Southend Airport is continuing to soar to new heights after figures revealed passenger numbers increased by more than 60 per cent last month.

The latest statistics published by the Civil Aviation Authority show 66,700 people flew via the airport during May. The figure is a marked increase on April’s total of 41,600 – the first month of easyJet flights.

Meanwhile, passenger numbers for the same destinations from Stansted fell by more than 40,800 in May.

Alastair Welch, Southend Airport’s managing director, said: “We’re pleased passengers are clearly enjoying the transformed Southend Airport. During the winter months we expect this to continue. Our target remains to reach two million passengers a year by 2020.”

EasyJet began flights from Southend to Barcelona, Belfast and Amsterdam on April 2, with the new destinations taking their place on the departure boards alongside existing Aer Arann fights to Waterford, Ireland.

Two days later, flights to Alicante and Faro were added, and routes to Malaga, Mallorca, Ibiza and Jersey followed at the end of the month. Aer Arann’s new flights to Dublin, which launched on May 10, attracted nearly 3,500 passengers. In comparison, the number of people using Stansted’s flights to the Irish capital fell by more than 5,500.