November capped 18 months of consecutive growth at Manchester airport, with 1.3 million passengers travelling through the UK’s third largest airport in the month.

The moving annual total of passengers is currently at 20.6 million, up by 5.18% over last year.

The figures came as Thomas Cook Airlines is set for its inaugural flight to Antigua and St Lucia from Manchester this week, following the launch of a service to Barbados last month.

Manchester Airports Group chief commercial officer Ken O’Toole said: “It looks as though we are set for a busy winter.

“With a wealth of new routes available, including being the only airport outside of London to now fly direct to St Lucia and Antigua, Manchester offers flexibility and options locally, without having to travel further afield.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time this year educating our catchment area that routes operate here, instead of having to travel to congested London airports.

“The time invested into our ‘Fly Manchester’ campaign is now paying dividends as passenger numbers continue to rise.”

As well as the new Thomas Cook routes, Aer Lingus increased capacity on the Manchester–Shannon route by adding an extra daily flight.

Monarch Airlines announced its 2014/15 winter schedule, which is set to see a continuation of year-round flights to Agadir from Manchester – a destination recently launched for summer 2014.