Liverpool John Lennon Airport posted the highest level of passenger numbers in five years for 2016 after a busier than expected December.

Passenger levels increased by 11% to more than 4.8 million over 2015.

The total was pushed up by an 11% rise last month to more than 340,000 passengers, the busiest December since 2009.

The number of passengers using the airport has increased every month now for almost two years.

This has resulted in almost 500,000 more travellers using the Merseyside airport last year compared to 2015.

Chief executive, Andrew Cornish, said: “2016 was a great year for the Airport and our busiest in recent years. We really appreciate the support of the region’s travellers, who are taking advantage of the increased choice of destinations and operators from their local airport.

“This is also excellent news for the region too. A successful LJLA creates more job opportunities both onsite and indirectly across the region, as well as helping to attract more inward investment and boosting the region’s visitor economy.

“Looking ahead; improved passenger facilities and some of the industry’s best operational performance means that we have also been able to create the right airport environment for our airline and tour operator partners to commit to further growth in 2017 and we expect this coming year to be even busier.”