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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 15:19 GMT
Air traffic numbers 'record high'
Plane taking off and airport sign
The popularity of low-cost airlines has boosted flight numbers
A new record of more than 2 million aircraft flights were handled in 2006, the firm which runs the UK's air traffic control services has revealed.

The growth in low-cost airlines and flights to and from Ireland contributed to the 2.39m total, National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said.

Its centres have exceeded past records, with Swanwick in Hampshire handling 1.94m flights - up 4.5% on 2005.

The number of transatlantic flights that flew over the UK rose by 5.4%.

Meanwhile, there was a 2.8% increase in the number of transatlantic arrivals and departures handled by Nats.

Non-transatlantic over-flights grew by 16.2%, with flights between Ireland and Italy, Germany, France and Spain showing the largest rises.

The domestic market showed a 1.2% increase last year.

Traffic at the 15 airports where Nats provides control services grew by 2.4% in 2006.

The company said "strongest demand" was seen at Farnborough in Hampshire, where the biennial international air show was held last summer, and where traffic grew 22.5%.

London City Airport saw an increase of 12.5%, while traffic at Bristol was up 10.1%.


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