London is home to most of the UK’s most popular airports and with good reason. Whilst it might not be as centrally located as Birmingham, the capital city is surrounded by wide open space and is lucky enough to now have a major airport at every compass point. But what are the city’s most popular airports and why?
The largest and busiest airport in the UK, Heathrow sees over 80 million passengers passing through its terminals every year. Heathrow is a true behemoth of an airport and whilst it might not be as large as some other international hubs (such as Schiphol in Amsterdam), it is comfortably one of the most iconic and one of the most fully-featured when it comes to the selection of shops and restaurants. That’s before we even begin to mention how easy it is to access. The airport is commonly used for business flights, with the most popular route being direct to New York JFK.
Luton airport is the most popular London airport for private jet hire thanks to its long runway and ability to cater to private jet companies on a 24-hour basis. Indeed, it’s actually the most popular airport for private air travel in the entire country according to Victor. As private jet charters continue to become a more affordable and popular option (up 12.7% in 2017), then Luton airport is bound to grow even further in popularity.
The southern cousin to Heathrow, Gatwick is located south of the city and is the airport most popularly favoured by holidaymakers. This is underlined by the fact that the most common flight is direct to Orlando, Florida – the sunshine state and home of Walt Disney World. Gatwick is also the most popular London airport for domestic flights and is the home of easyJet – perhaps the country’s most popular low-fare airline. Just a shade under 46 million passengers used the airport in 2018, which might be almost half that of Heathrow but is also almost double the number of passengers that flew through Manchester airport in the same year.
It might be a lot smaller than Heathrow and Gatwick, but Stanstead still managed to send almost 28 million passengers through its terminals in 2018, up from just under 26 million the year previously. This represented an 8% increase, making it the London airport with the greatest passenger growth. Stanstead is a popular airport with families as it is smaller and less intimidating than the likes of Gatwick and Heathrow. It’s also often busiest during the summer holidays, with Monday the 29th of July and Friday the 2nd of August representing the busiest days for both arrival and departure.