Which is the Biggest Airport In The United Kingdom?

Which is the Biggest Airport In The United Kingdom

When it comes to air travel in the United Kingdom, many airports come to mind. However, have you ever wondered which one is the biggest? Let’s get deeper into this thought and find the UK’s biggest airport. The answer – is London Heathrow Airport, often simply called “Heathrow.” Without a doubt, it is the biggest airport in the country, not just by its size but also by the number of passengers. In fact, it is one of the busiest in the world!

About The Airport Location

Heathrow Airport is located in the west of London, specifically in the London Borough of Hillingdon. It is easily accessible to the surrounding villages of Sipson, Harlington, Harmondsworth, and Longford. It sits about 14 miles west of Central London, making it closer to the heart of the city. The location is precisely picked out as it serves major hubs for London and the broader UK. 

Size And Capacity

The size of the UK’s biggest airport is quite impressive; its surface area is around 4.69 square miles (12.27 square kilometers). To put this in perspective, it is about the size of a 2,800 football field. The airport has 60 aircraft stands and can accommodate air travel services to millions of passengers every year. Just last year, the airport served around 79 million passengers in 2023, meaning it has the capacity to manage a large inflow of travelers. Other aspects include:

  • The airport currently has four active passenger terminals (numbered 2, 3, 4, and 5). Each terminal is like a small city in itself, with its own check-in counter, baggage area, security zones, shops, and more!
  • It manages flight operations with two parallel east-west runways, and each is 2 miles or 3.2 kilometers long. These runways can handle the largest passenger aircraft, including the Airbus 380.
  • Heathrow can manage around 80 million passengers. This implies that more than the entire population of Germany passes through the airport in a single year. 
  • On average, a plane takes off and lands at Heathrow Airport every 45 seconds when traveling is in its peak season. 

Interesting Highlights & Features Of LHR Airport

Heathrow is more than just a place where planes take off and land; it’s a complex ecosystem with many unique features. Since it serves a large audience, the airport has to be tight on security and provide numerous transportation hubs, along with multiple shopping and dining options. 

  1. Security: The airport has its own dedicated police force and fire station to ensure quick requirements or any emergencies. They actually have two fire stations and even a beekeeper. In addition, 107 firefighters on site are specifically trained to put out aviation fuel fires. As for the police station, it has everything that you will find in a usual station, including cells.
  2. Transportation Hubs: The Heathrow Express Train provides a speedy 14-minute connection to Central London. There is also The London Underground (The London Underground), which is quite an affordable option between London and all the terminals. Along with this, there are also numerous bus and coach services.
  3. Shopping And Dining Options: Heathrow Airport almost resembles a massive shopping mall. You can find everything from luxury brands to local souvenirs and cuisine from every corner of the world. Passengers can shop from A to Z, grab a snack, or settle down to enjoy a happy meal at the restaurants. If there’s still time to depart, explore thousands of products.
  4. Art And Culture: The airport is known for regularly hosting art exhibitions and cultural events, making it a place for more than just travel. So, if you’re stuck at the airport, waiting for that departure call, why not explore the art gallery? The airport offers a completely commercial art gallery, so you can actually purchase pieces that you like. 

Airlines & Destinations

From London Heathrow, passengers can book tickets to 214 destinations across 84 countries. The airport serves around 89 airlines that offer flight services to the mentioned places. 

