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Paris Charles de Gaulle overtakes London Heathrow

Johanna Koyser
28.10.2020
2 minutes

The fact that passenger numbers have fallen dramatically this year in the face of the Corona Pandemic is nothing new. Nevertheless, they are still being counted, after all statistics are almost more important in times of crisis than usual. Data are now available on passenger volumes for a full nine months of 2020 and a change in European aviation is becoming apparent.

Up to now, London Heathrow has always been considered the busiest and, thus, the largest airport in Europe. However, according to recently published figures, it has to relinquish its rank for the first time; to Paris Charles de Gaulle. In the first three quarters of 2020, Paris Charles de Gaulle reported 19.27 million passengers and London Heathrow 300,000 fewer. The other two challengers are Amsterdam Schiphol (17.6 million) and Frankfurt (16.16 million). One of the main reasons is of course the pandemic itself and the fact that the UK has been hit particularly hard. However, London Heathrow airport itself is also open to criticism. After all, of the four hubs mentioned, it is the only one which has not introduced any fixed testing arrangements. According to official information, however, such schemes are due to be introduced by 1 December at the latest.

Britain is falling behind because we’ve been too slow to embrace passenger testing. European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits. Paris has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s largest airport for the first time ever, and Frankfurt and Amsterdam are quickly gaining ground.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow

Picture © Tomek Baginski

by Johanna Koyser

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