Home » Busiest day for UK flights since 2019, with two taking off every minute

Busiest day for UK flights since 2019, with two taking off every minute

UK flight departures have hit their highest level since October 2019, with flights taking off at an average of more than two per hour around the clock.

According to the aviation analytics firm Cirium, over 3,150 departures are expected on Friday 24 May.

Friday is normally a very busy day at UK airports, especially on the eve of a bank holiday weekend. In addition, schools are breaking up at the start of a week’s half term.

In the four days up to bank holiday Monday, 11,959 flights will depart from UK airports, with a total of more than 2.1 million seats. The figures are 5 per cent higher than the corresponding weekend last year.

Some airports will handle their highest number of passengers ever for a late May bank holiday.

Birmingham airport reports a 15 per cent increase in passengers over the same spell in 2023, with 221,500 travelling out of the airport from Friday 24 May until Sunday 2 June – almost 25,999 per day.

On X, passenger Chloë Pardoe wrote: “Absolute carnage trying to get through security at Birmingham airport, Queues out of the airport door after an hour queue for bag drop. Shocking considering half term is kicking off.”

The airport is urging passengers to turn up at the earliest time the airline recommends.

Manchester airport is expecting 100,000 travellers per day through the holidays – up 5 per cent on a year earlier.

London Stansted will handle slightly fewer passengers, with 375,000 anticipated between Friday and Monday.

Gatwick airport has not revealed expected numbers, but says its top three destinations are Barcelona, Malaga and Faro, with the leading long-haul destinations being Dubai, New York and Orlando.

Top 5 UK airports for flights and passenger numbers






Top 5 destinations from UK airports






Top 5 airlines flying UK airports


British Airways