Published on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Heathrow loses its position as Europe's largest airport

Amsterdam's Schiphol has overtaken Heathrow as Europe's largest airport for direct flights.

According to the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, Schiphol has risen from sixth place in 10 years.

It put the reason for its growth partly down to the rise of low-cost carriers, which now make up 21% of its direct flights.

Heathrow's growth, on the other hand, has been constrained by a lack of capacity.

Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Istanbul Ataturk airport make up the rest of the top five airports for direct flights.

ACI Europe's airport industry connectivity report found that for the second year in a row, direct flights are growing at a faster rate than indirect and connecting flights.

It said this reflected the expansion of low cost carriers on both short and medium haul markets and 'the relative retrenchment of network carriers'.

ACI said that over the past 10 years, 99% of the growth in passenger traffic of the top 20 European airports has been delivered by low cost carriers.

Director general Olivier Jankovec said: "The low cost revolution is marching on - and nothing will stop it.

"Low-cost carriers have moved into larger airports and hubs, and they are now making inroads into the long haul market.

"Europe's airports will see 87 long haul routes being operated by low cost carriers this summer, up from 14 just four years ago.

"The next step - which Ryanair has just started experimenting, is to offer feed to network carriers or even develop their own connecting product."

Frankfurt still boasts the highest number of connecting flights, followed by Amsterdam, Dallas-Fort Worth, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Atlanta.

However, Abu Dhabi has been the fastest-growing hub since 2007, followed by Delhi and Guangzhou.

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