AIR travel remains the most popular form of transport for passengers going between Scotland and the rest of the UK, according to new transport statistics.

Figures for 2012 show that around 10 million passengers flew between Scotland and destinations elsewhere in the UK, compared to 7.5 million for cross-Border rail journeys.

The latest Scottish Transport Statistics report reveals that total passenger traffic through Scottish airports in 2012 was 22.2 million. Almost half of journeys, 45%, were between Scotland and the rest of the UK with London Heathrow the most popular domestic destination from all three major Scottish airports.

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Other domestic routes with large passenger numbers included those between Edinburgh and Gatwick, Stansted, Belfast and London City; and between Glasgow and Gatwick, Stansted, Belfast and Luton.

Just 6% of journeys - around 1.3 million - were from Scottish airports to destinations elsewhere in Scotland.

In contrast, just 9% of the 87 million rail passenger journeys made to, from or within Scotland in 2011/12 were cross-Border. The North East and North West of England and London accounted for around 2 million cross-Border journeys each, compared to around 1.5 million for destinations in the rest of England and Wales.

Meanwhile, the figures show that while average bus fares in Scotland have risen by 6% in real terms over the past five years, bus companies have faced a 27% increase in their operating costs.