What are the busiest summer holiday airports? That depends on what is meant by summer holiday airports. Is it destination airports or departure points and can city airports be included as well as those which serve holiday resorts?
The list could take many forms but if you look at airports that serve the major tourist destinations then the top five could be…
#1 - Orlando Airport, USA
At number one, Orlando, which sees an incredible 35 million people pass through its gates each year. Orlando is the point of entry for Walt Disney World which is one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions. Orlando is so much more though for there’s Universal Studios, Sea World and the themed dinner attractions almost unique to the city. There are also beaches within an hour’s drive of the airport and those that aren’t staying in a Disney resort hotel will be heading for the beachside hotels in resorts such as Cocoa Beach, Daytona and Melbourne. You won’t find budget flights there but the popularity of the route and the number of operators still makes it one of the cheaper US destinations. Number one could have been Los Angeles, San Francisco or Miami but we’ve discounted them for they’re also business
or hub airports
#2 - Barcelona Airport, Spain
Number two at a pinch is Barcelona’s El Prat Airport with 34 million passengers last year. Almost disqualified for being a city airport, it also has the resorts of the Costa Brava and at a squeeze those of the Costa Blanca.
As a summer holiday destination, people are drawn by the works of Gaudi and the city’s beach which rivals any on the nearby Costas. Flight prices are very reasonable as both Ryanair and easyJet have made it a major hub. A cheaper alternative is Girona Airport, once the sole Barcelona Airport to be served by Ryanair.
#3 - Palma de Mallorca Airport, Spain
Palma de Mallorca Airport is number three on our holiday airport list with the airport serving the holiday resorts of the island. If you want a little culture whilst you’re there you can spend some time in the capital after which the airport was named. Everyone raves about the city’s cathedral so make that a must see on your list. 21 million passengers used the airport in 2012, the largest number to fly to a small island airport anywhere in the world. It’s one of the cheapest European airports to fly to with major competition on several routes from the UK with budget operators and the major tour companies.
#4 - Malaga Airport, Spain
Malaga Airport is next on the list at four, serving the resorts of the Costa del Sol. After years of going down market with 18 – 30 holidays and the lager lout invasion, the region revamped itself as a high class destination and now previous laughing stocks such as Torremolinos and Benidorm have many five star resort hotels. Over 12 million people fly into Malaga Airport each year and hire a car at the airport to take them to their holiday accommodation. Again the popularity of the airport has meant that all the major flight companies use the airport and as a result, prices are low.
#5 - Nice Airport, France
You could consider Nice to be next at five, serving the Cote d’Azur and bringing nearly ten million people there each year. Resorts like Cannes, Nice, Menton, Antibes and more are genteel and attract the wealthier tourist who wish to follow in the steps of Monet or the glitterati who have their homes here ready for the world famous film festival. easyJet are the main carrier from the UK to Nice and some bargains can be had but overall, the few flight companies that operate the route mean that prices are still not cheap.