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‘It’s been another strong month of growth for Manchester Airport ‘
Manchester Airport is now among Europe’s 20 busiest airports – after 26m passengers passed through its doors in 12 months.

The hub has broken its own records once again after reaching the milestone in February.

It marks nearly three years of constant growth, with 1.7m passengers using the northern gateway in February alone – up 11pc on 2016.

Bosses say success has been driven by staggered half-terms – with the airport becoming a magnet for passengers from different cities when prices rise at their local hubs.

It also means flights are not overbooked during one set week.

More winter flights from the likes of Ryanair, Flybe, easyJet and Jet2.com have also helped, as has the ever-expanding long-haul network.

In February, Royal Air Maroc announced a new service to Casablanca while Saudia Airlines revealed plans to fly to Riyadh.

Ryanair, meanwhile, is all set to launch a Frankfurt route.

This month heralds the start of direct flights to San Francisco and Boston with Virgin Atlantic.

Ken O’Toole , Manchester Airport CEO, said: “It’s been another strong month of growth for Manchester Airport and passing the 26 million passenger mark is another important milestone for us.

“Growth has been delivered across the board, reflecting the fact Manchester is now one of the world’s top 15 airports when it comes to the number of different destinations flown to.

“It is particularly pleasing to see the continued growth of our long haul network with the announcements of new routes to Casablanca and Riyadh giving the 22 million people in our catchment area even more choice.”

He said upcoming flights to San Francisco with Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook would boost passengers again, adding: “We are also looking forward to pressing ahead with our £1bn Transformation Programme, which will pave the way for more growth in the years to come, at the same time as providing our passengers with world class service levels.”

Due to the extra demand aircraft movements were also up last month by 7.2pc with more than 13,200 planes taking off and landing on the airport’s two full length runways.

Cargo also had a boost with 8,066 tonnes carried, an increase of 11.24pc on February 2016. It equates to a 10pc year on year increase with the annual rolling tonnage now at 115,040.

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