AirlinesDestinations
Aegean AirlinesAthens
Aer LingusCork, Dublin, Knock, Shannon
AeroméxicoMexico City
Air AlgérieAlgiers
Air AstanaAktau, Almaty
Air CanadaCalgary, Halifax, Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver, Delhi
Air ChinaBeijing–Capital, Chengdu–Tianfu
Air FranceNice, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air IndiaDelhi, Mumbai
Air SerbiaBelgrade
All Nippon AirwaysTokyo–Haneda
Asiana AirlinesSeoul–Incheon
Austrian AirlinesVienna
AviancaBogotá
Azerbaijan AirlinesBaku
Beijing Capital AirlinesQingdao
Biman Bangladesh AirlinesDhaka, Sylhet
British AirwaysAberdeen
Abu Dhabi
Abuja
Accra
Amman–Queen Alia
Amsterdam
Athens
Atlanta
Austin
Bahrain
Baltimore
Bangalore
Barbados
Barcelona
Basel/Mulhouse
Beijing–Daxing
Belfast–City
Belgrade
Berlin
Bermuda
Billund
Bologna
Boston
Brussels
Bucharest–Otopeni
Budapest
Buenos Aires–Ezeiza
Cairo
Cape Town
Chennai
Chicago–O’Hare
Cincinnati
Copenhagen
Cologne/Bonn
Dallas/Fort Worth
Delhi
Denver
Doha
Dubai–International
Dublin
Düsseldorf
Edinburgh
Frankfurt
Funchal
Geneva
Gibraltar
Glasgow
Gothenburg
Grand Cayman
Hamburg
Hanover
Hong Kong
Houston–Intercontinental
Hyderabad
Inverness
Islamabad
Istanbul
Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Jeddah
Jersey
Johannesburg–O.R
Tambo
Kraków
Kuala Lumpur–International
Kuwait City
Lagos
Larnaca
Las Vegas
Lisbon
Los Angeles
Luxembourg
Lyon
Madrid
Málaga
Malé
Manchester
Marrakesh
Marseille
Mexico City
Miami
Milan–Linate
Milan–Malpensa
Montréal–Trudeau
Mumbai
Munich
Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta
Naples
Nashville
Nassau
Newark
Newcastle upon Tyne
New Orleans
New York–JFK
Nice
Oslo
Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Philadelphia
Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Pisa
Pittsburgh
Portland (OR)
Prague
Providenciales
Reykjavík–Keflavík
Riga
Rio de Janeiro–Galeão
Riyadh
Rome–Fiumicino
San Diego
San Francisco
Santiago de Chile
São Paulo–Guarulhos
Seattle/Tacoma
Shanghai–Pudong
Singapore
Sofia
Stockholm–Arlanda
Stuttgart
Sydney
Tel Aviv
Tenerife–South
Tirana
Tokyo–Haneda
Toronto–Pearson
Toulouse
Valencia
Vancouver
Venice
Vienna
Warsaw–Chopin
Washington–Dulles
Zagreb
Zürich
Seasonal: Bodrum, Brindisi, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Figari, Florence, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, İzmir, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Ljubljana, Mykonos, Nuremberg, Olbia, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Perugia, Ponta Delgada, Preveza/Lefkada, Pula, Rhodes, Salzburg, Santorini, Split, Thessaloniki, Tromsø, Turin, and Zakynthos.
Brussels AirlinesBrussels
Bulgaria AirSofia
Cathay PacificHong Kong
China AirlinesTaipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern AirlinesShanghai–Pudong
China Southern AirlinesBeijing–Daxing, Guangzhou, and Wuhan.
Croatia AirlinesZagrebSeasonal: Split
Delta Air LinesAtlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, Salt Lake City, and Seattle/Tacoma.
Seasonal: Orlando 
EgyptairCairo
Seasonal: Luxor
El AlTel Aviv
EmiratesDubai–International
Ethiopian AirlinesAddis Ababa
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi
EurowingsCologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Stuttgart.
EVA AirBangkok–Suvarnabhumi and Taipei–Taoyuan.
FinnairHelsinki
Gulf AirBahrain
Hainan AirlinesChangsha and Haikou
IberiaMadrid
IcelandairReykjavík–Keflavík
Iran AirTehran–Imam Khomeini
Japan AirlinesTokyo–Haneda
JetBlueBoston and New York–JFK
Kenya AirwaysNairobi–Jomo Kenyatta
KLMAmsterdam
KM Malta AirlinesMalta
Korean AirSeoul–Incheon
Kuwait AirwaysKuwait City
LATAM BrasilSão Paulo–Guarulhos
LoganairDerry, Dundee, Isle of Man, Kirkwall, and Sumburgh.
LOT Polish AirlinesWarsaw–Chopin
LufthansaFrankfurt, Munich
Seasonal: Salzburg
Malaysia AirlinesKuala Lumpur–International
Middle East AirlinesBeirut
Oman AirMuscat
QantasMelbourne, Perth, Singapore, and Sydney.
Qatar AirwaysDoha
Royal Air MarocCasablanca
Royal Brunei AirlinesBandar Seri Begawan and Dubai–International
Royal JordanianAmman–Queen Alia
RwandAirKigali
SaudiaJeddah, Neom Bay, and Riyadh.
Scandinavian AirlinesCopenhagen, Oslo, Stavanger, and Stockholm–Arlanda.
Seasonal: Bergen, Sälen-Trysil, and Tromsø.
Shenzhen AirlinesShenzhen
Singapore AirlinesSingapore
SriLankan AirlinesColombo–Bandaranaike
Swiss International Air LinesGeneva and Zürich
TAP Air PortugalLisbon
TAROMBucharest–Otopeni 
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Tianjin AirlinesChongqing, Tianjin, and Xi’an.
TunisairTunis
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul
United AirlinesChicago–O’Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington–Dulles.
Uzbekistan AirwaysTashkent
Vietnam AirlinesHanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
Virgin AtlanticAntigua, Atlanta, Bangalore, Barbados, Boston, Delhi, Grenada, Johannesburg–O.R. Tambo, Lagos, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Montego Bay, Mumbai, Nassau, New York–JFK, Orlando, Providenciales, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai–Pudong, St. Vincent–Argyle, Tampa, Tel Aviv, Toronto–Pearson, and Washington–Dulles.
Seasonal: Cape Town, Dubai–International, Malé, and St. Lucia–Hewanorra.
VistaraDelhi
VuelingBarcelona and Paris–Orly
WestJetCalgary

Other Significant Airport In UK!

