Edinburgh airport achieved its busiest ever month on record in July with more than 1.5 million passengers handled.

The figure represented a rise of 6.3% on the same summer peak month last year.

It was the first time the 1.5 million passenger barrier has been broken at a Scottish airport

International numbers rose by 7.3% year-on-year to just over one million while domestic traffic was up 4.3% to almost 500,000 as 24 new international and one domestic route were added.

Ryanair was a major contributor operating 13 new routes while Jet2 introduced four new destinations.

A new United Airlines service to Washington DC attracted strong passenger numbers while long-haul routes were added to Beijing with Hainan Airlines and Tel Aviv by Israir.

Last month’s performance gave the airport a rolling annual total of 13.8 million passengers.

Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said the figures show an increase in passenger demand of 60% over the past five years.

“That growth is something we should be proud of as it delivers wide-ranging benefits for the country through job creation, tourism spend and business growth, but it also means we need to keep growing our infrastructure and build that additional capacity to cater for those increased numbers,” he added.

“We have invested huge sums already to keep up with that demand and are now for the first time in a position where we’re ahead of that curve thanks to a terminal expansion which will see us grow our passenger capacity to more than 17 million.

“That headroom is welcome and is a position we want to stay in and aim to do so through continued investment.

“Part of that wider picture is the need for improvements to the external infrastructure as well and that is an ongoing discussion with various partners as we must change and grow to maximise the opportunities that the airport brings.

“This extension is the beginning of a longer period of investment in our airport. Growth is our main strategic challenge and we will develop in order to enable growth for Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole.”