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Discover the 10 most passenger-friendly airports in Europe in 2023

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8 min read

Discover the 10 most passenger-friendly airports in Europe in 2023

As the summer season draws to a close, countless travelers are returning from their well-deserved vacations. However, for those making their way back, the prospect of long lines and the usual travel stresses might dampen the excitement. The challenges faced by many airports during peak travel seasons often trickle down to impact the everyday traveler. To shed light on this and help fellow travelers make informed choices, a comprehensive analysis was conducted on Europe’s 30 largest airports, focusing on the passenger experience.

Are you ready for a journey through Europe’s airports like never before? A recent research paper titled “European Consumer Airport Index 2023” has delved into the heart of what makes an airport truly passenger-friendly. This comprehensive study by Emil Panzaru and Amjad Aun, shines a light on the top airports that provide travelers with an exceptional experience while navigating the skies. So, let’s take a closer look at the intriguing findings that this report brings to the table.

Setting the Stage

The report kicks off by highlighting the dynamic landscape of European travel in the current year. It’s a tale of triumphs and challenges as airports and travelers both navigate the new normal. The top-performing airports remain consistent: Zurich, Brussels, and Frankfurt continue to lead the pack. Additionally, there’s a glimmer of hope as consumer confidence in air travel rebounds after the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, passenger traffic has surged by a remarkable 21.1% in comparison to the previous year. However, with increased footfall comes the challenge of maintaining high-quality services, as exemplified by shifts in rankings like Dusseldorf’s drop from second place to the 16th spot.


  1. Zurich (205)
  2. Brussels (197.5)
  3. Frankfurt (190)
  4. Copenhagen (185)
  5. Milan-Malpensa (182.5)
  6. Oslo (182.5)
  7. Charles De Gaulle Airport (180)
  8. Helsinki (180)
  9. Manchester (174.5)
  10. Vienna International Airport (171.5)
  11. Rome Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport (171)
  12. Lisbon (170)
  13. Amsterdam Schiphol (167.5)
  14. Munich (166)
  15. Stockholm Arlanda (164.5)
  16. Düsseldorf (162.5)
  17. Dublin (162)
  18. Athens (160)
  19. Málaga Airport (160)
  20. Warsaw Chopin Airport (157.5)

Unveiling the Methodology

Now, let’s peel back the layers of this research. The European Consumer Airport Index is a tool that ranks the thirty largest airports in Europe based on passenger volume. The goal? To assist travelers in making informed decisions when selecting their travel hubs. The evaluation is multifaceted, encompassing aspects like location, transportation options, service availability (think eateries, lounges, and shops), security wait times, and the frequency of flight delays. Armed with this comprehensive data, travelers can make their choices confidently.

This isn’t just a one-time affair, though. The report is the third annual edition of the Index, building on previous research. It compiles data from airport sources, annual reports, online statistics, and independent research. The passenger volumes under scrutiny reflect the years 2021 and 2022. To reflect the evolving landscape, the “Covid testing” category was removed from the analysis, and the freshest waiting time data was incorporated.

Insights from the Research

Let’s dive into the heart of the findings. Small airports have a big presence in the top rankings. Eight out of the top ten airports, such as Zurich and Brussels, cater to a more manageable number of passengers, ranging from 6.1 to 22.6 million in 2022. Yet, there’s an interesting twist with the exceptions of Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle. Despite their larger passenger volumes (48.8 million and 57.47 million respectively), they shine due to their extensive connectivity and diverse services.

A notable observation is the decline in scores compared to earlier indices, even with more bonus points awarded. The reason? The surge in passenger numbers, with almost all airports witnessing a doubling of counts between 2021 and 2022. This influx affected scores related to passengers per lounges and passengers per shops and restaurants. Flight delays are another factor in the spotlight, with a significant increase in flights delayed by over 30 minutes, impacting anywhere from 25% to 58% of all flights.

Implications for Travelers

So, why should you care about all this data? Choosing one of the top five airports for your travels comes with a slew of benefits. Think diverse flight options, a wider range of destinations and airlines, hassle-free airport access, a variety of dining, lounging, and shopping choices, and reduced delays and security checks.

A key takeaway is that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to airports. This research indicates that airports that strike a balance between size and efficient infrastructure offer a more enjoyable experience. It’s also important to recognize that the challenges faced by airports in terms of services are part of a larger trend. Post-Covid recovery poses unique challenges as airports adapt to the surge in passenger numbers.

Embark on Informed Journeys

As a reader, this research paper sheds light on the fascinating world of airport rankings and their implications for travelers. It’s a reminder that not all airports are created equal, and careful consideration goes into choosing the best travel hub for your journey. Armed with this information, you can navigate the skies with confidence, seeking out the airports that provide the optimal mix of convenience, amenities, and punctuality. Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time flyer, the insights from this research can undoubtedly enhance your travel experiences in Europe and beyond.