Stansted airport has busiest month in 2.5 years
A busy April has taken a major holiday airport's passenger numbers up to their highest level for two-and-a-half years.
Stansted airport handled more than 1.72 million travellers last month - a rise of 10.7% on the April 2013 figure.
Last month was the busiest April at the Essex airport since 2008. It took the passenger total for the previous 12 months to 18.16 million.
This was 3.4% up on the total for the 12 months ending April 2013 and it was the first time the "rolling year" total has passed the 18 million mark since December 2011.
Stansted's managing director Andrew Harrison said: "The level of growth we're seeing is encouraging and we strongly believe Stansted has a vital role over the next 10-15 years in supporting economic growth and activity."
Passenger numbers last month - boosted by Easter falling later this year - were also up at Heathrow.
The west London airport handled 6.2 million passengers in April 2014 - a 6.7% rise on its April 2013 total.
Heathrow's bosses will tomorrow publish its revised expansion plans which it is submitting to the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission which is due to make its final recommendation on south east England airport expansion in summer 2015.
The Heathrow chiefs have already announced that it will be suggesting to the commission that those dropping off passengers at Heathrow by car should be subject to a congestion charge once transport improvements around the airport are finished.
Heathrow's revised submission also includes an improved compensation plan for those affected by the building of an extra, third, runway at Heathrow should such an expansion get the go-head by the commission.
Heathrow is allocating £550 million for noise insulation and property compensation and will launch a consultation with local people on proposals this summer.
Around 750 homes would need to be compulsorily purchased to provide space for a third runway. The airport is proposing compensation of 25% above unblighted market value plus stamp duty costs and all legal fees in relation to purchasing a new home.
For a £250,000 property homeowners would receive £312,500 compensation, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and any legal fees.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: "We are committed to treating those most affected by a third runway fairly. Since the previous runway plan was rejected in 2010 we have listened to ideas for how we could improve our proposals. People have told us that we should provide more generous compensation and go further in insulating homes against noise.
"We recognise that the expansion of Heathrow deserves an exceptional compensation scheme. That's why we're going further than statutory schemes or Government guidance. People will receive fair compensation in the event that Heathrow expansion goes ahead."
Stansted is owned and operated by airport company MAG whose other airports also enjoyed healthy passenger numbers last month.
Manchester airport handled nearly 1.7 million passengers in April 2014 - an 11.3% rise on its April 2013 figure.
Manchester's passenger numbers for the 12 months ending April 2014 were almost 21 million - a 5.5% rise on the total for the 12 months ending April 2013.
East Midlands airport numbers last month rose 8% to more than 358,000, with its 12-month total rising 10% to nearly 4.37 million.
Bournemouth airport handled nearly 63,000 passengers last month. This was 1.4% up on its April 2013 total. A total of 669,204 passengers passed through the Dorset airport in the 12 months ending April 2014 - a 0.2% fall on the 12 months ending April 2013.