SOUTHEND Airport’s popularity has literally soared since Ryanair began flying from there - and airport bosses are chuffed.

The airport, which is owned by Stobart Group, confirmed it has seen a whopping 57 per cent jump in passenger numbers in April, May and June this year compared with the same three-month period a year ago.

April’s growth was especially rapid, rising 65 per cent to 187,952 travellers, as Ryanair commenced flights from the base.

The most popular destinations from the airport are Alicante, Dublin, Faro, Majorca and Malaga.

The number of people travelling from inner London to use the airport has also increased, now representing 40 per cent of all passengers.

Stobart Aviation chief executive Glyn Jones said: “It is great to see more and more passengers from London seeing the benefits of London Southend Airport.

“This year, we have expanded our route network, with Ryanair and Loganair starting services.

“The addition of new early and late trains has enhanced our reputation as one of the most accessible, convenient airports to get to.

“Compared to the other London airports, which are full to capacity, it is no surprise Londoners are increasingly choosing to fly from London Southend.”

And residents have welcomed the news as well.

Lauren Abraham, 29, who lives in Billericay, said: “I recently flew to Majorca and cannot fault my experience.

“Southend Airport is fantastic, its small and quick, and everything is very straight forward. I’ve flown with Ryanair countless times without issue, so its great they are an option in Southend.”

And Southend resident, Christine Boynett, added: “I think it is excellent news, I’ve flown from Southend and it is much more pleasant than Stansted or Gatwick and Ryanair are always brilliant.

“There staff are always very accommodating, so as a local to Southend this is brilliant news for many reasons.”