Stansted echoed rival Heathrow in reporting a record April thanks to the later Easter holidays.

The Essex airport is to expand check-in, seating and car parking to keep up with the demand which saw passenger numbers rise by 11% year-on-year last month to top 2.1 million.

The record monthly total was boosted by the first full month of airlines’ summer schedules and a number of new routes, including the first flights from the airport.

An average load factor of 89.7% was achieved on each aircraft.

International markets saw strong passenger growth compared to April last year, including the Canary Islands, Cyprus and France plus destinations in both Turkey and Denmark.

Passenger numbers grew by 5.7% in the 12 months to April compared with the previous year with the moving annual total rising to more than 24.5 million.

Chief executive Andrew Cowan revealed: “To help us keep pace with increased demand and improve the passenger experience, a number of projects around the airport will soon begin to provide additional check-in capacity, add more seating in the departure lounge and significantly increase car parking capacity.

“This work will help improve customer service and add vital capacity during the period in advance of the new arrivals building becoming operational and the subsequent full transformation of existing terminal.”

The April growth in passenger traffic was driven by strong demand for flights to many holiday hotspots across the Easter holidays, the launch of a host of new routes by our airline partners, particularly Ryanair and the newly arrived who kicked-off their first ever flight and holiday offer from any airport in the south-east, he said.

“We also saw a record number of seats occupied on each flight for any April in the airport’s history,” added Cowan.

“The summer season promises to be another very busy and exciting time for Stansted as airlines add even more routes and increase capacity to key destinations which is great news for passengers who want to fly from their local airport.”