Spain tops destination list for 2014 as UK air passenger numbers reach 238m

Spain tops destination list for 2014 as UK air passenger numbers reach 238m

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Spain was the top country visited by UK airline passengers last year as the total number using British airports rose by 4.4% or 10 million over 2013.

The overall figure of 238 million demonstrated increasing demand for air travel from across the UK, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The growth continues a recovery started in 2011 following three years of falling passenger numbers. The figures are now just short of the 241 million peak reached in 2007.

CAA director of regulatory policy, Iain Osborne, said: “Our latest figures show that while passenger demand is increasing across the UK, flight numbers are growing much faster at London airports than elsewhere.

“This situation highlights both the pressures on airspace in the southeast and the need for more runway capacity in London.

“With demand for air travel continuing to grow during 2015 these two issues must be tackled so consumers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of the UK’s strong aviation industry.

“But industry also needs to play its part by addressing environmental impacts, including reducing aircraft noise and carbon emissions.”

Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, accounted for more than 34 million passengers.

The US was the second most popular destination (17 million), followed by Germany (12 million), Italy (11.9 million), France (10.6 million) and Ireland (10.4 million).

The rest of the top 20 was Holland (10.6 million), UAE (6.2 million), Portugal (6.1 million), Switzerland (6 million), Turkey (5.7 million), Greece (5.6 million), Poland (5.2 million), Canada (3.1 million), Denmark (2.9 million), Norway (2.7 million), India (2.7 million), Sweden (2.6 million), Cyprus (2.2 million) and Egypt (1.9 million).

Australia saw the largest decline in passengers, down by a third from 744,000 in 2013 to 488,000 last year.

All London area airports recorded a rise in passengers while Liverpool, Leeds/Bradford, Cardiff and Prestwick all suffered declines.

More than half (57%) or 124 million of scheduled passengers at UK airports travelled on UK airlines, 28% or 61 million flew on other EU airlines, and 15% or 35 million on non-EU airlines.

Scheduled passengers carried by UK airlines to and from the UK grew by 5.1% or 6 million, Other EU airlines carried 6.5% or 3.7 million more scheduled passengers while non-EU airlines’ scheduled passengers increased by 4.2% or 1.4 million.

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