Stansted saw a strong start to the year with record January passenger numbers.

Passenger throughput rose by 5% year-on-year to 1.74 million and aircraft load factors up to 81.4% from 79.2%.

Numbers grew by 7.3% to 24.4 million passengers in the 12 months ending January 2017 over the previous year.

The positive start to the year was boosted by plans by Ryanair and British Airways to start new services and add frequency on existing roiutes for summer 2017.

Airport chief executive Andrew Cowan said: “We have begun 2017 in a similarly positive way to how we ended 2016, with a record number of passengers for the month of January taking advantage of the extensive range of destinations available from Stansted.

“In addition, and in a further boost to growth, it was fantastic to hear both Ryanair and British Airways announcing they will be launching a host of new services and increasing frequency on a range of popular destinations and holiday hotspots across the summer season, including Florence, Copenhagen, Nice, Naples and Geneva.

“This is excellent news for Stansted as we continue to grow our route network and even better news for passengers across London and the east of England looking for more choice and great value flying from their local airport.”