Top 10 Busiest Airports in the UK (United Kingdom)

The number of Airports are now increasing rapidly throughout the world as air traffic increase. Various types of airports have been built all over the world according to demand. Today we will talk about the most popular airports in the United Kingdom. The UK is one of the popular destinations for international travellers and one of the most developed countries in the world as well. Here, we are talking about the top 10 busiest Airports in the UK which play a significant role in managing the heavy air traffic of the UK.

1. Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport is the most prominent airport than any other airports in the UK. Heathrow is also recognised as the busiest and main international Airport in the UK. This London-based airport is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Limited. As of 2022, Heathrow was ranked as the ” second busiest Airport in the world by international passenger traffic and second busiest Airport in Europe”. It was also the busiest Airport in the world by international passenger traffic in 2013. The airport is spread across 4.69 square miles. It is located in the London Borough of Hillingdon, England, UK. Heathrow Airport has two main runways with five terminals.

It has cargo flights also. Around 77 years ago, the Airport was opened on 25th March 1946. In 2008, Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated Terminal 5, which shows the importance of Heathrow Airport in the UK as well as in the world. There are many rail stations which connect the Airport for easy travel of passengers. Heathrow Airport is very popular among travellers and is recommended as the best representative of British Airways.

In 2022, over 61,611,838 passengers were handled by the airport. Baggage handling systems and check-in facilities are done smoothly in a cooperative manner. Parking lots and free shuttle buses are a must for any international Airport, and Heathrow’s Free shuttle buses are very helpful for new passengers, which directly take passengers’ to their own terminal. The airport security of Heathrow is getting higher day by day after some past incidents.

2. London Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick is the UK’s second busiest Airport. In the year 2022, London Gatwick “became the second busiest Airport in the UK and also ranked eighth busiest Airport in Europe”. The Airport is located in Crawley, West Sussex, England, United Kingdom. The Airport is just ” 28 miles from the south of centre London “. The total area of the Airport is spread across 1,670 acres. This busy airport is owned and operated by Gatwick Airport Limited.

In the late 1920s, Gatwick started its journey as an ” aerodrome ” but on 30th May 1958, Gatwick opened as an Airport with a new beginning. This Airport has two terminals – north and south. The north terminal was built around 1,050,000 sq. ft area and the south terminal is about 1,700,000 sq. ft area. The south terminal of Gatwick ” has 32 gates with a modular design which can expand its area as passengers increase. The North terminal of this Airport has 33 gates. The expansion of this terminal was completed in 2011 and the terminal was opened by the former prime minister John Major.

The Airport mainly uses a 3,316 meters long single runway. The second alternative runway is used in most emergency cases. Many big accidents happened in the past, so for that, security and checkups are done strictly nowadays before flying into the sky. Gatwick Airport is connected by a railway station which is available in the west of Sussex. Parking, airport lounges, high security and accessibility of almost everything are highly impressive to the passengers. After the Covid pandemic, “32.8 million passengers were handled by the Gatwick Airport in 2022.

3. Manchester Airport

As of 2022, Manchester Airport is the third busiest Airport in the United Kingdom on the number of passengers handled. This international Airport is located in Ringway, southwest of Manchester city centre, England. The Airport is spread across 1,400 acres of area. It ranks thirteenth in the list of highest destinations served airports all over the world.

Manchester Airport has several flights which serve 199 destinations. The Airport is owned and operated by “Manchester Airport Holdings”. On 25th June 1938, the Airport was opened as Ringway Airport. Manchester is the focus city for Aer Lingus Uk, EasyJet,, Ryanair, and TUI Airways company. It has a total of 4 terminals. Each terminal is well connected to another terminal by Skylink and the airport railway station is also connected to the “Skylink” walkway for a hustle-free air travel experience.

Terminal 1 was inaugurated by Prince Philip and spread over a 1,200,000 sq ft area. It is said that Terminal 1 will close in 2025 and passengers will merge with Terminal 2 to reorganise the Airport. Now terminal 2 has a total area of 560,000 sq ft with 16 gates and 20 air bridges, At the present time, it has the capacity to handle 8 million passengers annually but it will be further extended for handling 25 million passengers annually. Terminal 3 is spread across a 478,000 sq ft. area.

Passenger parking is also available at the Airport. During the pandemic, only seven million passengers use, the airport but now, passenger numbers are increasing and the economy of the Airport is getting better gradually. As of 2022, over 23.36 million passengers were handled by the Airport.

4. London Stansted

London Stansted is an international Airport in Stansted Mountfitchet village of Essex, England, United Kingdom. In 2022, London Stansted became the ” fourth busiest Airport in the UK “. The Airport is owned and operated by “Manchester Airport Holdings”.

London Stansted was opened in August 1943 the time of World War II. It has one single runway which is about 3,048 metres long. The Airport has one main passenger terminal. The terminal was designed by Foster and Partners with the help of engineer Peter Rice. Departure gates, air bridges, and transit systems are also present. In 1991, Stansted Airport Railway station was made for passenger benefits.

Stansted manages to handle more than 160 destinations in Asia, Europe, and Africa. The Airport also handles many private companies like Titan Airways, Harrods Aviation etc. for their private flights, charter flights, etc. Air Albania, Air Moldova, Albawings, EasyJet, Emirates and many other airlines are handled by Stansted Airport. From 2021, the Airport is going through an expansion plan to reorganize the base. In 2022, over 23.29 million passengers were handled by the Airport after the pandemic and the numbers are also increasing day by day.

