A record 26 million passengers used Stansted Airport last year, an increase of nearly 1.7 million over the previous year.
Half- term holidays mean the airport had its busiest ever February, with more than 1.7 million passengers passing through the terminal, an increase of 79,000 or 4.8 per cent over the same month in 2017.
Popular destinations were France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria for those going on skiing holidays, while the Canary Islands, Turkey and the Spanish mainland were the top spots for those wanting their share of winter sun. Denmark and the Czech Republic, meanwhile, reported the largest year-on-year growth.
The figures represent the highest annual total recorded at Stansted as it continues to enjoy strong results.
The volume of cargo handled at Stansted in February was up 2.1 per cent on the same month in 2017, with 19,477 tonnes passing through the airport.
CEO of London Stansted, Ken O’Toole said: “To pass another significant passenger milestone is a clear indication of Stansted’s continuing success in growing our route network and providing passengers from London and the East of England with even more choice.
“We expect Stansted to be the fastest growing airport in the UK this year with new long-haul services launching to Dubai, USA and Canada in the coming months in addition to continued growth from our existing airlines. It’s vital we now plan ahead to consider how we best meet this growing demand in the most responsible and sustainable way."
O'Toole said the airport's recent planning permission application to o Uttlesford District Council was designed to increase its passenger numbers by a further eight million in a year and was "crucial in supporting international connectivity over the next decade."
"Stansted is the only London airport with significant available runway capacity," he added.
Contractors are now also being selected to build the airport's £130m arrivals terminal and the £200m revamp of its existing terminal; two projects that make up Stansted's £600m investment programme.
It's has also been a good year for Heathrow in terms of passenger numbers. The UK's main airport hit nearly five and a half million passengers in February, causing it to reiterate its desire to push on for the expansion of its third runway.