MANCHESTER Airport is celebrating a record-breaking year after more passengers than ever flew through the UK’s third-largest hub.

In 2017, 27,791,274 passengers passed through the airport’s three terminals – an increase of 8.5 per cent year on year thanks to 203,631 aircraft movements.

Cargo was up to 123,576 tonnes, with six new routes launched and four new airlines on board.

The year also saw Manchester airport’s busiest day ever – with more than 112,000 people passing through the terminals on Friday, August 25 – as well a record festive period in December.

2018 promises to see yet more growth, with £1 billion of transformative work ongoing at Terminal 2 and the airport set to increase dual runway operation from the summer.

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said: “It’s been another strong year for Manchester Airport as passenger numbers continued to grow and we celebrated the launch of a number of key routes.

“The start of the building work for the transformation programme was another key milestone for the airport. The project will allow us to unlock the full potential of our two runways and provide our passengers with a great customer experience.

“As we look ahead to 2018, we expect that passenger numbers will continue to grow and we’re looking forward to the launch of a new route to Seattle with Thomas Cook Airlines.”

New routes for 2017 included Muscat, San Francisco, Granada and Seville, and airport staff were also rewarded with four major industry awards as well as a July visit from the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling.