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Heathrow holds on to crown as busiest airport in Europe

Heathrow was number one ahead of Paris CDG  (PA Wire)
Heathrow was number one ahead of Paris CDG (PA Wire)

Heathrow has held on to its crown as Europe’s busiest airport despite passenger numbers still not recovering fully to pre-Covid levels.

Latest data from analysts Cirium shows that in 2022 the west London hub handled flights covering almost 100 billion “available seat kilometres” (ASK) a key measure used by the industry.

Rival airport Paris Charles de Gaulle was a distant second with around 70 billion ASK followed by Istanbul’s main airport on just over 60 billion.

London was the only city with two airports in the top 10 and three in the top 25. Gatwick was ninth with about 25 billion ASK, while Stansted was 25th.

Heathrow has long dominated this measure of airport activity because it handles so many long haul flights. The airport was badly hit by the pandemic when it lost its place at Europe’s busiest airport as measured by number of passengers.

In 2022, Heathrow was still 24% smaller in terms of ASKs than it was in 2019, while some other leading hubs such as Istanbul’s main airport, recorded growth.

But London with its five airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Southend, is still the busiest aviation city in the world ahead of New York despite constraints on capacity.