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- Other destinations in the top ten include Malaga, Paris, Mallorca and Alicante
- Heathrow retains its spot as the world's third busiest airport
- Air travel set to fall in 2013 as carriers face tax and competition from rail
By Niamh O'doherty
PUBLISHED: 05:46 EST, 29 December 2012 | UPDATED: 05:51 EST, 29 December 2012
The nation's favourite holiday destinations have been revealed - and if appearances are anything to go by, Britain is a country of revellers.
The UK's most popular destination was friendly
Dublin - home of the 'craic' with almost five million seats scheduled on that route.
Colourful Amsterdam with its renowned cafe culture came second, with four and a half million seats scheduled, while boisterous Edinburgh earned third place, at three million.
Glitzy Dubai and sunny Malaga rounded out the top five destinations.
Three of the busiest airports this year are in London, with Edinburgh and Manchester rounding out the top five
The UK's top five busiest air routes by capacity this year. All of the busiest flights flew out of Heathrow
Although seat capacity has been growing in London since 2009, it has not yet recovered to 2007 levels, where it peaked at 178 million
Sophisticated Paris, Mallorca and Alicante were the next most popular routes, followed by the city that never sleeps New York and Frankfurt.
A total of 47 million passengers flew out of London Heathrow this year, making it the country's busiest airport, according to aviation statistics company OAG.
Gatwick Airport came second, with
almost 20 million passengers, and Manchester was third, with a total of
11 million scheduled seats.
The UK's busiest air routes all flew out of Heathrow. Almost two million seats were scheduled to New York's JFK airport, with Dubai in second place at 1.2 million.
London is the largest airport system
in Europe by seat capacity; it is twice the size of Paris, the next largest European airport
But although seat capacity has been
growing in the capital since 2009, it has not yet recovered to pre-recession 2007 levels,
where it peaked at 178 million.
Dublin and Amsterdam topped the list of most popular destinations, with Edinburgh chasing them in third place
The UK's busiest air routes all flew out of Heathrow. Almost two million seats were scheduled to New York's JFK airport, pictured, with Dubai in second place at 1.2 million
Heathrow accounts for the biggest share of London’s seat capacity at 55 per cent, and although its figures failed to grow in 2012, the resilient airport has recovered from the fall in capacity during the crippling financial crisis.
This year, Heathrow retained its position as the third largest airport in the world, but Gatwick shows signs of growing, as it holds nearly a quarter of all London seat capacity, and reached its highest capacity to date in 2012.
But while UK airports have largely weathered the financial storm, 2013 could be bleak for many airlines, as they face a raft of challenges - from taxation to rail competition.
John Grant, executive vice president of aviation statistics company OAG, said although the UK air transport market remains stable, though there will be a 1 per cent decrease in capacity in 2013.
'There will be 220,000 fewer international seats and 34,000 fewer
domestic seats,' he said.
'Domestically, capacity in January will be the lowest in the last decade and is the result of UK aviation tax, airline consolidation and increasing competition from rail.
Gatwick accounts for nearly a quarter of all London seat capacity, and has reached its highest capacity to date in 2012 with 39.7 million seats
'Overall, 2013 will be about cautious and careful capacity management in the face of uncertain market demand. The whole aviation community in the developed markets is extremely cautious about capacity growth, but the emerging markets are more vibrant.'
'Compared to January 2012, January
2013 will see a 3% increase in global capacity, which equates to about
8.5 million seats, or an extra 24,000 seats per day,' he said.
'The majority of this extra capacity is continuing to go into emerging markets in Asia and Pacific, with much of that growth in the low-cost sector.
Middle East continues to be one of the fastest growing markets in the
world, with carriers such as Etihad, Qatar Airways and Emirates
reaffirming the position of the Middle East as a transit point for
traffic around the world.
'North American capacity will be greater than in recent years. This is thanks to traffic to and from America, but domestically it remains rather soft.
available capacity in Western Europe will be slightly down in January
2013 compared to January 2012. This is partly down to low-cost airlines
trimming back, offering 2.1 million fewer seats,' he said.
Internationally, the airport with the least delays was Phoenix, USA, with just 7% of flights held back for 15 minutes or less
Internationally, the airport with the
least delays this year was Phoenix, USA, with just 7 per cent of flights held back for 15
minutes or less. Phoenix was followed by Las Vegas on 9 per cent and Los
Angeles on 13 per cent.
In Europe, the airport with the least delays was Munich, with just 13% of flights delayed by 15 minutes or less. Amsterdam, with 15%, came in a close second and Barcelona came third.
the US, the best airlines to fly if you don't want to be delayed are
Delta and US Airways. Only 13% of their flights took off late in 2012.
Europe, British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa are tied for first
place in the best performance category, as just 15% of their departures
took off late.
world's busiest airport in 2012 was Atlanta in the US, where more than
55 million passengers passed through the airport gates. Beijing's main
airport came in second, and Heathrow was third with 47 million