Luton Airport Was Busier Than Gatwick And Stansted Yesterday

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In a bizarre turn of events, Luton Airport was actually busier than both Stansted and even London Gatwick Airport yesterday. Thanks to Wizz Air’s continued operations, the airport handled 20 movements as opposed to 12 at London Gatwick.

Luton Airport, Busiest Airport, Gatwick Airport
Luton Airport was busier than Gatwick and Stansted yesterday. Photo: London Luton Airport

The aviation industry is currently faced with an unprecedented crisis. Airports that would usually see 500+ movements per day are now seeing just a handful. In fact, there were so few movements at London Stansted yesterday that the airport’s police force was able to fly a drone over the quiet aprons. London City Airport is currently closed for the time being.

20 movements at Luton

Luton Airport yesterday became the busiest airport serving London outside of the M25. Of course, Heathrow retained its title of London’s busiest airport with over 100 passenger movements. However, outside of London’s orbital motorway, things were certainly shaken up as Luton was busier than both Stansted and Gatwick. Let us take a look at the numbers.

Luton Airport, Busiest Airport, Gatwick Airport
Typically London Gatwick has the most scheduled passenger movements followed by London Stansted. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: CAA

According to CAA Statistics from 2019, behind London Heathrow, Gatwick was the United Kingdom’s busiest airport with 280,681 scheduled passenger movements. Meanwhile, Stansted was London’s third busiest with 183,514 scheduled passenger movements. Luton Airport was the fourth busiest London airport and the 6th busiest UK airport in 2019. However, this all changed yesterday.

Luton Airport, Busiest Airport, Gatwick Airport
Luton handled the most passenger flights yesterday. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

According to data from FlightRadar24.com, yesterday Luton handled 20 aircraft movements. This was made up of solely of Wizz Air Flights to Eastern Europe, 10 departures and 10 arrivals. London Gatwick hosted 12 passenger movements, with Stansted hosting 10 passenger movements from Ryanair. Southend had two movements, both from Loganair.

Luton Airport, Busiest Airport, Gatwick Airport
Gatwick’s biggest customers have all suspended operations at the airport. Photo: Gatwick Airport

Gatwick most diverse

While Luton, Southend, and Stansted were each used by only one carrier each, Gatwick was yesterday the most diverse airport. It hosted flights from Aurigny, Belavia, China Airlines, Ryanair, and Wizz Air. However, many of Gatwick’s big customers, such as British Airways, have suspended operations at the airport.

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Luton Airport, Busiest Airport, Gatwick Airport
Gatwick was the only airport of the four used by more than one airline. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

The number of flights operated to the four airports yesterday wasn’t equally distributed throughout the day. After an initial rush, things remained fairly quiet until the afternoon when services became more frequent.

Luton Airport, Busiest Airport, Gatwick Airport
Movements weren’t equally spread throughout the day. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

Stansted eerily quiet

The lack of movements meant that London Stansted was eerily quiet yesterday. The airport typically handles in excess of 500 movements each day. However, yesterday it handled just 2% of this (excluding cargo operations).

As there were periods of the day with no operations, Essex Police was able to fly its drone over the airport to capture some stunning video. The footage showed an abundance of aircraft parked up wherever space exists. You can view it here (the more you watch the better it gets:

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NOTE: While we shouldn’t need to say this, a lack of movements does not mean it is okay to fly drones near to airports without permission.

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