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The UK’s busiest airport terminals revealed


Heathrow Terminal 5 handles more passengers than any other terminal in the UK – even when busy single-terminal airports are included. In September an average of 100,000 passengers arrived or departed each day from T5, which is the main hub for British Airways.

For the first time, the UK’s busiest airport terminals are ranked in a single table by the number of passengers handled in September. The ranking is intended to prepare travellers for the level of activity they can expect.

The top seven terminals all belong to airports serving London.

Passengers at the UK’s busiest airport who agree with Jean-Paul Sartre’s mantra that “hell is other people” could choose Heathrow’s Terminal 4, which handles only a quarter of the traffic of T5.

Heathrow is by far the largest airport in the UK, but T5 is the only one of its terminals that makes the top four. Stansted airport – which is the busiest single-terminal airport in the UK – is just behind Heathrow T5 in second place, with Gatwick’s two terminals taking the third and fourth places. The Sussex airport’s busier terminal is North, the base for most easyJet flights. The numbers in September were slightly reduced from the expected figures due to staff shortages in the Gatwick control tower.

The two terminals in Heathrow’s central area, T3 and T2, are neck-and-neck for fifth and sixth places.

Luton airport, which suffered a serious car park fire last week, takes seventh place; Edinburgh, Scotland’s busiest airport, is eighth.

Manchester airport is the third-busiest in the UK after Heathrow and Gatwick, yet its busiest terminal, T1, makes only ninth place in the table. It is one of a cluster of terminals, including Manchester T2, Bristol and Birmingham, which handled just over one million passengers in September.

The remaining places are taken by Glasgow, Heathrow T4, Manchester T3 and Belfast International.

Rob Burgess of the frequent flyer website, said: “Heathrow Terminal 4 is indeed a surreal experience, and a good reason for considering Qatar Airways or Etihad over Emirates (T3) for a long-haul flight, or even KLM or Air France with a connection.

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