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Athens Airport Among EU’s Busiest in 2018

Photo source: AIA

Athens International Airport (AIA) ranked 22nd among the 150 busiest airports in Europe in terms of total passengers carried in 2018, according to data released recently by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical service.

According to the data, although last year AIA had the same ranking it did in the previous year, it further improved its position as it expanded its passenger traffic from 21.7 million passengers in 2017 to 24.13 million passengers in 2018, recording an 11 percent increase.

AIA is ranked after Milan’s Malpensa Airport (21st busiest airport with 24.15 million passengers) and before Berlin’s Tegel Airport (23rd with 22.99 million passengers).

The most important route from AIA in 2018 was Athens-Thessaloniki with 764,584 passengers and 5,252 flights. The Athens-Larnaca route follows with 553,489 passengers and 4,030 flights; Athens-Santorini with 538,900 passengers and 5,324 flights; Athens-Heraklio with 5000,996 passengers and 4,431 flights and; Athens-London with 373,443 passengers and 2,309 flights.


In Greece last year, total air passenger transport reached 54.26 million, up 8.1 percent compared to 2017. Eighty-four percent of those passengers came from (or headed to) international airports (36.7 million Intra-EU and 9 million Extra-EU). Only 8.55 million passengers traveled on domestic flights.

Top 5 passenger airports in Europe

London/Heathrow remained the EU’s busiest passenger airport in 2018, with 80 million passengers handled, slightly up (+3 percent) compared with 2017. Paris/Charles de Gaulle (72 million, +4 percent), Amsterdam/Schiphol (71 million, +4 percent), Frankfurt/Main (69 million, +8 percent) and Madrid/Barajas (56 milion, +9 percent) completed the top 5 of the busiest airports in the EU.

Overall in 2018, 1.1 billion passengers travelled by air in the European Union (EU), up by 6 percent compared with 2017 and by 43 percent compared with 2010.

“Over this period, air passenger transport has steadily risen in the EU,” Eurostat noted.

In 2018, intra-EU transport represented almost half (46 percent) of total air passenger transport in the EU and extra-EU transport over a third (37 percent), while national transport accounted for fewer than 1 in every 5 passengers (16 percent).

The largest number of air passengers in 2018 was recorded in the United Kingdom (272 million passengers), followed by Germany (222 million), Spain (221 million), France (162 million) and Italy (153 million).

According to Eurostat, the number of air passengers carried in 2018 rose in all EU Member States compared with 2017.

Overall in the EU, the number of air passengers rose by 62.8 million (+6 percent) between 2017 and 2018, driven by the rise in extra-EU (+9 percent) and intra-EU transport (+5 percent).

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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