Flights between UK and US fall

The number of flights between the UK and US has fallen since routes were deregulated in March, contradicting government and European Commission claims that “open skies” would lead to more flights and lower fares.

UK air traffic control operator NATS reports a 3.3% fall in UK-US traffic in July compared with a year ago. However, flights between Europe and the US that cross UK airspace were up 2.3%.

NATS reported a 0.9% fall in all other UK traffic year on year, with 1,400 fewer flights in total.

At the same time air fares are rising at double the rate of inflation, according to latest Consumer Price Index figures.

Average fares rose 8.9% in the past year compared with a general inflation rate of 4.4%. However, the Retail Price Index rates inflation higher at 5%.

NATS operations director Ian Hall said: “We are still handling record numbers of flights in key parts of our operation.”

Traffic at Heathrow and Gatwick broke monthly records in July.

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