The number of passengers using regional, non-London airports continues to rise, according to a new survey.

A total of 95 million passengers flew from a regional airport last year compared with 87 million in 2005, figures from the Civil Aviation Authority showed.

This is a nine per cent increase and compares with a four per cent rise, to 132 million, in numbers flying from the four London airports of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.

Around 30 per cent of UK passengers travelled from Heathrow last year, 14 per cent from Gatwick, ten per cent from Manchester, ten per cent from Stansted and four per cent each from Luton, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

 The CAA statistics are based on interviews with 200,000 passengers at the four London as well as Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Durham Tees Valley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and Prestwick airports.

The survey showed:

Dublin was the most popular leisure destination at the London airports, followed by New York, Edinburgh, Malaga and Amsterdam.

Edinburgh was the most popular route for business passengers from the London airports, followed by Amsterdam, Glasgow, Dublin and Paris.

At the regional airports surveyed, Alicante, Palma and Tenerife were the most popular international destinations for leisure passengers. The most popular long-haul points were Orlando (Sanford), New York (Newark) and Dubai.

Business travel on scheduled routes from the surveyed regional airports was dominated by travel to London, where 69 per cent of passengers completed their journey.

Inverness had the highest percentage of frequent travellers, with 73 per cent flying at least three times in the preceding 12 months, while Prestwick had the lowest figure at 25 per cent.

Business passengers accounted for more than 56 per cent of all passengers using Aberdeen, the highest proportion in the survey. This compared with 36 per cent at Inverness, 35 per cent at Heathrow and 30 per cent at Glasgow.

Bournemouth airport attracted the largest proportion of leisure passengers, at just over 95 per cent, compared with 94 per cent at Prestwick, 83 per cent at Gatwick and 80 per cent at Manchester.

UK business passengers using Heathrow had the highest average incomes, at #79,000, compared with #67,000 at Gatwick and Luton and #57,000 at Stansted. North of the border, average business incomes were #53,000 in Edinburgh and #50,000 at Aberdeen.

The highest proportion of non-UK residents using a UK airport was recorded at Heathrow at just over 53 per cent, with the lowest being nine per cent at Durham Tees Valley.

The car was the most popular way to get to airports, with 78 per cent of passengers at Bournemouth using a car and 58 per cent at Manchester.

The highest average passenger age was 45 at Durham Tees Valley, and the lowest 36 at Prestwick.