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What are the Most Popular Airports in the UK?

The UK has many airports all around which are hugely busy and it is important to be aware of the best ones so that you can plan any trips accordingly. Here are a few of the UK’s main airports and the number of people that pass through each year.


Heathrow is one of the biggest airports in the entire world and the largest in the UK. It is the third busiest in terms of passenger traffic and the London airport had a staggering 80.1 million terminal passengers (arrivals and departures) in 2018 alone according to gov.co.uk statistics. 


Also in London, Gatwick is another major global airport and the second busiest in England and the 8th busiest in Europe. The historic airport that has been operating commercially since 1933 saw 46.08 passengers pass through in 2018. Gatwick is also a highly popular airport in the south because it is so easily accessed by train and money can be saved for regular travellers with the use of Carnet tickets.


Manchester airport, meanwhile, is the gateway to the north of England with flights to 199 destinations all over the globe. It is the third busiest airport in the UK and in 2018 there were 28.248 million passengers that used the airport. 


Another London airport, Stansted is known as a base for affordable European airlines so it is popular for those seeking affordable holidays all over the world. Operating commercially since 1966, Stansted Airpot had 27.99 million people pass through in 2018.


Luton is London’s fourth-biggest airport (ahead of only London City Airport) and is found just north of the capital. It is also the fifth-largest in the UK servicing mainly Europe but also North Africa and Asia. In 2018, Luton had 16.77 million passengers arrive and depart.

Other Major Airports

These are the 5 most popular airports in the UK and the places that most people either fly out of or arrive in. London airports clearly dominate but there are a handful of other airports which are also popular in other places, such as Edinburgh (14.29 million), Birmingham (12.45 million), Glasgow (9.65 million) and Bristol (8.69 million).

The UK has some of the busiest airports in Europe, particularly Heathrow which is one of the biggest in the world. While the busiest airports are situated around the capital, there are also many airports all over the UK which can make it quick and easy to reach an airport/arrive closer to your final destination.

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