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Around the UK by Plane

The hubs for domestic air travel in the UK are London, Manchester and Birmingham in England, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland and Belfast in Northern Ireland. There are plenty of budget airlines but flying may not necessarily be the cheapest or most convenient way to travel around the UK. Factors to consider include distance from the airport, ground transport, airport security and the inconvenience of delayed flights.

Flying is practical only if flying long distances such as between southern England and Scotland, between the UK mainland and Northern Ireland and to the islands off the coast. For shorter distances, trains are more convenient and often cheaper than flying especially if you consider the UK’s extensive railway network. Taking the coach (long distance express bus) is usually the cheapest of the options but slower than travelling by train and especially by plane.

Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Islands by Mike Pennington

Airports Serving London

London is the main gateway for international flights into the UK with six airports serving the city. It’s also a hub for domestic flights connecting London with the northern regions of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as the islands of the Crown Dependencies including the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. The following are the airports and their connections in the UK:

London Stansted Airport by Albion

Other Airports in England

There are other major airports (beyond London) located across England handling domestic flights. The following are the airports and their connections in the UK:

  • Manchester Airport (North England) - Aberdeen, Belfast, Cornwall, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, London, Norwich, Southampton and Stornoway
  • Newcastle International Airport (North East England) - Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Jersey (seasonal), Newquay (seasonal) and Southampton
  • Liverpool John Lennon Airport (North West England) - Belfast, Londonderry (Derry), Isle of Man and Jersey
  • Birmingham Airport (West Midlands) - Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newquay
  • East Midlands Airport (East Midlands) - Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Guernsey
  • Leeds Bradford Airport (West Yorkshire) - Aberdeen, Belfast, Guernsey, Jersey, London, Newquay and Southampton
  • Norwich Airport (East Anglia) - Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Durham Tees Valley, Manchester
  • Southampton Airport (South East England) - Aberdeen, Alderney, Belfast, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Leicestershire, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Bristol Airport (South West England) - Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newcastle
  • Exeter Airport (South West England) - Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, London, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich and Southampton
  • Cornwall Airport Newquay (South West England) - Leeds/Bradford, London, Manchester and St Mary’s
Manchester Airport by MKY661

Airports in Scotland

Edinburgh Airport and Glasgow Airport are the busiest and second busiest airports in Scotland respectively. Scotland is a small country and the only internal flights are those to the archipelagos (Orkney Islands, Outer Hebrides and Shetland Islands) off Scotland. Each archipelago has a main airport on the main island, which also handles flights to minor airports to the nearby islands. The following are the main airports in Scotland and their connections in the UK:

  • Edinburgh Airport (South East Scotland) - Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Isle of Man, Knock, London, Manchester, Kirkwall, Norwich, Southampton, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick
  • Glasgow Airport (South West Scotland) - Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, London, Manchester, Southampton, Isle of Man and Jersey
  • Aberdeen Airport (North West Scotland) - Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Durham Tees Valley, Humberside, Leeds/Bradford, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Stornoway and Wick
  • Inverness Airport (Scottish Highlands) - Belfast, Benbecula, Birmingham, Bristol, Kirkwall, London, Manchester, Stornoway and Sumburgh
  • Kirkwall Airport (Orkney Islands) - Aberdeen, Eday, Edinburgh, Fair Isle, Glasgow, Inverness, North Ronaldsay, Papa Westray, Sumburgh, Sanday, Stronsay and Westray
  • Stornoway Airport (Outer Hebrides) - Aberdeen, Glasgow, Benbecula, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Manchester
  • Sumburgh Airport (Shetland Islands) - Aberdeen, Benbecula, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness in Scotland and Manchester

Aberdeen Airport by T. Thielemans

Airports in Wales

Practically the only airport in Wales is Cardiff Airport located about 19 km (12 miles) from the Welsh capital of Cardiff in South Wales. The airport serves the mid, western and southern regions of Wales. Connections on the domestic routes include Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey and Newcastle. The air travel market in North Wales is small and handled by Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham Airportsin England. Another is Anglesey Airport but a small airport on Isle of Anglesey (northwestern corner of Wales) handling twice-daily flights to Cardiff from Monday to Friday except public holidays.

Cardiff Airport terminal by Blofeld of SPECTRE

Airports in Northern Ireland

Belfast International Airport is the main airport in Northern Ireland and about 21 km (13 miles) from Belfast. Another is the smaller Belfast City Airport about 5 km (3 miles) from the city. Both airports handle connections to several locations across the UK mainland including Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Check-in at Belfast International by Ardfern

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