Passenger numbers fell by 7.2 per cent at Birmingham International Airport last month but managers said it still out-performed rivals.

During January, the airport handled 521,566 travellers through its two terminals, including 424,912 scheduled passengers and 96,654 charter passengers.

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s chief executive officer, said: “As expected 2010 has begun in much the same way as 2009 concluded.

“The year-on-year decrease in passenger numbers of 7.2 per cent is still healthier than many other airports have reported, and I feel that the airport is better prepared for the turbulent economic conditions that will face us, as opposed to 12 months ago.

“Last year saw the completion of a number of high-profile projects, such as the new £50m International Pier, and investment will continue in the shape of a new state-of-the-art Airport Control Centre and the commencement of our £13m One-Terminal project. It is this ambition that will position Birmingham as well placed to take advantage of the economic upturn, whether that arrives later this year or in 2011.”

Destinations which saw a rise from the airport included Bratislava, Tenerife and Hanover.

Scheduled traffic accounted for 81.5 per cent of the total passenger traffic in January whilst charter passengers made up the remaining 18.5 per cent.