Scandinavian low-cost airline Norwegian reported record carryings of almost 26 million passengers in 2015 and a load factor of 86%.

The airline’s busiest ever year in the UK and increased long-haul operations “considerably” contributed to the growth.

Overall carryings were up by 2 million over 2014 to 25.7 million passengers.

The carrier took delivery of 11 new aircraft and started several new routes, particularly long-haul services. The load factor rose by five percentage points from 81% in 2014.

Norwegian carried almost 1.7 million passengers in December, up 9% from the same month last year as capacity grew by 12%.

Norwegian chief executive, Bjørn Kjos, said: “We are pleased that more and more people have chosen to fly with us, especially in the new destinations where we have introduced our service. 

“Even with the launch of a number of new routes, we have still been able to fill our planes better than before.

“Our long-haul operation has stabilised and contributed significantly to the 2015 figures.

“It bodes well going forward, as it increases our global competitiveness and positions us for further growth at Gatwick.”

He added: “UK activity in particular has helped fuel a strong 2015 for Norwegian and we have seen our busiest ever year in the UK.

“With a new ‘Norwegian UK’ subsidiary now being established and further new long-haul routes planned, the UK market will continue to be central to our growth plans for 2016.

“In December, many Scandinavians and Europeans have chosen to travel, either home for Christmas or to their favorite vacation getaway.

“Our new routes from London and Scandinavia to the Caribbean have been very well received. Our new routes from Boston, New York and Baltimore/Washington to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe have also been well received.”