TravelThe largest air bridges in Europe and Latin America

The largest air bridges in Europe and Latin America


Originally, the term “airlift” is a military operation in which an area located in a hostile or threatened territory is taken and secured. In the field of commercial aviation, a regular line between two points that has a high frequency of flights is known as an “air bridge”.

The following map shows which are the 10 largest connections between airports in Europe, which, to a certain extent, we could consider air bridges. For the realization of the map, by Eurostat, the data of departures declared in each of the two airports concerned have been taken into account.

Paris-Toulouse, the most frequented

Thus, it can be seen how the “air bridge” with the most traffic in Europe is the one that connects Paris with Toulouse, with 2.35 million passengers a year. The route is very popular because, unlike other connections in France, Toulouse and Paris are not well linked by the high-speed rail network.

This situation undoubtedly makes the plane the chosen form of transport to unite the French capital with the fourth most populous city in the country and one of the main headquarters of the European Airbus aircraft manufacturing consortium.

Madrid-Barcelona: an airlift run down

Another of the air bridges par excellence is the one that joins the two main Spanish cities, Madrid and Barcelona. A connection that has been diminished by competition from the AVE, which came into operation in 2008.

The high-speed connection has cut a 620-kilometre journey (those linking Madrid’s Atocha station with Barcelona’s Sants station) to just over 2.30 hours.

All in all, the air bridge between these two cities in 2016 added 2.32 million passengers. In 2006 it became the busiest regular airline line in the world.

Last June 2018, the Ave Barcelona-Madrid reached the highest monthly passenger count in its entire history, 414,236 in the point-to-point relationship between both cities.

In a matter of 10 years, Renfe has increased the number of passengers notably until 2018, when they exceed the figure of 400,000 per month, which would place the rail connection between Madrid and Barcelona at close to 5 million the number of annual passengers.

The other European air bridges

In third place is the route that connects Paris and the Côte d’Azur, specifically the Nice airport. Here the same situation is repeated as in Toulouse.

Faced with a poor rail connection, the plane is the way to shorten the distance between these two French cities. Nice is in fact one of the favorite holiday destinations in France, both for nationals and foreigners.

The fourth place is occupied by the connection between Rome and Catania, with just over two million passengers. The fifth and sixth places in the busiest connections in Europe are made up of two German connections.

In the first place, the one that connects Munich with Berlin. Approximately 2 million people travel this route every year. It is practically the same number as the number of passengers using the Frankfurt-Berlin connection .

The seventh position for the busiest routes in Europe is for the connection that unites Athens with Thessaloniki, the second city of the country. The route between the two cities, which by road can take about 6 hours (500 km), has 1.86 million passengers a year.

The eighth position of the busiest flights from one airport to another is for the route between Hamburg and Munich . The ninth is for the connection between Barcelona and Palma while the tenth is for the connection between London Heathrow airport and Dublin.

The most important connections between cities

However, if we take into account the connection between cities, not between airports, the busiest route in Europe would be precisely the one between London and Dublin.

If all the flights departing from London’s five airports to Dublin are taken into account, the figure is 4.77 million flights.

The next connection between urban centers is the one between London and Amsterdam, which also has more than 4 million flights a year. Already in third place at the European level, the third busiest connection between cities in Europe would be the union between London and Edinburgh.

Air bridges in Latin America

Other examples of Air Shuttle in commercial aviation in the world correspond to the routes that join Rio de Janeiro with Sao Paulo, Bogota with Medellin or, to a lesser extent, Buenos Aires with Montevideo.

Thus, in Latin America, the largest air bridge is the one that connects the Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo with the Santos Dumont airport in Rio de Janeiro.

The connection was inaugurated in 1959, which makes it the first air bridge in the world. It currently operates more than 120 daily flights. They leave every 10 minutes between 6 in the morning and 10 at night.

In the case of Colombia, Bogota has a terminal that receives the name Terminal Puente Aereo. This is Terminal 2 (T2) of the El Dorado International Airport.

The route with the most passengers is the one that connects the El Dorado Airport, in Bogota, with the Jose Maria Cordova Airport, in Medellin, with 3.64 million passengers in 2017. To these are added the slightly more than 126,000 between the El Dorado Airport and the Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport, also in Medellin.

Thus, the Bogota-Medellin route has a total of 3,763,291, making it the one with the most users in Colombia.

It is an exclusive terminal of the Avianca airline for its domestic flights. The terminal uses the entire operations system of El Dorado International Airport. Thus, both air terminals have an annex operation.

For its part, the route that connects Buenos Aires with Montevideo has seen its traffic reduce in recent years. In 2010, it moved 500,000 passengers a year, although that figure has been reduced by half. In fact, in 2015, the route lost 22% of its passengers.

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