The number of people booking flights from UK airports to visit friends or relatives increased by more than three-quarters between 2000 and 2007, figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have revealed.
By comparison, the number of trips in general over the same period rose by just a third.
According to the CAA’s figures, almost one in three passengers booking flights to or from the UK’s main international airports in 2007 were visiting friends or family.
It was also revealed that, since 2002, the growth of this particular sector outstripped international holiday traffic.
Dr Harry Bush, CAA Group director of economic regulation, said that more people were likely to have friends and relatives overseas, while more people from abroad have chosen to base themselves in the UK.
"Air travel has played a key role in enabling this development, principally through deregulation of aviation and the subsequent emergence of low-cost air travel with more point-to-point routings," he said.
The CAA revealed last month that 87 incidents reported by pilots and air traffic controllers that occurred between January and June last year were the subject of a full investigation.
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