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Low cost airlines in Europe have operated 1.4 million flights in 2007, a staggering 26.7% increase on 2006.

By contrast, low cost carriers in North America have operated 2 million flights, a relatively modest increase of just 7.1%. The flight statistics have been compiled by global flight information and data solutions company OAG.

"If this trend continues, then it's quite likely that within two years Europe will equal North America in low cost volumes, a scenario we would not have contemplated even five years ago," comments OAG ceo, Alan Glass.

The increase in low cost flights in the Asia pacific region was even more dramatic, up by 39.2% to 0.7 million. The overall increase worldwide in low cost flights was 20.1% to 4.6 million flights in 2007.

In Europe low cost carriers flew 20% of all flights in the region. In North America low cost flights accounted for 18% of the total, while in the Asia Pacific region this figure was only 12%.

The total number of flights operated in 2007 according to OAG is 29.6 million, an increase of 4.7% on 2006. This is the biggest increase since 2004, and equates to an average of almost 81,000 flights per day. The biggest growth was in Asia Pacific, up 6.8% to 6.1 million flights, while Europe was up 5.8% to 6.9 million, and North America up 2.4% to 11.1 million.

Of the new routes started in 2007 the busiest was between Rome Ciampino and Madrid Barajas with a total of 1,220 flights. Fourteen of the top 20 busiest new routes in 2007 were in Europe.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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