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Heathrow Airport vs. Gatwick Airport — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Published on February 9, 2024
Heathrow Airport, located in London, is the largest in the UK and a major international hub, while Gatwick Airport, also near London, is the second-largest, known for its single-runway operation efficiency.
Heathrow Airport vs. Gatwick Airport — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport


Key Differences

Heathrow Airport serves as a major hub for international flights and is the busiest airport in the UK. It offers extensive flight connections and premium facilities. Gatwick Airport, while smaller, is renowned for its efficiency and also provides a wide range of international flights. Both airports are key gateways to London and the UK.
With four operational terminals, Heathrow Airport caters to a high volume of passengers and numerous airlines. It's a primary operating base for the UK's flag carrier, British Airways. Gatwick Airport, although having two terminals, prides itself on being the world's busiest single-runway airport, offering significant flight operations with a focus on cost-effectiveness and convenience.
Heathrow Airport is known for its extensive shopping and dining options, reflecting its status as a major international airport. Gatwick Airport, while smaller, provides a comfortable and efficient passenger experience with a variety of services and amenities tailored to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers.
Located 14 miles west of Central London, Heathrow Airport is accessible via various transport options, including the Heathrow Express train service. Gatwick Airport, situated 30 miles south of Central London, offers convenient connections to the city through the Gatwick Express train service. Both airports are integral to the UK's transportation infrastructure, each serving distinct passenger needs and preferences.
Heathrow Airport's vast global network makes it a key node in international air travel, often serving as a transit point for long-haul flights. In contrast, Gatwick Airport, while also international in scope, is recognized for its extensive European flight network and as a major base for several low-cost carriers.

Comparison Chart


14 miles west of Central London
30 miles south of Central London

Size & Capacity

UK's largest airport, 4 terminals
UK's second-largest airport, 2 terminals


2 runways
1 runway (world's busiest single-runway airport)

Main Airlines

Base for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic
Base for British Airways, EasyJet, and others

Transport Connections

Heathrow Express, Tube, buses
Gatwick Express, trains, buses

Compare with Definitions

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is connected to London via various transport options including the Heathrow Express.
They took the Heathrow Express to reach Heathrow Airport in time for their flight.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport is the second-largest airport in the UK, known for its efficient single-runway operation.
Her flight from Gatwick Airport departed on time, thanks to its renowned operational efficiency.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is the largest international airport in the UK.
His flight landed at Heathrow Airport, marking the start of his London adventure.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick serves as a major base for several low-cost carriers and offers extensive European connections.
They found a budget-friendly flight to Spain from Gatwick Airport.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow serves as a major hub for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
She checked in at Heathrow Airport for her British Airways flight to New York.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is accessible via the Gatwick Express, providing fast access to Central London.
She took the Gatwick Express from Central London to reach Gatwick Airport efficiently.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is known for its extensive range of facilities and services.
At Heathrow Airport, he enjoyed shopping at high-end boutiques before his flight.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick offers a range of passenger amenities and services despite its smaller size.
He was impressed by the dining options available at Gatwick Airport while waiting for his flight.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow operates with four terminals and two runways.
After arriving at Terminal 5, he navigated through the busy corridors of Heathrow Airport.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick operates with two terminals and focuses on providing a convenient travel experience.
After landing at the North Terminal, they experienced the streamlined services of Gatwick Airport.

Common Curiosities

How many terminals does Heathrow Airport have?

Heathrow Airport has four passenger terminals: Terminals 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Is Heathrow Airport the busiest airport in the UK?

Yes, Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and one of the busiest in the world.

What is Heathrow Airport?

Heathrow Airport is a major international airport located in London, United Kingdom.

How far is Heathrow Airport from central London?

Heathrow is approximately 14 miles (23 kilometers) west of central London.

Does Heathrow Airport have good transportation links to the city?

Yes, it has various transportation options, including the Heathrow Express train, London Underground, and buses.

Which airlines operate from Gatwick Airport?

Gatwick serves numerous airlines, including easyJet, British Airways, and Norwegian Air, among others.

Which airlines operate from Heathrow Airport?

Numerous airlines, both domestic and international, operate from Heathrow, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and many others.

How many terminals does Gatwick Airport have?

Gatwick Airport has two passenger terminals: North Terminal and South Terminal.

Are there hotels at Heathrow Airport?

Yes, there are several hotels located within or near the airport for travelers' convenience.

Can I shop and dine at Heathrow Airport?

Yes, Heathrow offers a wide range of shops, restaurants, and duty-free stores for travelers.

Is there free Wi-Fi available at Heathrow Airport?

Yes, Heathrow provides free Wi-Fi access for passengers.

Is Gatwick Airport the second busiest airport in the UK?

Yes, Gatwick Airport is the second busiest airport in the United Kingdom, after Heathrow.

What is Gatwick Airport?

Gatwick Airport is a major international airport located near Crawley in West Sussex, England.

Is there a car rental service at Heathrow Airport?

Yes, numerous car rental companies operate at Heathrow, providing rental services to travelers.

How far is Gatwick Airport from central London?

Gatwick is approximately 29 miles (47 kilometers) south of central London.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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