Stansted has been named as a top five European airport for registering the highest growth in direct flight connectivity over the past five years.

The Essex airport recorded a 43% increase in the number of direct flights offered from the airport since 2013, the year Manchester Airports Group acquired Stansted.

The figures are detailed in the latest Airports Council International Europe annual airport industry connectivity report.

The growth rate placed Stansted fifth in the list of large airports – those serving more than 25 million passengers a year – experiencing the most rapid growth during the period.

Key direct destinations added just in the last 12 months include Dubai, New York, Boston, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, Reykjavik and Corsica.

Stansted chief executive Ken O’Toole said: “In the five years since MAG acquired Stansted, annual passenger numbers have increased by nearly ten million to in excess of 26 million a year driven by a 25% increase in the number of destinations served (over 190) and a doubling of the number of airlines using the airport (22).

“Stansted is the best-connected UK airport for flights to Europe and the latest ACI connectivity report is clear recognition that we are achieving our aim to provide even more choice of direct and convenient air travel for the east of England and London catchment we serve.

“During 2018 we have already extended our route network with new long-haul flights now available to Dubai with Emirates in addition to Primera Air’s services to New York, Boston, Toronto that will soon be joined by direct flights to Washington DC later this summer.

“We’re also working hard to add more destinations, including services to China, India and the west coast of the USA.

“This year we will be the fastest growing major London airport and with limited spare capacity at other airports in the south-east, Stansted will deliver 50% of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade.

“Given this anticipated growth, we have applied for permission to raise the number of passengers we serve to 43 million a year, with a firm commitment to do so without any additional flights or noise impacts beyond our current permissions.

“We are also investing £600 million to ensure the passenger experience at the airport is an efficient, comfortable one as we continue to grow.

“We know that we have even more potential, not only as an economic driver for the region but also by providing greater international connectivity to UK plc.

Attracting an airline of Emirates’ calibre is recognition not only of our investment plans but also the strength of our catchment and the opportunity that our available runway capacity provides airlines looking to grow in the UK.”