The biggest airports in Italy in terms of size and number of passengers

In Italy, according to Assaeroporti‘s updated figures, there is a total of 46 airports open to commercial traffic, thus including airliners, charters and air taxis. Taking into account also the non-commercial facilities, as well as those not on the ENAC lists, the total number almost triples. The important figures, as far as passenger traffic is concerned, however, can only concern the biggest Italian airports, meaning those that attract large flows of national and international travellers.

In this regard, it is worth noting that in 2023 a record was set for the total number of passengers hosted by Italian airports: last year, indeed, Italian airports received as many as 197.2 million people, registering an increase of 2.1% compared to the previous record, dating back to 2019. As specified by Assaeroporti, the record was also achieved thanks to the full recovery of the international segment, which alone attracted 128 million passengers. But which airports were the most used by these huge masses of people? To answer this question, let us find out which are the biggest airports in Italy.

The biggest Italian airports: the ranking

In this ranking, we will list the top 10 busiest Italian airports based on the figures registered in 2023. For each of them, we will then also analyse some data concerning the size of the airport.

1 – Rome Fiumicino

Rome Fiumicino Airport is the biggest airport in Italy, totalling no less than 40.5 million passengers in 2023. As will become clear as we continue our ranking of Italy’s busiest airports, the gap between Rome’s airport and other Italian airports is considerable. Rome-Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci” International Airport is an intercontinental airport located 30 kilometres south-west of Rome, which has two terminals and three runways, respectively 3,310 metres, 3,900 metres and again 3,900 metres long. Inaugurated in 1961 (after the discovery of five ancient Roman ships during excavations), it has been expanded several times over the years: in 2022, for instance, the new boarding area A in Terminal 1 was inaugurated, adding 23 new gates to the airport.

2 – Milan Malpensa

The second biggest Italian airport by number of passengers is Milan-Malpensa Airport, located in the municipalities of Somma Lombardo, Ferno and Lonate Pozzolo, in the province of Varese. If Fiumicino is Italy’s biggest airport in terms of passenger traffic, it is worth pointing out that Malpensa, on the other hand, is the national leader in terms of cargo traffic, processing 65% of the air cargo transported in Italy with 665,655 tonnes. Malpensa airport has 2 terminals and 2 runways, both 3,920 metres long.

3 – Bergamo-Orio al Serio

Rounding out the podium of Italy’s biggest airports by number of passengers is Bergamo-Orio al Serio airport. Staying in Lombardy for the third place, the airport received 16 million passengers in 2023. Il Caravaggio International Airport – such is the airport’s official name – is located 5 kilometres from the centre of Bergamo and 50 kilometres from the centre of Milan, and is mainly used by low-cost airlines. Built in 1937 for military purposes, it became a civil airport in the 1970s. This airport too has two runways, but much shorter in length than the examples already seen: indeed, there is a runway measuring 2,940 metres and a second runway that is 750 metres long.

4 – Naples-Capodichino

Among Italy’s international airports, the fourth biggest one is Naples Airport, with 12.4 million passengers in 2023. Naples-Capodichino airport is located north of the Parthenopean city (about 4 kilometres away) and is the most important airport in the South of Italy. The history of this airport began in 1910, since the first exhibitions of military aircraft began here; the civil air terminal was inaugurated in 1919. Naples airport has a single runway, with a total length of 2,628 metres, and a single terminal, which has recently been expanded to cater for the growing number of passengers.

5 – Venice-Marco Polo

The fifth biggest airport is Venice Airport, with 11.3 million passengers. Marco Polo Airport is the lagoon city’s international airport, 13 kilometres north of it. Inaugurated in 1961, it replaced the Venice-Lido airport. It currently has two runways, 2,890 metres and 3,300 metres long respectively.

6 – Catania-Fontanarossa

The sixth place is occupied by the first island airport for passenger traffic in Italy, Catania  Airport, with 10.7 million passengers per year. Officially named Aeroporto di Catania-Fontanarossa, it was built in 1924 and expanded several times; the last major works were completed in 2006. Interestingly, the Catania-Rome route is the busiest at a national level, with around 150 weekly flights. Another peculiarity of the airport is that it is strongly affected by volcanic ash in the occasional eruptions of the neighbouring Etna: for this reason, the airport has a special radar to monitor the approaching volcanic ash clouds. Catania airport has one runway, 2,560 metres long.

7 – Bologna-Guglielmo Marconi

The seventh biggest one among the airports in Italy is located in Emilia-Romagna. The Guglielmo Marconi Airport, 8 kilometres from the centre of Bologna, was inaugurated in 1933, albeit in a location that was further away from the centre than it is today. In 2023 it hosted 10 million passengers; the airport has a runway that is 2,800 metres long.

8 – Milan Linate

Il The third one among the airports of Milan system in 2023 received a total of 9.4 million passengers; located between the municipality of Segrate and that of Milan, it has a terminal and two runways, only one of which, 2,442 metres long, is dedicated to commercial traffic.

9 – Palermo-Punta Raisi

We return to Sicily for the ninth place in the ranking of Italy’s biggest airports. Palermo-Punta RaisisFalcone e Borsellino International Airport hosted 8.1 million passengers in 2023, with its two runways measuring 3,326 metres and 2,068 metres.

10 – Bari-Palese

At the bottom of the list of Italy’s 10 busiest airports, the is the Bari-Karol Wojtyla International Airport, or Bari-Palese – named after the neighbouring district – totalling 6.5 million passengers.  Located 9 kilometres from the city centre and inaugurated in 1934, this southern airport has a 3,000-metre runway.