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Istanbul’s new airport stays Europe’s busiest in September; Heathrow climbs two places to 11th

For the third straight month, Istanbul’s main airport was Europe’s busiest in September, handling just over four million passengers. However, that is still 39% down compared with the same month in 2019. Its nearest rival last month was again another Turkish airport, Antalya. That airport welcomed over 3.8 million passengers, mostly tourists, a decline of 21% compared with two years ago. Moscow SVO, which had led the way in June, remains in third place for a second month. Amsterdam is in fourth place, while Frankfurt has passed Paris CDG into fifth place last month. The biggest gainer within the top 15 is London LHR, which climbs two places from 13th in August to 11th in September. Munich is a new entry in the top 15, replacing Athens.

Top 15 Airports in Europe in September 2021

Among the top 15 airports last month, there were three each in Russia, Spain and Turkey, plus two in both France and Germany. The remaining two airports were in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and the UK (London LHR). For a second month in a row, Moscow VKO is in 16th place (1.82m), just ahead of Athens (1.77m), Lisbon (1.63m), Vienna (1.58m) and Rome FCO (1.51m).

In August, the 15th busiest airport handled 2.11 million passengers. For September this has fallen to 1.83 million as the peak summer holiday period has passed. In August there were 39 airports handling at least one million passengers. In September, this has fallen to 35, again, due to seasonality.

Prague Airport

Traffic at around 57% of 2019 level in September

Across all the airports that handled at least one million passengers, traffic was down on average 43% in September compared with 40% in August. This is a potentially worrying sign. Among the top 15 airports, St. Petersburg was down only 3%, Moscow DME down just 6% and Istanbul SAW down 14%. At the other extreme, London LHR is still down 62%, Munich down 60%, Paris CDG down 57% and Frankfurt down 54%.

Among the other airports with more than one million passengers in September, London LGW had the biggest reduction in passengers at 76%, followed by Rome FCO (64%), Milan MXP (60%), London STN (57%), Dublin (56%) and Berlin (55%).

London Southend Airport