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European destinations continued to be popular summer holiday hotspots for UK travellers, new data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority shows.

Between July and September, more than 13 million passengers travelled to Spain, representing 86 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers.

Greece and Italy were also popular destinations with 4.6 million and 4.1 million passengers travelling to the country respectively during July, August and September.

Greece surpassed its 2019 performance (114 per cent of 2019), while Italy recorded 83 per cent of visits compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The aviation regulator’s data, published today, also shows more than 73 million passengers flew in and out of the UK between July and September this year, which was down 19 per cent compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.

July and August passenger volumes were both at 81 per cent of 2019 and September was at 83 per cent, indicating that consumer confidence in air travel continues to build.

Further data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority shows an improvement in the number of flight cancellations made on the day of departure, dropping by more than 1,500 in Q3 2022 to 5,500.

Load factors (how full flights are) also picked up strongly during the summer, climbing steadily through the period to an average 85 per cent in Q3 2022 – similar to Q3 2019 (87 per cent).

Total cargo carried on all flights was down 15 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019, with 567,075 tonnes of goods carried to and from the UK.