Lonely Planet Writer

Discover which air routes in Europe are the busiest

Travellers in France looking to cut down on travel time with a domestic flight should know they might be about to hop on the busiest air route in Europe.

Paris features in one of the most popular air routes. Image by WIN-Initiative/Getty Images

The Telegraph broke down Eurostat data on what the most popular routes are within the EU, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, finding that based on 2016 passenger numbers, Toulouse-Blagnac Airport to Paris Orly Airport is the busiest. It is followed by similar domestic routes, like Barajas in Madrid to Barcelona’s El Prat, and Nice-Côte d’Azur to Paris Orly, unsurprising as they likely draw in both travellers looking for a quick break and business travellers.

Overall, air passenger transport is steadily rising in Europe. Eurostat also recently released a report noting that nearly 973 million passengers travelled by air in the EU last year, up 5.9% from 2015. Surprisingly, Oslo, Norway asserted itself as a hub of travel, with its routes to Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger and Copenhagen all ranking in the top 20.

The modern office and residential buildings of the Barcode project in Bjorvika district, view from the Opera House in Oslo, Norway. Image by Jorg Greuel/Getty Images

The busiest airports are London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol based on the 2016 numbers. The London centre attracted 75.7 million passengers, while Paris’ largest international airport saw 65.8 million, and the European hub of Schiphol attracted 63.6 million. Heathrow handled the most travellers heading into or out of Europe, while Schipol handled the most travellers within the EU. When it comes to overall passengers flying out of European countries, the most were recorded in the UK, followed by Germany, Spain, France and Italy, while the countries that saw the largest increase in air passenger transport were Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.