Cornwall Airport Newquay says it has ended 2017 on a high having experienced its busiest ever December.

The airport handled 23,937 passengers during the last month of the year, an 18% increase on the previous December.

The year as a whole was very close to record breaking numbers, with both July and August figures coming in as the second busiest ever.

Total numbers for the year have been recorded as 453,795, up 22% on 2016, a number which is likely to see the airport named “Fastest Growing UK Airport” for the second year running.

Commenting on the year, Al Titterington, managing director at Cornwall Airport Newquay said: “What’s really positive in the 2017 stats is the huge spike in the winter passenger numbers.

"Experiencing our busiest ever December shows that our hard work over recent years to break down the seasonality of the Airport is starting to pay off.”

With 2018 now underway, the airport management says it is focussing on the year ahead which sees one new scheduled route added to the summer programme (Stuttgart with Eurowings) as well as a new charter operator (Super Break) offering services from Cornwall for the first time, with the first charter to Seville operating in March.

The airport says it also welcomes the recent announcement by London Heathrow that they will reduce airport charges for domestic travellers with effect from January 1, 2018.

Al Titterington added: “It is a long standing ambition of ours to get a connection between Cornwall Airport Newquay and London Heathrow.

"The support we get from Heathrow is key to us achieving this so we very much welcome this further positive move from them in this respect.”

Another figure to be released by the Airport with regard to 2017 was the number of hire cars rented from the Airport over the year.

Over 18,000 cars were hired which is a 16% increase on 2016.

The airport site now employs over 600 people directly, making it one of the larger employee sites in Cornwall, including aircraft engineers, pilots, air traffic controllers, flight training instructors, security personnel and firefighters.