A surge in late demand for summer sun has helped Stansted record its busiest ever September, the airport has reported.

Nearly 2.7 million passengers passed through the Essex airport last month, 225,000 more than September 2017 – a 9.2% increase.

The rolling 12-month total to September 2018 increased by 6.9 per cent over the previous year to 27.4 million passengers.

September 2018 was the busiest ever September in Stansted’s history and saw Stansted service more passengers than it did in July 2017. The airport has now applied for permission to raise its capacity to take 43 million passengers a year.

There was a 57% rise in passengers flying to Antalya in Turkey, a 55% rise to Nice, France, 48% rise to Arrecife capital of Canary island Lanzarote, 46% increase in passengers to the Greek island of Rhodes and 46% rise to Paphos, Cyprus, and 39% rise to Alicante, Spain.

Stansted chief executive Ken O’Toole said: “Following our busiest ever peak summer season, we once again welcomed a record number of passengers during September as demand for convenient and affordable air travel continued to grow.

“As London’s fastest growing airport – and one of the fastest growing large airports in Europe – with a choice of nearly 200 destinations on offer, this September we not only saw more people take to the skies than in the same month last year, but it also beat the total for July 2017, traditionally one of the peak months of any summer.

“This growth is a clear reflection of how far we have come in the last year and why we have applied for permission to raise the number of passengers we serve to 43 million a year, backed by a firm commitment to do so without any additional flights or noise impacts beyond our current permissions.”

Stansted put the rise down to increased demand from families without school-aged children, couples and groups looking for competitively-priced holidays in the shoulder season.

Emirates’ service from Stansted to Dubai was also said to be proving “extremely popular”.