Staff Reporter
Palma
PALMA airport was the twelfth busiest in Europe last year, with 22.3 million passengers entering Majorca through its gates, according to a report by Eurostat issued yesterday. That figure was a 5.6% increase from 2005, and this year's figures have already surpassed what was a very successful twelve months for the airport in 2006.

Palma airport was also at one end of some of the busiest and most popular connections in Europe, with the Barcelona-Palma and Madrid-Palma routes each transporting 1.7 million passengers to and from those airports. The busiest connection, however, was between Madrid and Barcelona which saw 4.4 million people travel between the popular Spanish cities.

London Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe in 2006, with 67.3 million passengers using its terminals on their travels. Meanwhile, a total of 35 million people travelled between Spain and the United Kingdom, by far the busiest flow of passengers between two countries in Europe. 21.4 million passengers also flew between Germany and Spain.

The United Kingdom also had the most amount of flyers pass through its terminals last year, with 211 million people using air travel to either enter or depart from Britain. Spain had the third largest number of air travellers (151 million ) after Germany in second (154 million).

In total, 740 million people travelled by air to or from destinations in the European Union last year, a 5% increase from 2005. Of those, 23% flew on national flights, 44% flew between EU countries, and 34% travelled into or out of Europe.

The largest increase in the number of passengers travelling by air in individual countries was experienced in Romania, where 35% more people flew from or into the country in 2006 than the year before. Slovakia also saw a 34% increase, Latvia a 33% increase and Poland a 31% increase. The growth in the number of passengers flying from Eastern Europe is expected to continue rising for several years.

In terms of transporting travellers out of EU territory, eight out of the ten busiest routes worldwide had London Heathrow at one end. 53% of connections between Europe and countries elsewhere were with North America, although the largest increase was in flights to India, which saw a 21.5% rise in frequency.

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