Airlines in Europe

Overview and Information About All National Airlines

Airlines in Europe

In recent years there has been an incredible growth within the airline industry in Europe. Europe is home to some of the world's busiest international airports, some of which function as major airlines' traffic hubs and offer intercontinental connections. Major airports include London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt Main. Regional airports have also become more relevant in recent years especially with the rise of budget flight companies.

Passengers flying in Europe have plenty of choice when it comes to selecting an airline. In fact, there are more than 20 airlines carrying more than 7 million people per year, with some of them breaking the 50 million passenger mark and a few approaching or exceeding 100 million passengers each year. Among the largest airline companies are Lufthansa and Ryanair which transport nearly 200 million people every year.

Flights within Europe take relatively little time and run frequently. Budget airlines offering cheap flights, like Ryanair, easyJet and Vueling, have taken the market by storm. Consequently, in many cases it is now cheaper to fly than take a long-distance train journey. Flight comparison sites like GoEuro have also made it a lot easier to find the cheapest options. Some of the most popular flights are between the United Kingdom and Spain with London being the most visited city in Europe.

Major Low-Cost Airlines in Europe


Based out of London's Luton Airport, easyJet, with its distinctive orange color scheme, is both the UK’s largest airline and one of the largest low-cost flight companies in Europe. The airline flies more than 600 routes across 32 countries, carrying more than 60 million passengers each year.

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Ryanair is the biggest low-cost airline in Europe. It flies to around 30 countries in Europe as well as a few intercontinental destinations. Ryanair's main hubs are at Dublin Airport and London Stansted (although they don't operate using the classic hub-and-spoke method employed by most other airlines).

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Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air is the 3rd largest low-cost airline in Europe, carrying over 24 million passengers in 2014. The airline has bases across the entire continent, not just in Scandinavia. Norwegian Air operates almost 200 routes to destinations all over Europe and has recently begun to offer long-haul transatlantic flights.

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Other low-cost airlines in Europe

  • Jet2: Only started operating in 2003, but is now one of the biggest low-cost companies in the UK and thus in Europe.
  • Monarch: Another major UK based low-cost airline, Monarch mainly offers short flights to holiday destinations.
  • Wizz Air: A Hungarian low-cost airline which now serves 97 destinations across 35 countries while carrying more than 15 million passengers each year.
  • flybe: The largest regional airline in Europe. flybe is based out of Birmingham airport and runs many domestic flights as well as some international journeys.
  • Vueling: Spain's second largest airline and subsidiary of Iberia. Vueling's main hub is located at Barcelona El Prat airport and offers service to over 100 destinations across Europe, Africa and Asia.
  • Germanwings: The low-cost subsidiary of Lufthansa.

Major Regular Airlines in Europe

British Airways

British Airways (BA) is the largest airline in the UK in terms of fleet size and international flights, serving over 160 destinations, including six domestic locations in the UK. It is based out of Waterside, near the main hub at London Heathrow Airport. In 2013, the airline transported just under 40 million passengers.

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Lufthansa is Germany's flag carrier airline and the main constituent of the largest airline group in Europe, transporting over 100 million people a year. With its primary traffic hub in Frankfurt, Lufthansa flies to more than 200 destinations in Germany and the rest of the world.

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Iberia is the largest airline in Spain and holds the honour of being the country's flag carrier. The airline is based out of Madrid and forms part of the International Airlines Group together with British Airways. Iberia has been in existence since 1927, and now offers flights to over 100 destinations.

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Other airlines operating in Europe

  • Air Berlin: Air Berlin is the second largest airline in Germany. Its primary bases are Berlin Tegel and Düsseldorf airports.
  • Air France: Together with KLM, Air France forms one of the largest airline groups in Europe- flying to over 200 destinations.
  • Austrian Airlines: Another member of the Lufthansa group based out of Vienna. Austrian Airlines flies to more than 130 destinations worldwide.
  • KLM: The Dutch flag carrier is the oldest airline in the world to still operate under its original name. KLM is part of the same airline group as Air France.