Airport chiefs are celebrating after the number of passengers using Leeds Bradford International Airport during 2013 rose by 11 per cent to a record 3.3 million.
The Yeadon hub remains the UK’s fastest growing top 20 airport and the last 12 months have seen it expand to serve more than 70 domestic and international destinations as well as introduce new services from airlines such as British Airways, Monarch and Thomson Airways.
Bosses say the expansion is set to continue in 2014 following the recent announcement of new services by Scandinavia’s flag carrier SAS, which will launch services to Copenhagen from the end of March.
Tony Hallwood, LBIA aviation development and marketing director, said the airport’s operations had grown to offer its widest ever choice of destinations.
Daily British Airways flights to London Heathrow enabled passengers to connect with more than 70 worldwide destinations from Terminal 5, skiers had taken advantage of new services to Grenoble and Innsbruck and sun worshippers have flown to new Jet2.com destinations of Split and Pula in Croatia and Zante in Greece.
The reintroduction of flights in the Spring to Budapest by Jet2.com alongside new summer services to Kos, Reus and Verona also provided travellers with more choice.
Flights between Leeds-Bradford and Southampton were safeguarded by the UK’s second largest regional airline Eastern Airways. Airport chiefs stepped in after the announcement that the route would be withdrawn early next year by struggling rival Flybe.
Mr Hallwood said it has been ‘a truly remarkable year’ for the airport.
He said: “Our achievements were also recognised by the Airport Operators Association, who in November awarded Leeds-Bradford the title of Best Airport under six million passengers.”
“As Yorkshire’s international gateway we have a clear ambition to deliver a wider range of airlines and routes for our local business and leisure passengers alongside encouraging an increase in the number of inbound visitors who can fly directly into Leeds Bradford.”
Iain Rawlinson, executive chairman of leisure airline Monarch, recently confirmed it is planning to develop its operations from Leeds Bradford after celebrating the first anniversary of its operations there.
He said: “We are working on plans to develop and strengthen our operations based on the long-term partnership we have established working with Leeds-Bradford Airport.”