 180,000 new jobs and help generate more than £187bn of economic benefits to the UK by 2050.
Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France
Number two in the list of the busiest European airports is the Charles de Gaulle Airport located in Paris, France. In 2017, the airport had 69,471,442 travelers, marking an increase of almost 4 million more, in comparison to 2016. It is one of the youngest among the busiest European airports, since its construction started only in 1966.
It is named after Charles de Gaulle, the French general and statesman who led the French Resistance against the Nazi Germany in World War II.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has been third in this list since 2016 when it marked a 9.2% increase compared to the previous year, when it provided incoming and outgoing flights to 63,625,664 travelers. The number increased in 2017 to 68,515,425 travelers.
It has been the primary airport in Netherlands since 1949, and it provides more commercial flights and takeoffs than any other airport in this list.
Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt, Germany
As of 2017, the Frankfurt airport flies to more than 300 destinations around the world. This makes it not only one of the busiest in Europe, but also the airport with most direct routes worldwide. It is the busiest German airport with 64,500,386 travelers using it as a gateway to their destination only in 2017.
It offers a number of activities for passengers who need to wait in the airport for their next flight, including a brewery and a Christmas market.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey
The current fifth busiest airport in Europe at one point seemed that it would surpass even the Heathrow airport in London. With its convenient location at the crossroads of 2 continents and 273 direct routes, the airport still saw a 2.1% decrease in 2016, after the rise of terror attacks and the military putsch. Still, the airport hosted 63,727,448 travelers in 2017 alone.
The airport started in 1912 as a military field, and was renamed to Istanbul Ataturk International Airport in 1980, after the founder of the Republic of Turkey. It is the largest airport in the country for now, since another huge airport is under construction in the European Side of Turkey.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain
53,402,506 travelers passed through the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in the Spanish capital city, Madrid only in 2017. The airport is located northeast of the city centers and consists of five terminals. It serves as a key gateway to the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of the world.
It was named in 2014, after the death of Former Prime Minister of Spain Adolfo Suárez, who was the first democratically elected Prime Minister.
Barcelona El Prat Airport in Barcelona, Spain
Located only 12km away from Barcelona, the El Prat Airport provided 47,284,500 with incoming and outgoing flights last year. This marked an increase of 3 million in comparison to the previous year. It is the only international airport in Barcelona, and has two terminals.
The airport opened in 1918, and in June 2009, the new T1 terminal came into operation, which includes a 500,000 square meters building that costed more than 1,200 million to build.
London-Gatwick Airport in London, United Kingdom
Another British airport is also in the list as one of the top 10 busiest airports in the old continent. Gatwick Airport provided a number of 43,119,628 passengers in 2016 and another 45,554,038 in 2017 with flights from and to their destinations. The airport opened in 1920. It has been running commercial flights since 1933.
The airport has two terminals and only one runway. This makes it the second busiest airport in the world, with only one runway, after the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport in India.
Munich Airport in Munich, Germany
The Munich Airport is a major international airport in the capital of Bavaria. The airport provides flights to 266 destinations. Only in 2017, 44,594,516 travelers went through the airport, around 2 million more in comparison to the previous year.
The airport is named after Franz Josef Strauss, who was a long-time chairman of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria.
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy
The last in the list of the Busiest European airports is the Italian Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport located in Rome. It is the mayor international airport in Rome and the busiest in Italy at the same time. It has four terminals. In 2017, 40,971,881 passengers used the airport in Rome for incoming or outgoing flights. However, the number is 1.9% less than that in 2016.
It is named after the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci who in 1490 invented the first idea of a helicopter.