Rise in UK airport passengers
21 April 2015 09:21
The UAE has seen the largest rise in UK air passengers
The number of UK airport passengers has nearly returned to its pre-recession peak, according to new figures.
Last year's number fell just three million short of the 2007 record of 241 million.
The latest Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures show that the 238 million travellers flying out of and into domestic airports in 2014 was 4.4% up on the 2013 level.
Wherever you travel, taking out trusted travel insurance should be as essential as packing your passport and plane tickets for peace of mind. Cover can include medical costs.
Spain topped the popularity charts for the 25th successive year.
It saw 34.3 million passengers arrive from or depart to the UK in 2014, a figure 4.7% up on the previous year.
Most UK traffic went in and out of Europe - with 144 million passengers representing a 5.4% rise on the 2013 numbers.
North America also enjoyed a passenger increase of 2.3%, taking the total to 21 million.
The United Arab Emirates saw the biggest rise in passenger traffic, with its 6.2 million flight numbers representing a 7.4% jump on 2013.
Australia suffered the sharpest fall, with passengers down by 34.4% to 488,000, from 744,000 the year before.
Internal flights experienced a modest rise of 2.4% to 21 million.
But numbers would still have to pick up by nearly a fifth (19%) to match the 2005 high (25 million passengers).
Air transport activity - which comprises commercial aircraft take-offs and landings - rose 1.1% from 2013 to 2014, totalling 2.1 million.
This was primarily due to the success of London-based airports.
In a few weeks' time, the Airports Commission is due to announce its recommendations concerning whether Gatwick or Heathrow should get another runway.
The commission is an independent, Government-established body tasked with analysing if the UK needs to extend its airport capacity.
It is also charged with reporting back to Whitehall with how any growth can be achieved whether in the long, short or medium term.