The number of passengers travelling through Liverpool John Lennon Airport rose by 11% to 5.5m in 2007.
The growth is largely due to the increased number of destinations available from Liverpool, rather than like-for-like sales, with 18 services introduced during 2007. A further four have already been announced to start in 2008 with more expected to follow throughout the year.
The airport said that in June 2003, when Tessa Jowell, the then Culture Secretary announced that Liverpool would be European Capital of Culture 2008, there were just 13 scheduled services from Liverpool and an annual throughput of just over 3m passengers. This compares to scheduled services to over 60 European destinations today and annual passenger throughput up by 76% since Jowell's announcement.
Neil Pakey, managing director of JLA, said: "Last year was another excellent year not only for the airport but for the region as a whole and I am confident that over the next 12 months even more new services will have been announced giving more and more visitors from across Europe the opportunity to visit the region in 2008 and beyond."
Pakey and his team have played down the rising threat from Manchester Airport, where Ryanair is opening five new routes from April and EasyJet plans to open a base by 2010, saying that both airlines are expanding in Liverpool at the same.
Ryanair introduced more than 20 new services from Liverpool in the past 18 months and now flies to 43 destinations. EasyJet flies to 19 but its services are more frequent, meaning that it carries the most passengers per month.