Manchester Airport is now ranked among Europe’s top 20 airports in terms of passenger numbers after achieving its busiest January on record.
Last month saw 1,665,943 people set off for the airport’s 210 destinations as North West holidaymakers opted to ditch the cold in favour of warmer climes.
The figure represents a year-on-year increase of 11.3% and brings Manchester Airport’s rolling annual passenger total to 25,864,24 .
As a result, Manchester has now replaced Stockholm Airport in the list of Europe’s 20 busiest, ahead of airports in Lisbon, Helsinki, Athens, Vienna, Brussels and other capitals.
Manchester experienced particularly strong growth in long-haul traffic, with overall numbers up 13% during the last 12 months.
Discussing January’s passenger figures, which mark the airport’s 34th consecutive month of growth, CEO Ken O’Toole said: “To enter the top 20 airports of Europe is a significant milestone and sees us rub shoulders with the leading gateways on the continent, in terms of total passenger numbers, the mix of destinations available and the aircraft operating on those routes.
“It is pleasing that growth has been delivered across the board, with all categories of carriers continuing to recognise the strength of our catchment area, which stretches from North Wales in the west to Humberside in the east and up to the Scottish Borders.“
He continued: “A growing number of international visitors are also looking to Manchester Airport as their gateway not just to the North but the UK as a whole.
“As 2017 continues we aim to bring on more long haul routes, in order to plug the 22m people in our catchment area to key global destinations, either to unlock investment and economic opportunities for businesses, or for far flung family holidays for leisure passengers.“
In January, aircraft movements were up by 17.4% with nearly 14k planes taking off and landing on the airport’s two runways.
Cargo, meanwhile, rose year on year by 10% with 8,133 tonnes carried.