Birmingham International Airport handled a record 587,760 passengers during December, 2.3 per cent more than the same month in 2006. Airport officials said the figure was the highest number of passengers to ever travel through the airport in the month of December.

During the year a total of 9,232,496 people used the airport, 0.9 per cent more than in 2006. Scheduled passengers accounted for 73 per cent of the total 2007 figure, with charter making up the remaining 27 per cent.

Joe Kelly, the airport's acting managing director, said: "Birmingham International Airport has experienced an incredible year, with lots of highs and some lows but we're really pleased to have ended 2007 with a record numbers of passengers in December and an increase overall during the twelve months.

"We've welcomed new airlines and introduced new destinations for our region's leisure and business travellers, and have opened our new extended Terminal 1 departures lounge significantly, increasing facilities for the comfort and experience of our passengers.

"Looking ahead, we have an exciting and challenging year ahead.

"On Friday January 4, the airport company submitted a planning application to Solihull Council to extend the runway to accommodate a full range of long-haul destinations from BIA.

"We will also soon be finalising our plans for the replacement of the international pier. This will significantly improve our gate facilities and provide the flexibility to deal with a range of aircraft from the same stands. Work will also continue to improve vehicle access and parking.

"During these large projects, we will continue to operate a safe and secure environment, whilst providing our passengers with a first class service they have come to expect and deserve."

During December 489,046 scheduled passengers flew through the airport and 98,714 charter travellers, an increase of 2.3 per cent.

Growth was achieved on scheduled non-EU routes of 8.7 per cent and on EU services by 3.8 per cent. The Irish Republic saw an increase of 8.5 per cent, while the Channel Isles notched up a 39.6 per cent rise. Long-haul scheduled routes to Asia saw an increase of 4.9 per cent.

Specific scheduled routes that experienced growth in December included Bratislava (up 1728.5 per cent), Barcelona (up 260.4 per cent), Murcia (up 187.3 per cent), Faro (up 173.1 per cent), Geneva (up 120.3 per cent), Paphos (up 99.6 per cent), Arrecife (up 57.5 per cent), Chambery (up 19.1 per cent), Gothen-burg (up 18.5 per cent), Glasgow (up 18.3 per cent) and Newcastle (up 17.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, charter destinations which experienced increased passenger numbers were Malta (up 196.2 per cent), Bulgaria (up 53 per cent), Madeira (up 52.8 per cent), Egypt (up 24.3 per cent), Barbados (up 7.6 per cent) and Canaries (up three per cent).