Record passenger numbers helped profits take off at Manchester Airports Group in the half year to September.

Adjusted earnings [ebitda] rose by 8.6% to £236.6 million as the number of passengers handled by the group’s four airports rose by more than 9% to 34.9 million year-on-year.

Manchester airport and Stansted led the passenger surge over the six months with rises of 9.6% to 16.6 million and 9.8% to 14.6 million respectively.

East Midlands airport saw numbers rise by 3.2% to 3.2 million while numbers using Bournemouth airport – sold by MAG earlier this week – were up by 3.3% to 500,000.

August was the busiest month in Manchester airport’s 79-year history and this momentum has continued into the autumn, MAG said today.

Stansted, serving more European cities than any other UK airport, also experienced “impressive growth”.

The Essex airport is “well-placed to absorb future growth in London’s aviation demand prior to any new runway being built at London Heathrow,” MAG said.

The introduction of new routes across group airports helped to boost passenger numbers, including long-haul connections announced from Manchester to San Francisco, Boston, Muscat and Hong Kong.

Long-haul flights announced from Stansted include daily services to New York, Boston and Toronto.

New-short haul routes from MAG airports include Frankfurt, Budapest and Geneva.

“Increased revenues have also been driven by more passengers upgrading their airport experience and taking advantage of MAG’s award-winning Escape Lounges, Premium ‘Meet and Greet’ valet parking offers and fast track security clearance,” the airports group said.