Passenger numbers will more than double to five million by 2037 under expansion plans unveiled today by Southampton airport.

A six-week public consultation will seek feedback on a draft master plan which sets out a long-term vision for growth from 2.1 million passengers handled last year.

The development of a runway starter extension as well as the expansion of the existing terminal building are part of the scheme which forecasts annual aircraft movements to rise by almost 50% from 39,300 last year to around 58,000 by 2037.

The expansion outlined over the next 20 years includes a runway extension, new taxiway, an enlarged terminal, more aircraft stands and up to 4,000 additional car parking spaces

A wish-list of 15 new routes is outlined as having “substantial potential” including to Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Madrid, Berlin, Copenhagen, Venice and Prague. Combined they have a total passenger demand from the Southampton catchment area of two million passengers a year.

The ten most popular routes from the airport in 2017 were Edinburgh, Manchester, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Jersey, Guernsey, Dublin, Belfast City, Newcastle and Paris.

The airport currently handles just ten airlines and tour operators serving 41 destinations in 14 countries.

The master plan outlines how the airport aims to support more than 1,500 jobs, up from 950 now, and contribute £400 million annually to the local economy by 2037. It also details the way the airport plans to grow in a “responsible and sustainable” manner.

Managing director Neil Garwood said: “Our master plan details the investment and development required to not only maintain, but importantly how to improve our region’s future connectivity and economic prosperity.

“There are constraints which we must, together with our local communities, overcome if we are to realise our ambition.

“Southampton airport has one of the shortest runways in the UK and is unable to provide the same breadth of European air services that other regional airports can offer.

“We are therefore keen to address this to allow us to provide an enhanced choice of air services to European destinations for our customers and the region as a whole.”

He added: “We are fully committed to growing the airport responsibly and looking forward to hearing ideas on the continued development of our airport.”

A previous master-plan was published in November 2006, following public consultation. Since then the airport has grown to handle a record 2.1 million passengers in 2017.