Manchester airport has reached an important milestone, with its passenger numbers overtaking pre-pandemic levels for the first time in October.

The airport served 2.6 million passengers last month, which is equivalent to 105 per cent of 2019 levels.

Passenger levels were also up 14 per cent on October 2022 and brought the airport’s rolling 12-month total to 27.6 million passengers.

The airport said that demand had been driven by flights to destinations such as Dubai and an increase in city breaks to places including Amsterdam, Dublin and Paris.

Manchester airport managing director Chris Woodroofe commented:

“I’m really pleased to see passenger numbers recover beyond their pre-pandemic levels. But what’s even more important to me is the fact that we’re delivering a great service to all those who are passing through the airport, with 99.3% of our passengers queuing in security for under 15 minutes.

“We’ve achieved a huge amount to get to this point but we’re not stopping here. We’ve got big plans for the future including the continued transformation of Terminal 2, which has now entered its second phase and will be complete in 2025, the introduction of a number of new routes for next year including Las Vegas and the announcement of a number of new food, drink and retail offerings in our terminals. We really do have an epic 18 months ahead of us.”

Manchester airport also confirmed that it is trialling new technology on a small number of security lanes in Terminal 2 this week, with new body scanners “that will pinpoint any items of concern to security and speed up the process”.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG)’s other two airports also performed well in October 2023.

London Stansted, which became the first major airport to exceed 2019 volumes back in July, registered its busiest October on record with 2.6 million passengers travelling through the airport.

East Midlands airport, meanwhile, served more than 400,000 passengers across October – a figure which represented 98 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic.

In total, the three airports served 5.6 million passengers across the month – equivalent to 104 per cent of passengers served in October 2019.

On the world stage, the International Air Transport (IATA) has released its latest traffic figures, showing that global airline passenger traffic reached 97.3 per cent of pre-Covid levels in September.

Global airline passenger traffic reached 97.3 per cent of pre-Covid levels in September