Gatwick Airport is the top destination requested on the AA Route Planner which is celebrating its centenary year with its 1.5 billionth online route.

The service has seen many changes in its 100 years which started with early AA Patrols providing motorists with information about the shortest routes for their journey. From these informal beginnings an elaborate organisation was developed which was able to supply details about every stretch of road in Britain. From 1912, the AA was able to furnish its members with routes by mail, responding to their demand arising from a general lack of directional signposts on the country’s roads.

The online AA Route Planner was launched in 1999 and, today the AA says its Route Planner is averaging 20 million route requests per month. Prior to its online launch, the AA mailed an average of 250,000 routes to members each year, but the AA online Route Planner now delivers over twice as many routes on an average day. This has helped motorists travel over 175 billion miles – the equivalent of driving around the world more than seven million times or the M25 1.5 billion times.

In 2010 the AA route planner app was launched with over 100,000 downloads in the first two years.

The most popular tourist destinations now are Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, O2 Arena, Paultons Park and Longleat, while the overall the most popular destinations are Gatwick and Heathrow Airports. The top 10 is:

1 Gatwick Airport (North Teminal)

2 - Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5)

3 - Bristol

4 - Manchester

5 - Southampton

6 - Leeds

7 - Alton Towers

8 - York

9 - Nottingham

10 - Cardiff

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA Route planner is legendary. Many millions of drivers would be lost without it. Despite the uptake of satnavs, millions of drivers check the AA Route Planner to estimate the length and duration of their journeys. The AA Route Planner reflects the 100-year evolution of technology from hand-written instructions to on-line routes and apps.”