More Than 700 Million Passengers Traveled From European Airports in 2005

BRUSSELS, Belgium_On an average day in 2005, more than 2 million passengers and more than 25,000 aircraft took off from European airports, the European air traffic control agency said Tuesday.

Some 2.5 million people are expected to travel each day during the summer of 2006 - equivalent to the population of Manchester or Warsaw.

Overall, more than 700 million passengers traveled on over 9.2 million flights from European airports in 2005, EUROCONTROL said. The number of flights increased by 4.5 percent last year and is expected to grow by 3 percent this year.

Air traffic has grown by 15 percent since 1999 - and is expected to grow by 35 percent over the next 10 years. Accidents fell by 35 percent and air traffic control delays dropped by 75 percent over the last six years.

Eastern Europe is booming, with the number of flights increasing last year by 18 percent in Croatia, 17 percent in Slovakia and 16 percent in Poland.

EUROCONTROL said air traffic management delays flights by an average of 1.9 minutes per flight.