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Travellers braced for busy weekend

BA planes on the runway19/12/12

By Jon Howe

A series of packed roads, rail engineering works and busy flights are facing Christmas travellers this weekend.

Some nightmare journeys are inevitable, even though the Highways Agency, which is responsible for all England's motorway and major A-roads, claims that more than 250 miles of roadworks would be completed before Christmas, and up to 57 miles of roadworks will be suspended between December 21 and January 2.

Some works do remain in place, however, and these involve 19 locations covering nearly 100 miles.

Inrix, the Traffic Information Company, claims that it could take up to six times longer than usual to make certain journeys over the weekend, with around 18 million drivers expected to take to the country's road network.

It is predicted by tyre company Michelin that Londoners would be travelling the furthest, at 167 miles (269km) on average, and they also claim that 7 per cent of drivers have changed their travel plans as a result of petrol costs.

Air travellers are not facing any specific issues, but British Airways is predicting Friday to be its' busiest day, with around 100,000 passengers on its' flights.

Even on Christmas Day BA expect to process and transport 27,000 passengers , and the busiest day after the Christmas rush will be January 2, when they expect 91,000 to be making the return trip home.

It appears that many travellers over the Christmas period are taking the opportunity for a different festive celebration, with top long-haul destinations for BA being New York, Miami, Cape Town, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Those preferring a more local Christmas break are looking forward to shorter trips to the likes of Edinburgh, Geneva, Glasgow, Amsterdam and Manchester.

Gatwick Airport is already in the middle of its' busiest period with the traditional Christmas rush between December 17 and January 2 expecting to bring 1.5 million passengers through the doors of the West Sussex airport, with 56,000 alone on Saturday.

The airport reports its top three Christmas destinations are Geneva, Edinburgh and Dubai.

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