Heathrow loses crown as world’s busiest airport. Which one has overtaken it?

Heathrow used to be the king of the aviation jungle, but no more.

Heathrow will have to make do with the title “Europe’s busiest airport” for now, as the number of international passengers the airport handled was eclipsed elsewhere.

And which upstart rival has won the busiest airport crown? Dubai.

Dubai International airport handled 71 million international passengers over 2014, almost three million more than London Heathrow, which saw 68.1 million international passengers pass through the gates.

Dubai International chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “Heathrow is losing a lot of traffic to Dubai because we’re able to cater for the connections that Heathrow no longer has the capacity to service.”

The news comes after Heathrow and Gatwick both announced record levels of passengers. Both airports have used the figures as evidence for expanding and building new runways.

Heathrow handled a total of 73.4 million passengers over 2014 (international and domestic fliers), an increase of 1.4% since 2013, while Gatwick dealt with 38.1 million passengers over 2014, a rise of 7.6% compared to 2013, the FT reports.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Britain has benefited from being home to the world’s largest port or airport for the last 350 years.

“But lack of capacity at Heathrow means we will shortly lose our crown to Dubai.”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • This reports that Heathrow handled 68.1 million passengers but then states 73.4 million. Which is it? As one is lower and one is higher than Dubai's 71 million - confusing!

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  • Anonymous

    Re. previous comment; if you read it carefully I think it says the lower figure is international numbers and the larger includes domestic passengers; while Dubai's figure is for international passengers and therefore larger than Heathrow's international total.

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  • Many residents of West London probabley would be happy to see the end of competition to see" who has the biggest whatever..."Heathrow doesn't have either open sea next door nor lots of empty desert, and above all, Britain is supposed to be a democratic country, whereas other states ruled by autocratic rulers, benign or otherwise...
    Nor are we supposed to have large squads of cheap exploited (and sometimes unpaid) foreign contract labour... .
    Perhaps Boris Island has some merit- and in the short term, we DO have an under used runway, longer than that at City Airport,already in West London. It served as the airport for Europe for a number of years.Beside the A,40, it's called RAF Northolt.

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