Southend airport hit a milestone of more than one million passengers last year as passenger numbers rose by a quarter over 2016.

The 25% boost in popularity was partly attributed to an increasing awareness of the quick and hassle free experience of travelling through the Essex airport, less than a hour from central London by train.

Top destinations in 2017 included Rennes in France and Amsterdam.

Top predictions for summer 2018 include Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula in Croatia, Prague and Malta.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of airport owner Stobart Aviation, said: “Reaching over one million passengers is an important moment for us.

“2017 saw us make important additions to the retail offering in the terminal as well as adding a significant number of new routes – with more still to come – some providing a time and cost-effective way for our passengers to connect to North America and Canada.

“In addition to new routes, passengers are also increasingly deciding ‘small is more beautiful’ and prefer the relaxed, simple, easy and speedy airport experience we can offer rather than the bigger airports – so we are looking forward to an even better 2018.”