More people than ever before are expected to leave the country over Christmas .
Passenger numbers are expected to swell on Thursday, a full week before Christmas Day. The next day, 400,000 people will fly out of Britain for a holiday abroad.
Airports including Heathrow and Gatwick are preparing for the busiest festive spell in their history as the annual exodus begins .
Edinburgh Airport expects this Thursday to be its busiest day of the Christmas season. Tenerife is reported as the top winter-sun destination, with Amsterdam the leading city break.
Britain’s second-busiest airport Gatwick said December 21 will be its busiest day, with 64,000 passengers expected to depart for key destinations including Geneva, Barcelona and Dublin. This is a rise of 10 per cent on last year – although numbers were down due to a disastrous flood on Christmas Eve.
More than 37,000 passengers will leave Stansted next Monday December 22, the latest peak of the major airports.
Heathrow declined to reveal its forecast numbers, but Friday is expected to be its busiest day. A city break in New York is the airport’s most popular trip, followed by winter sun in Dubai.