5. London Luton

As of 2018, London Luton is the fifth busiest Airport in the UK. It is also considered one of the largest international airports in London. The Airport is based in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. London Luton is owned by Luton Rising and operated by London Luton Airport Operations Ltd. The Airport was opened on 16th July 1938. Luton Parkway Station is situated near the Airport for easy travel of passengers. Here, you can find long-stay car parking facilities as well.

For the same geographical location, sometimes London Luton is considered a rival of Stansted Airport in terms of profit business. In London Luton airport, DHL Aviation, TUI Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair UK, and many more companies run their flights. The Airport has one single runway covering an area of 7,087 sq. ft. The Airport has an instrument Landing System, automated baggage handling facilities and Luton DART which is an automated guided people mover. In 2022, this international Airport handled around 13.1 million passengers.

6. Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport is the sixth busiest Airport in the United Kingdom and the busiest Airport in Scotland. The Airport is located in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. BA Cityflyer, EasyJet, jet2, Laganair, and Ryanair are the main companies that use this airport for their flights. The Airport is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners and operated by Edinburgh Airport Ltd.

The Airport first opened as ” Turnhouse Aerodrome ” in the time of World War 1 and in the time of the second world war, the first runway was paved and after the end of world war II, in 1947, it was opened for commercial flights. In 1952, its runway was extended. In 1977, Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated the new terminal and then Edinburgh Airport was opened to the public.

Edinburgh Airport has one main runway that is 2556 meters long. Lothian Buses, Stagecoach East Scotland Public Transport, Xplore Dundee Public Transport, and Citylink public transport are available to reach the Airport. Glasgow A8 Road is an easy-to-go road to access the Airport. The Airport is also accessible from M8 Motorway, M9 Motorway and M90 Motorway.

Edinburgh Gateway Rail Station is well-connected to the Airport. Edinburgh trams are also an easy path to reach the Airport. After Covid, in 2022, the Airport handled 11,250,211 passengers and the number of daily passengers is also increasing and everything is getting normal like before.

7. Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport is the seventh busiest Airport in the UK. This international Airport is based in Bickenhill Village, in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, England. The Airport is owned by a group of three shareholders. And, the Airport is operated by Birmingham Airport Ltd.

There are many airlines that use this airport, among them the most popular airlines are: easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, TUI Airways, Emirates, KLM, etc. The Airport has two terminals for all kinds of flights with agent desks and check-in halls. And these two terminals are connected through a building named Millennium Link. Bringimam has one runway that is 3,052 meters long.

The Airport serves many destinations like the Indian subcontinent, North America, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, etc. A45 Main Road, M42 Motorway, and Birmingham International railway station are some of the paths to reach the Airport. In 2022, more than 10 million people used Birmingham Airport which is considered a great start after the pandemic.

8. Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport has acquired the eighth position in the list of the top 10 busiest Airports in the United Kingdom. This international Airport is located in Lulsgate Bottom, North Somerset, Bristol, England. The Airport is owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. In 2010, the Airport uses a slogan – ” Amazing journeys start here “. 116 destinations are served by Bristol Airport with the help of 14 Airlines.

Some popular destinations are – Brussels, Chicago, Boston, Hamburg, Dubai, LA, Johannesburg, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro and many more. Easy Jet, jet2, Ryanair, and TUI Airways use Bristol Airport for their flights. Bristol Airport has one runway that is 2,011 meters long.

The Airport has Temple Meads train station which is just 8 miles away from the Airport. For passenger’s easy travel, Bristol airport Bus station is also present there. Airport lounges, parking ( silver zone), and other facilities are also available in the Airport. In 2022, more than 7,948,941 (7.94 million) passengers were handled by Bristol Airport. After the pandemic, Bristol is one of those “fastest recovery airports” which are experiencing improvements as compared to other international Airports.

9. Glasgow Airport

Glasgow International Airport is the ninth busiest Airport in the UK and the second busiest in Scotland. The airport is located in Abbotsinch, Paisley, Scotland, United Kingdom. ” AGS Airports ” owns and operates the Glasgow Airport. Easyjet, jet2, and TUI Airways are tenants of the Glasgow international airport. Queen Elizabeth II officially inaugurated the Glasgow Airport on 27th June 1966.

As of 2017, Glasgow Airport had managed approximately 9.9 million passengers which is the all-time highest. It has one runway that is 2,665 metres long. One big terminal and another small terminal are present in the Airport. Shuttle bus services are easily available at the Airport. M8 Motorway is an easy path for riders to reach the Airport. In 2022, this airport handled more than 6,516,029 passengers.

10. Belfast International Airport

Belfast Airport has achieved the tenth position in the list of the top 10 busiest airports in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2019, the Airport made a record of handling 6.27 million passengers in a year. The Airport is located in Aldergrove, country Antrim, Belfast, Northern Ireland. This international Airport is owned and operated by Vinci Airports. Easy Jet, jet2, Ryanair, and TUI Airways are some of the tenants of Belfast Airport.”

Belfast Airport has two cross runways, and this airport is considered ” the largest Airport in Northern Ireland “. One runway is 2,780 metres long and another one is 1,891 meters long. This international Airport has only one passenger terminal. Belfast serves many destinations in the UK like Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and many others.

Antrim Train Station is a nearby railway station used by the passenger. There is an Airport express 300 bus line available. Belfast serves 53 destinations in 18 countries as an International Airport. In 2022, the Airport handled over 4.8 million passengers. Belfast Airport is gradually working on its future plan which is to serve 12 million passengers by 2030.

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