Strong demand on routes to Dubai, Geneva and the Canary Islands helped push up the January passenger count at Newcastle airport by more than 16%.

Traffic on these routes grew by 26.8%, while EU-scheduled numbers rose by 30.6% due to an increase in capacity by Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2.

Almost 40,000 passengers were handled in the month, representing a rise of 16.2% over January 2015.

New services to Berlin and Polish cities Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw all performed strongly as city break destinations.

The airport will further strengthen its range of city destinations on offer, with Ryanair flights to Madrid.

Business development director, John Irving, said: “We recorded our strongest December in over 10 years in 2016 so we are naturally delighted to see the airport carry this momentum into the first month of 2017.

“January is considered to be a relatively quiet period but as we have continued to invest in the airport and add new routes along with additional capacity, we have experienced an increase in demand for our international services.

“We take our role seriously as the international gateway for the north-east and will continue to explore additional routes to help ensure the region remains well connected for both business and leisure destinations.”