While Heathrow is undoubtedly the biggest, the UK  has several other significant airports as well. These airports may serve fewer routes or amenities in comparison to LHR but are equally impressive. Follow the list and get to know other players in the country. 

1. London Gatwick International Airport (LGW)

London Gatwick Airport

London’s second-largest airport, Gatwick, is also known for its passenger traffic. Over the years, the airport has grown from serving just 186,000 travelers to around 40 million passengers annually. 

Airport CodeLGW
Area1,670 acres
Passenger Terminal &  GateTwo Terminals and 65 gates
Total Passengers40,894,242
Airlines & Destinations50 Airlines and 220 Destinations

2. Manchester International Airport (MAN)

Manchester Airport

The Manchester International Airport is the third-busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It manages an inflow of about 29 million passengers. Outside London Heathrow and Gatwick, Manchester is the only airport that can serve such a large audience of travelers. In addition, MAN has two full-length runways after LHR. 

Airport CodeMAN
Area1,400 acres
Passenger TerminalThree Terminals 
Total PassengersServes around 30 million passengers in a year. However, it has the capacity to serve around 50 million. 
Airlines & Destinations49 Airlines and 186 Destinations

3. London Stansted Airport (STN)

London Stansted Airport

    Stansted is another London Airport, processing over 28 million passengers each year, earning the name of the third-busiest airport in the state. It is the only airport that has significant runway capacity and operates flights to the European route network. The airport is known to welcome more visitors from Europe than any other airport. 

    Airport CodeSTN 
    AreaSpread over 68 km
    Passenger TerminalOne Terminal and 68 Gates
    Total Passengers28 million passengers every year. 
    Airlines & Destinations25 Airlines and 194 Destinations

    4. London Luton Airport (LTN)

    London Luton Airport

      Luton Airport also plays an important role in serving the London area. It is the major hub for low-cost airlines, providing affordable flights to over 16.5 million passengers. The airport has a speedy connection to central London, making it easily accessible, plus it is fully wheelchair accessible.

      Airport CodeLTN
      AreaSpread over 2.7 km
      Passenger TerminalOne two-story terminal building 
      Total Passengers16.5 million passengers
      Airlines & Destinations9 Airlines and 130 Destinations

      The London Heathrow International Airport stands as a testament to the UK’s biggest airport. Its vast size, impressive passenger traffic, and international connectivity make it not just the largest airport but one of the most important in the world. Whether you fly frequently or are an aviation enthusiast, Heathrow is truly awe-inspiring. 

      Plus, there is more to the list! The United Kingdom has multiple airports that can serve a large population of travelers or operate numerous airlines. For instance, London Gatwick and Manchester Airport are the second and third-largest airports in the country. 

      Related Queries

      Which airport is the biggest in the UK?

      London Heathrow is the UK’s biggest airport in terms of surface area and passenger traffic.

      Is Heathrow bigger than Manchester Airport?

      Yes. If we talk about the size or the surface area, Heathrow is indeed bigger than Manchester Airport. 

      Is Heathrow the busiest airport in the world?

      Yes. London Heathrow Airport was the Europe’s busiest airport in 2023 and fourth worldwide.  

      Which UK airport flies to the most destinations?

      Being the largest in the country, London Heathrow offers flight services to 214 destinations in 84 countries with 89 airlines.

      What are the top 3 busiest airports in the UK?

      The top three busiest airports in the UK are 1. London Heathrow, 2. London Gatwick, and 3. Manchester Airport.

      Which is the biggest airport in the UK by size?

      Again, London Heathrow is the biggest airport in terms of size. It is spread over 12.27 square kilometers.

      How many international airports are there in the UK?

      The UK has around 15 international airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick International, Manchester, and  London Stansted Airport.

      How many airports in the UK have 2 runways?

      London Heathrow, Manchester Airport, and Edinburgh Airport are the top airports on the list with 2 runways.

      What is the UK’s largest airport group?

      The Aviation Professionals and Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is the UK’s largest airport group.