Europe’s Busiest Airport: A Week In The Operations Of Amsterdam Schiphol

Amsterdam Schiphol was Europe’s busiest airport by total flights operated in the week to August 23rd, Eurocontrol confirms. It had 10,722 movements – across airlines, bizjets, any military – in the seven-day period. We examine Schiphol’s passenger airlines and network that week.

Delta A350
Delta has up to nine outbound flights from Amsterdam with routes to Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, JFK, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Photo: Getty Images.

Europe’s busiest airport

With 10,722 movements, Schiphol has cemented its lead over long-standing strong performer, Istanbul Airport. Indeed, the Netherlands airport exceeded Istanbul’s flights each day that week.

  1. Amsterdam: 10,722 movements August 17th-23rd 2021
  2. Istanbul Airport: 10,184
  3. Paris CDG: 9,509
  4. Frankfurt: 9,439
  5. Madrid: 7,526

Stay awareSign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.

Over the past week, Schiphol’s flights were down by an average of 28.5% over 2019. Istanbul beat it by this measure (-20.9%), so too did various others, such as Athens (-14.5%), Nice (-14.9%), and Paris Orly (-19.5%). However, among Europe’s larger airports, Schiphol continues to recover faster. An extreme example is London Heathrow. This was Europe’s 10th-busiest airport on August 23rd, but its flights were still down by 53.9%.

Eurocontrol Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s flights picked up greatly as the summer kicked in, as would be expected, but it has remained fairly flat in August. Has it peaked? Image: Eurocontrol.

69 passenger airlines in the past week

The latest data from experts Cirium indicates that Amsterdam was served by 69 passenger airlines in the week ending August 23rd. These included WestJet’s new Calgary service, along with a raft of lesser-discussed carriers with very low-frequency operations. For example:

  • An A321LR service by Air Astana to the Kazak city of Atyrau on August 19th
  • A Tunisair A320 to Tunis on August 17th
  • UR Airlines A320 service to Erbil on August 18th and 20th
  • Surinam Airways A340-300 to Paramaribo on August 18th and 22nd
  • Xiamen Air B787-9 to Xiamen on August 18th and 21st
  • Garuda Indonesia B777-300ER to Jakarta on August 21st
WestJet Boeing 787
WestJet launched Calgary-Amsterdam earlier this month. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

KLM had 57% of passenger airline flights

Obviously, KLM had well over half of all passenger airline movements, rising to 87% if the top-10 carriers, shown below, are examined. Earlier this year, we found that KLM was the 10th-largest airline serving Europe in the first week of July. Now it is ninth. The top 10 are:

  1. KLM
  2. Transavia
  3. easyJet
  4. TUIfly
  5. Turkish Airlines
  6. Air France
  7. Vueling
  8. Delta
  9. Corendon
  10. Lufthansa
KLM Boeing 737s Amsterdam
Nice, Rome, and Copenhagen had the most KLM flights. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying.

Big Turkish Airlines growth

TUIfly, Turkish Airlines, and Corendon have entered the top-10 table (they weren’t in it in 2019), reflecting leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) demand and, in the case of Turkish, the comeback of Istanbul. They replaced Flybe (for an obvious reason), British Airways, and SAS.

Interestingly, Turkish has more than doubled its flights versus the same week of 2019, with 11 routes served – up from just two. Holiday hotspots Antalya, Bodrum, and Dalaman have joined its network, likewise the VFR markets of Ankara, Kayseri, Elazig, and Trabzon.

Turkish Airbus A330
Even Turkish Airlines’ core route to Istanbul Airport is five-daily, up by one versus the same week in 2019. And widebodies mostly operate. Photo: Getty Images.

Over 235 routes

Across all passenger airlines, over 235 destinations were served from Schiphol in the analyzed week. From once- or twice-weekly operations to places such as Alghero (Corendon), Al Hoceima (Royal Air Maroc and Corendon), Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific), and Santiago (KLM), to the top-10 most-served, led by Barcelona.

KLM, Vueling, Transavia, and easyJet all served the 771-mile link to the major Spanish city and tourist destination, with up to 11 daily outbound flights, almost the same as in 2019. Heathrow, Dublin, Milan Malpensa, Manchester, Munich, and Vienna have all fallen out of the list, for now. The top routes are:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Paris CDG
  3. Rome Fiumicino
  4. Malaga
  5. Lisbon
  6. Nice
  7. Copenhagen
  8. Madrid
  9. Ibiza
  10. Berlin

Have you flown to Amsterdam this year? If so, share your experiences in the comments.