Passenger numbers grew by 4% in April across MAG’s three UK airports as they prepare to enter the busy summer season.

Manchester airport and Stansted both handled more than 2.3 million passengers each, while East Midlands saw a fall of 2.9% to 393,532 year-on-year.

Manchester airport numbers were up by 8.4% with growth driven by long-haul routes, such as Singapore, 25.3%, and Jamaica, up 38.9%. Dubai was the third most popular destination for passengers last month, which included the Easter holidays.

Stansted saw an increase of 1% following a 6.1% rise in March, with the help of new routes to Paris and Copenhagen.

Domestic routes to Edinburgh and Belfast were among the top destinations, alongside an increase of 14.1% in passengers flying to the Canary Islands, and 27.5% rise to Turkey, boosted by a new route to Izmir.

Despite a fall in passenger levels, East Midlands airport saw a 20% increase in passengers travelling to Turkey.

MAG corporate affairs director Graeme Elliott said: “We are pleased to see passenger numbers for MAG grow at a healthy rate of 4% this month, compared to April 2018.

“This growth, alongside a number of vital new links, is a positive indicator as we enter the busy summer season, and shows we are offering the destinations that passengers are looking for.

“Growth at Manchester airport has been particularly strong at 8.4% because of popular long-haul routes – reaffirming its position as a nationally significant, global gateway outside of London.

“We support recent calls for a Northern Powerhouse aviation strategy, which would maximise the potential of Manchester, which has capacity to play a leading role in rebalancing the economy and taking pressure away from London and the south-east.

“Across our airports, we have more direct destinations than ever, giving passengers more choice and flexibility when it comes to their upcoming holidays or business trips.”