Dublin-London is now second busiest air route in the world
THE Dublin-London air route is the second busiest international corridor in the world as 3.6 million passengers jetted between the capital cities last year.
That's up almost 7pc on 2012, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet, Flybe and British Airways all compete on routes between Dublin and the four main London airports.
The busiest international route is between Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei, with 4.9 million people using the route last year, although that is down 11.5pc.
In third place is Jakarta- Singapore, which carried 3.4 million passengers.
The United States remains the largest single air market in the world in terms of both domestic and international travel.
Overall, the world's airlines carried 3.13 billion passengers across the globe in 2013 - an increase of 5.1pc on the previous year.
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region carried the largest number of passengers of any region, at 1.01 billio n, followed by Europe at 826 million passengers and North America at 818.9 million.
The top five airlines were dominated by the US, including Delta, Southwest, United Airlines and American Airlines, as well as China Southern Airlines.
The data comes just weeks after Aer Lingus said Dublin Airport was mopping up business from passengers in Scotland and the north of England who want to avoid flying via Heathrow and other congested European hub airports to the US.
The airline said transfer passengers from the UK and other parts of Europe now make up almost a third of its long-haul traffic to North America.
Dublin is also now ranked 7th in Europe as a hub for transatlantic passengers ahead of much bigger airports such as Istanbul, Brussels and Gatwick, Aer Lingus said.
The IATA said that globally cargo experienced weak growth with freight tonne kilometres up only 1.8pc compared with 2012. However, this represents a reversal of the 1.1pc shrinkage over 2011.
The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled freight tonnes carried were Federal Express (7.1 million), UPS Airlines (4.1 million), Emirates (2.1 million), Korean Air (1.4 million) and Cathay Pacific Airways (1.3 million).
The average price of jet fuel in 2013 decreased by 3.9pc compared to 2012. Total estimated cost of fuel was $210bn or 31pc of airline operating costs.
Star Alliance maintained its position as the largest airline alliance in 2013 with 26.6pc of total scheduled traffic, followed by SkyTeam (20.1pc) and oneworld (15.4pc).