Scotland is home to many airports within its cities and islands. The UK constituent country is also an enticing holiday destination for travellers internationally and within the UK as a whole. So, undoubtedly, Scotland’s airports will be rather jam-packed.
While you may have seen your fair share of crammed airports in recent weeks, let’s take a quick look at Scotland’s largest and busiest airports.
As Scotland’s main international airport, housed in the capital city, it is almost a no-brainer that Edinburgh Airport is the busiest airport.
Edinburgh serves over 12 million passengers every year and welcomed 3.02 million passengers in 2021. In 2019, Edinburgh Airport was considered to be the busiest airport in Scotland by a long run after serving a huge 14.7 million passengers that year. This also made the airport the 6th busiest airport in the UK in 2019.
The Ingliston-based airport contains one large passenger terminal and operates as a single-runway airport. Regardless, it sees constant long-haul traffic from North America and the Middle East thanks to tourists, business flyers, and – crucially – international students. Edinburgh is home to the prestigious Russell Group the University of Edinburgh, a large university that attracts thousands of new and returning students from abroad a year.
Glasgow Airport serves Scotland’s second city, yet largest by size and population. In 2019, Glasgow Airport welcomed 8.84 million passengers, which was an 8.4% annual decrease from normal. Regardless, Glasgow Airport remained the 10th busiest airport in the UK that year. In 2021, its numbers were – just like all airports across the globe – hampered by the pandemic. As a result, the international airport welcomed just over 2.07 million passengers.
Despite not being as well known as Edinburgh, Glasgow Airport connects travellers to various well-known and popular destinations in the UK and Europe by hosting low-cost and full-service airlines. Glasgow also serves connections to Canada and Dubai for some long-haul options.
Glasgow Airport is owned and operated by AGS Airports, which also owns and operates Aberdeen Airport.
Aberdeen Airport is located in the Dyce suburb of Aberdeen and is the 3rd busiest airport in Scotland. In 2017, only 3.1 million passengers used the airport – but it was an increase of 4.6% compared to 2016. 2021 hit the airport relatively hard as it only saw 1.05 million passengers, down from 2.9 million in 2019.
Aberdeen is the 12th busiest airport in the UK and acts as a base for regional carrier LoganAir, the largest regional airline in the UK by fleet and passenger size, and Eastern Airways. Aberdeen Airport also acts as the main heliport for offshore North Sea oil and gas industries.
Major carriers such as KLM and Ryanair also serve the airport internationally, and while Aberdeen focuses primarily on summer services to destinations in Europe by airlines such as airBaltic and TUI, among others.
Inverness Airport comes in as the 4th busiest airport in Scotland. Surrounded by the picturesque Scottish highlands, the airport saw 357,500 passengers in 2021, down from an impressive 938,200 passengers in 2019.
It is the UK’s 19th busiest airport and a popular tourist destination.
Inverness acts as the country’s main gateway to Inverness and the North of Scotland. A range of services across the UK and Europe are available from Inverness. The airport is served by British flag carrier British Airways, low-cost carrier easyJet, and regional airline LoganAir with its regular Dublin service. In terms of international services, KLM and TUI visit the Dalcross-based airport often.
Inverness Airport is owned by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, just like Sumburgh Airport.
Finally, Sumburgh Airport is Scotland’s 5th busiest airport. Sumburgh serves the Shetland Islands in Scotland and is located on the tip of the mainland, Shetland’s main island. In 2019, the airport attracted 267,000 passengers – the pandemic meant that it only attracted 183,900 in 2021. It is the UK’s 24th busiest airport.
These numbers are still impressive considering LoganAir is the only airline that consistently serves the remote airport, allowing passengers to reach key destinations such as London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and more.
The only international flight from Sumburgh is LoganAir’s flight to Bergen, Norway.
There you are! Scotland’s busiest airports. Have you visited any? Props to you if you’ve been to all five!
Did you expect this particular order? Let us know in the comments below.