Airlines in the UK and the rest of Europe

Airlines in the UK

In the past few decades, the airline industry has grown tremendously, flights in the UK are now a key part of the UK economy. A number of international UK airports act as major air traffic hubs for Europe and beyond, particularly London's airports and Manchester Airport. Regional airports have also seen growth in more recent years since the advance of no-frills airlines.

Passengers flying to or from the UK are typically carried by British airlines, of which there are about forty. Among the largest are British Airways and easyJet, which collectively account for almost half of all passengers flown on UK airlines.

Domestic flights within the UK are fast and frequent, operated predominantly by budget airlines offering cheap flights, like Ryanair, easyJet and flybe. As a result, thanks to these airlines and flight comparison tools, it can sometimes be cheaper to fly than take a long-distance train journey. Some of the most popular domestic routes are between the south of England and Scotland. Concerning international flights, routes to Spain receive the highest passenger volumes, followed by routes to the US and then Ireland.

Major Low-Cost Airlines in the UK

Based out of London Luton Airport, easyJet is the UK’s largest airline, providing services on over 600 routes to 32 countries. Over 2013, it carried over 60 million passengers and is one of the largest low-cost carriers in Europe. Founded in 1995, following the deregulation of the European air travel market they are now a household name and are listed on the FTSE 100 index. What they do differently from other budget airlines is that they are willing to pay the higher airport costs that come with flying to more conveniently located airports in the hope that people will prioritise convenience over cheap fares alone. The most flown to destinations on easyJet's schedule are London, Paris and Milan. 


Flybe is Europe’s largest regional airline, and carried over 7 million passengers over the course of 2013. In short, what this means is that they have filled the niche demand for flights between regional destinations that are not deemed sufficiently large for mainline services. In the UK, its largest base is located at Birmingham Airport though it also operates out of Belfast, Manchester and Southampton. In total, it operates almost 200 routes to destinations all across Europe.

Other low-cost airlines in the UK

Jet2: Starting operations in 2003, Jet2 is now one of the biggest low-cost providers in the UK and offers services to 58 destinations around Europe. Their base is at Leeds/Bradford International.

Monarch: The oldest UK airline to still be operating under their original name, Monarch are based in London Luton and offer flights to short-haul holiday destinations.

Wizz Air: A Hungarian low-cost airline which now serves 97 destinations across 35 countries and carries more than 15 million passengers each year.

Vueling: Spain's second largest airline, Vueling has its hub in Barcelona El Prat airport and flies to over 100 destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Germanwings: A low-cost airline based in Cologne Bonn airport and wholly a subsidiary of Lufthansa.

Popular Flight Routes

Flights from London

From London's airports, Paris is the most popular international destination for American travelers. It is easy to travel from London to Paris with dozens of daily direct flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and City airports. Airlines flying from London to Paris include British Airways, Easyjet, Cityjet, and Vueling. London's Heathrow airport is a major international flight hub, making it easy to fly to most European destinations including Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona and Madrid.

Flights from Paris

London is the most popular international destination for North Americans flying from Paris. There are dozens of Paris to London flights departing everyday from either Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. Airlines operating flights from Paris to London include Air France, British Airways, Easyjet and Vueling. Most major European cities can be flown to from Paris including Venice, Florence and Munich.

Flights from Rome

Flights from Rome depart from one of the city's two major airports: the intercontinental Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci airport, and the regional Ciampino airport. Both airports offer international flights from Rome to destinations across Europe including London, Paris and Amsterdam. Alitalia, Italy's flag-carrying airlines, offers frequent flights from Rome, while Vueling flights are often available as a budget option.

Flights from Amsterdam

Flights from Amsterdam to other European destinations depart from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, which is the fifth busiest airport in the world by number of passengers. Flights from Amsterdam reach most major cities in Europe including London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin and Vienna. Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is also a flight hub for Transavia and Easyjet as well as KLM, the Netherlands' national airline.

Flights from Barcelona

Flights from Barcelona reach most major cities in Europe as well as most airports in Spain. Flights from Barcelona reach popular European destinations including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome and Madrid. Flights from Barcelona depart from El Prat airport, which functions as a flight hub for Air Europa, Ryanair and Vueling, as well as Spain's national airline, Iberia.

Flights from Madrid

Flights from Berlin

Flights from Berlin reach most major destinations in both Eastern and Western Europe. Berlin's Tegel airport offers flights to intercontinental destinations as well as major cities in Europe from flag-carrying airlines, while Berlin's Schönefeld airport typically caters to budget airlines and their European destinations. Berlin's Tegel airport functions as a flight hub for Eurowings.

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