UK travellers traditionally love to spend their summer holidays somewhere warm, welcoming and nearby, and it seems that Spain has really hit the spot last year, proving the most popular destination for Brits according to new figures, which put visitors from the UK to Spain and the Balearic Islands at more than 34 million in 2014.
The second most popular destination was the US, with 17 million passengers, then Germany with 12 million, Italy with 11.9 million, and then France at 10.6 million.
Australia lost out last year, with a huge decline in passengers of a third from 744,000 in 2013 to 488,000 in 2014.
Overall there was a rise in use of UK airports of 4.4% (10 million) last year. This shows a continued rise in figures since 2011, following a drop in passenger numbers which began in 2008. It brings air travel nearly back to the peak figures of 241 million it enjoyed in 2007.
More of the travel was via London, as each London airport enjoyed a rise in figures compared with Liverpool, Cardiff, Leeds/Bradford, and Prestwick, who saw figures go down.
The report was produced by the Civil Aviation Authority. Iain Osborne, its director of regulatory policy, commented: “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.”