If you thought Manchester Airport was busy the last time you were there, then here’s the reason why.

It is continuing to break its own passenger records after more than 26 million passengers passed through the airport over the last 12 months.

After 35 months of consecutive growth, the UK’s third largest airport flew through the 26 million annual passenger mark in February. The continued growth over the last year has meant Manchester Airport is now in Europe’s Top 20 busiest airports.

Manchester Airport . Aircraft on approach and landing in windy conditions . 26 January . 2016 . Picture by Matt Ratcliffe

A total of 1.6m passengers used the Northern gateway in February – an 11% increase on 2016.

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Due to the extra demand, aircraft movements were also up last month by 7.2%, with more than 13,200 planes taking off and landing on the airport’s two full-length runways.

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Staggered half-terms for children across the airport’s wider catchment area and expanded winter programmes from the likes of Ryanair, Flybe, easyJet and Jet2.com has helped to drive the growth. Also the continued growth to long-haul destinations can be attributed to the increase.

Manchester Airport

February saw Royal Air Maroc announce flights to Casablanca, Saudia Airlines announce flights to Riyadh and Ryanair announce a new route to Frankfurt. March will also see the start of direct flights to San Francisco and Boston with Virgin Atlantic.

Ken O’Toole, Manchester Airport CEO, said: “It’s been another strong month of growth for Manchester Airport and passing the 26 million passenger mark is another important milestone for us.

“Growth has been delivered across the board, reflecting the fact Manchester is now one of the world’s top 15 airports when it comes to the number of different destinations flown to.

“We are also looking forward to pressing ahead with our £1bn Transformation Programme, which will pave the way for more growth in the years to come, at the same time as providing our passengers with world class service levels.”

Cargo also saw a boost with 8,066 tonnes carried, an increase of 11.24% on February 2016. It equates to a 10% year on year increase with the annual rolling tonnage now at 115,040.