Newquay Airport posted a 22% gain in passenger numbers in 2017, marking the second straight year that the airport is named the fastest growing airport in the United Kingdom. The number of passengers that went through the airport’s terminals was 454,000 in 2017.
The number of passengers has doubled in the last two years, but the airport remains well below the country’s most popular airports for travelers.
Newquay’s airport removed an unpopular £5 charge for departing passengers, which is partially attributed to the airport’s growth. Heathrow and Gatwick remain two of the world’s busiest airports, with Heathrow handling as many passengers as Newquay in just two days.
Edinburgh and Luton both experienced 8.6% growth, surpassing Manchester in the process.
Edinburgh’s growth is attributed to the airport adding 32 new international routes last year. The airport’s domestic travelers fell in 2017 as a direct result of the route, going to Stansted, being removed by Ryanair. The airport’s passenger numbers grew to 13.4 million.
Luton handled a total of 15.7 million passengers last year, with the company celebrating its 80th year of operation. Economists didn’t expect the airport’s growth to remain strong at the end of 2017 when Monarch collapsed in October. The collapse of Monarch may impact Luton’s passenger numbers in 2017.
Luton does plan to open up a new terminal, stating that the airport is going through a transformation.
Heathrow airport remains the country’s most popular airport, with over 78 million people traveling through the airport’s terminals last year. The airport is expected to gain even more travelers, as a third runway has gained support from the Government. The runway was suggested by the Davies Commission and would greatly improve the airport’s capacity.
Heathrow airport benefits from ample airport transfer services and direct routes to the United States and Europe. The airport is a central hub for international travelers.
Gatwick is experiencing a near-capacity issue, as the airport handled 45.6 million travelers last year. The airport hopes to build on their success in 2017 and reach 50 million passengers annually. The Davies Commission estimated the airport’s capacity to be just 45 million. The airport is the UK’s second most-popular airport, well ahead of Manchester which holds the third spot.
Manchester airport handled 27.8 million passengers in 2017, with a growth rate of 8.5%. Stansted, owned by the same company that owns Manchester airport, ranks fourth in air traffic, with 25.9 million passengers last year. The airport’s growth was 6.5%, with the airport having significant capacity left.
The two airports have the country’s most unused runway capacity, with Stansted able to accommodate 35 million travelers.
The United Kingdom has also announced a potential policy change in early January that would limit alcohol sales at the country’s airports. The policy change came after the Civil Aviation Authority announced that 418 instances of disruptive behavior occurred on UK flights in 2016, doubling the figures seen just a year prior.
Alcohol would be restricted prior to passengers boarding flights to help curb the rise in drunken behavior on airlines.