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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
North West: Cheap flights
Lucy Breakwell
The Politics Show North West

As the days get longer and the sun begins to shine thoughts are turning to holidays. For the region's three airports April sees the start of the main holiday season.

According to a study by Mintel overseas travel is growing at a rate of between 5% and 6% every year and we Brits are forecast to take 101m foreign trips by 2020.

And it is all down to one thing - cheap flights.

Twenty years ago you would never have dreamed that you could to fly to Tenerife, Prague or Oslo and still have change from 50.

And you can fly to almost anywhere in Europe from the North West - by the end of next week there will be around 120 low cost routes operating from Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool airports.

The Politics Show in the North West started off with a budget of a 150 to see how far three members of the team could get.

We report from Latvia and the Balearic Islands finding out how cheap flights have changed people's lives.

In Riga, thousands of young workers are leaving their home country to come and work in the UK.

We meet some of those workers, speaking to a recruitment agency in Latvia and also finding out why Riga has become a fashionable weekend destination for thousands of party-goers from the North West.

And in Majorca we will be meeting up with the ex-pat community from the North West who have made their home in resorts such as Palma Nova and Magaluf and who thanks to cheap flights can easily commute between Spain and Britain.

FLY ME
UK air passengers set to rise from 180m to 475m by 2030
Target is to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050
Under current rules, aviation and shipping are not part of a country's CO2 output

But cheap flights come at a price.

The government is aiming to cut carbon emissions in the UK by 60% but that figure doesn't include aviation which accounts for 15% of Britain's carbon.

According to a Friends of the Earth study, the world's 16,000 passenger planes generate 600m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, making air travel the biggest single contributor to greenhouse gases.

At the moment airlines don't pay duty or VAT on aviation fuel and environmental groups are calling for an increase in Air Passenger Duty.

Join Jim Hancock live from the departure lounge at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Jim talks to the operations director of Europe's largest low cost carrier, Ryanair; and Jeff Gazzard from the Green Skies Alliance.

He asks the question how do you offset the environmental impact of aviation with the benefits cheap flights bring.

The Politics Show

Join Jim Hancock and Gill Dummigan on the Politics Show on Sunday 23 April 2006 at 13.50pm on BBC One.

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