German flag carrier Lufthansa carried record numbers of passengers to and from Birmingham Airport last year.

The airline took 484,503 travellers in 2011, an increase of almost 19 per cent on 2010.

Lufthansa will start a new 12 times a week service to Hamburg on May 2, followed by a new daily flight to Berlin on June 3 to coincide with the opening of the new Berlin-Brandenburg “Willy Brandt” Airport.

Christian Schindler, Lufthansa’s general manager UK & Ireland, said: “Our passenger growth out of Birmingham in 2011 proves that the vast majority of travellers still want the added value they receive from a full service airline.

“They know when they book with Lufthansa the price they pay includes the option to check-in online or at the airport, the ability to take a reasonable amount of luggage and they also enjoy good quality food and drink on board the aircraft, with no hidden extra cost.

“As well as offering passengers quick and easy access to many of the main German cities we continue to ensure that our flights to and from Birmingham offer the shortest possible onward connection times to our worldwide network through our main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich as well as our developing mini-hub at Dusseldorf.”

Overall in 2011, a total of 106.3 million passengers flew with the airlines in the Lufthansa Group, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Bmi and Germanwings, a new record showing growth of 7.5 per cent compared with the previous year.