What are the Busiest Airports in the UK? – We List the Top 20

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Have you ever wondered what the busiest airports in the UK are? All the data is available on the Civil Aviation Authority website, though the most recent (full year) stats I can find are for the year from February 2016 to March 2017.

Ok, no prizes for guessing that Heathrow is number one, but some of the other results might surprise you.

Top 20 busiest airports in the UK (by number of passengers passing through terminals):

  1. Heathrow: 75,991,000
  2. Gatwick: 43,686,000
  3. Manchester: 26,018,000
  4. Stansted: 24,365,000
  5. Luton: 15,002,000
  6. Edinburgh: 12,471,000
  7. Birmingham: 11,832,000
  8. Glasgow: 9,392,000
  9. Bristol: 7,721,000
  10. Belfast International: 5,315,000
  11. Newcastle: 4,883,000
  12. Liverpool: 4,782,000
  13. East Midlands: 4,708,000
  14. London City: 4,540,000
  15. Leeds Bradford: 3,669,000
  16. Aberdeen: 2,951,000
  17. Belfast City: 2,647,000
  18. Southampton: 1,982,000
  19. Cardiff: 1,347,000
  20. Doncaster Sheffield: 1,296,000

I think most readers might have guessed at the top two or three, but I didn’t realise Stansted has almost as many passengers as Manchester. Similarly, I was surprised to discover that East Midlands is substantially busier than both Leeds Bradford and London City.

Perhaps there’s a bias towards thinking the airports you personally use most frequently are busier than they really are – because they always seem pretty busy when you are flying from them! If your local airport is outside the top 20 busiest, you can have a look at the full list here and see where it lies.

The other aspect that leapt out to me is the sheer dominance of Heathrow, and Gatwick to a lesser extent. Together the two airports account for almost 45% of all passengers! That may not be surprising, but it’s still interesting to see it laid out so starkly.


Some of the top 20 busiest airports might be obvious, but I wonder if you’d have got all 20 right before looking?

What stood out most in the list for you?

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