New flight services to both coasts of the United States helped drive a seven per cent increase in passenger numbers at Manchester Airport last month.
Thomas Cook kicked-off services to both Los Angeles and Boston during the month, while Jet2.com also launched a route to Girona, in the Costa Brava.
There were 2,244,180 people who passed through the UK’s third largest airport in May, up from 2,093,391 in the same period last year. That was a 7.22% increase.
It was the airport’s 26th consecutive month of growth and moves the rolling annual total to 23,881,688 passengers – an increase of 6.58% year-on-year.
Forecasts indicated the airport will soon break through the 24 million passenger mark, helped by the historic launch of Hainan Airlines’ direct service to Beijing.
It is the first non-stop flight to mainland China from anywhere in the North and load factors are averaging at 80% for the entire Summer.
Manchester Airport is also the only airport outside of London to offer the Boston and Los Angeles services.
Ken O’Toole, CEO of Manchester Airport, said: “It’s been another strong month of growth for Manchester Airport as airlines’ full summer flying programmes started to take effect.
“We were extremely pleased to celebrate the launch of Thomas Cook Airline’s services to Boston and Los Angeles. These long haul destinations are hugely important to our passengers who consistently tell us they’d prefer to fly direct, rather than connecting via another airport.
“Such services are sure to prove popular with leisure travellers, as well as delivering a boost to businesses wanting access to these key markets and, as the year progresses; we look forward to securing yet more vital routes for passengers across the North.”
As airlines ramped up their summer flying programmes, the airport saw an 11% increase in aircraft movements to 17,402. The amount of freight handled through Manchester also showed further growth with a 6% increase on May 2015 from 8,735 tonnes to 9,265 tonnes.