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Monday, 8 May, 2000, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Flying still the safest form of travel
Heathrow - world's busiest international airport
There are more flights and more passengers travelling into and out of the UK than ever before.

The overall number of planes taking off and landing last year grew by five per cent - to 1.96 million.

Despite the increase, air travel remains one of the safest forms of travel - especially if you're on a UK airline.
Stansted: Big increase in passengers

Passenger statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority show that last year the six main airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Stansted and Glasgow - handled more passengers than the year before.

Stansted showed a 37.7% increase in overall passenger numbers to almost nine and a half million people. Within that, there was a 42% increase in international passengers

One death for every 12.5 million passengers on UK airlines

Civil Aviation Authority

According to the British Airport Authority, Heathrow remains the world's busiest airport for international passengers and is also the world's second busiest cargo port.

On average 82 planes an hour take off and land there and more than 60 million passengers used the airport in 1998/99.

Arrivals and departures at Heathrow have to be co-ordinated not just at the airport itself but also with planes arriving and leaving other airports such as Gatwick, Stansted and London City. It makes the skies above some of the busiest in the world.

Aircraft stack

Heathrow alone can use more than one stacking system for incoming planes and a stack can hold an average of six aircraft.


In 1998 - the latest complete figures available - nearly 90 million passengers were carried by UK airlines and it's expected the number will increase by about five per cent a year over the next five years.

However, UK airline operations are among the safest anywhere. When compared against all other modes of transport on a fatality per mile basis air transport is the safest - six times safer than travelling by car and twice as safe as rail.
Safety first at Heathrow

The CAA says that between 1989-1998, European airlines achieved a lower accident rate than their United States counterparts.

In that period, UK airlines carried about 700 million passengers. Three planes were involved in fatal accidents with a combined loss of life of 56 passengers.


That translates as a one in 12.5 million chance of being killed on a UK airline - compared to a one in 10 million chance of being struck and killed by lightning in the UK.

And it might not feel like it but even the delays to charter flights are getting shorter.- at least at the six main UK airports.

In 1998 the average delay was 36 minutes - in 1999 that had fallen by around 90 seconds. Delays to scheduled services remained the same at 13 minutes.

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