MAG Airports – owner of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports – had reported record passenger numbers in 2015.
Continued growth into the New Year was driven by both the popularity of new winter destinations and fuller planes on established favourite routes.
At Manchester Airport, passenger numbers in January 2016 were up 7.8 per cent up year-on-year, mainly due to a range of new destinations – there are now more destinations (over 210) offered than at any other point in the airport’s 78 year history, and more than London Heathrow.
Popular destinations for New Year getaways like Dubai, Palma and Tenerife saw strong passenger figures, supported by more capacity to destinations like New York, and new routes from airlines such as Iberia Express and Vueling.
Manchester is served by over 70 airlines – compared with around 45 at Gatwick and 80 at Heathrow.
At London Stansted Airport, planes were fuller than they have ever been before in January, with nearly 80 per cent of all available seats occupied on each flight.
This beat the airport’s previous January high of 76 per cent set last year. Coupled with an almost doubling of passengers on domestic routes compared with January 2015, this led the airport to see an 11.8 per cent increase in passengers year-on-year.
East Midlands Airport saw 191,000 customers in January - 4.1 per cent busier than this time last year, driven by strong load factors.
Bournemouth Airport’s 29,569 passengers in January took its rolling 12 month total to 715,888, which represents 8.1 per cent growth over the previous year.
Ken O’Toole, managing director at Manchester Airport, said: “January is usually a quieter month following the busy Christmas period however the increase in passenger numbers this January highlights that more people have opted to take a post-Christmas break.
“Popular routes during the month included long haul favourites, like Dubai, as people sought out some sun.
“We expect February to be a busy month also as couples jet off on romantic weekend breaks to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
“Plus half term sees many families hitting the slopes across Europe.”