Scandinavian low-cost carrier Norwegian reported a record 24 million passengers carried in 2014 – up by three million on the previous year.

The figure came as the airline carried 2% more passengers in December to more than 1.6 million with the load factor up by 3.3 percentage points to 81.3% year on year.

The annual rise in carryings came as the airline launched new transatlantic routes and services in Europe with new bases in the US and Spain.

Chief executive Bjorn Kjos said: “Three million more passengers chose to fly with us in 2014 compared with the previous year and the total number of passengers reached 24 million.

“We have welcomed an increasing number of new customers on board. Not least in new markets outside Scandinavia, many have tried Norwegian for the first time, liked our product and returned on their next journey.

“This makes us better equipped to meet increasing international competition.

“England, USA and Spain are examples of markets with large customer volumes where growth boosts future competitiveness, which in turn secures jobs at Norwegian.”

He added: “It is also gratifying that Norwegian has received a number of important customer awards throughout the year.

“In December we see an increased desire to travel during Christmas, which contributes positively to the traffic figures. I am particularly pleased that the load factor has increased both in December and for the whole year.”