Stansted wants to secure new long-haul services to destinations in China, India and the US.

The disclosure came as latest figures showed the airport joining London rivals Heathrow and Gatwick in recording its busiest October.

More than 2.5 million passengers used the Essex airport, an increase of 8.8% on the same month last year.

An additional 205,000 passengers used Stansted compared with October 2017, boosted by the start of school half-term holidays and the final weeks of airlines’ summer timetables.

The Stansted performance compares with 2% growth at Gatwick last month to more than four million passengers and Heathrow up 4.4% to seven million.

The seven months of the summer flying schedule saw almost 18.5 million passengers travel to and from Stansted, an increase of 1.5 million over the same period last year.

The arrival of a number of new airlines, including Emirates with a daily service to Dubai, plus increases in capacity by existing carriers such as Ryanair and Jet2.com, helped boost the total.

The 12-month rolling total now stands at more than 27.6 million passengers, up 7% on the previous year.

Stansted chief executive Ken O’Toole, said: “The record growth we have once again seen in October, and during the five years of MAG’s ownership of London Stansted, is testament to our ambition and commitment to re-energising the airport and making it more attractive to airlines and passengers.

“Stansted has been the fastest growing airport in the UK this year and this success highlights exactly why it’s important we plan and prepare now for more strong growth over the next decade.

“We are investing £600 million to transform the airport facilities for passengers and we are determined to secure more long-haul services to destinations across China, India and the USA.

“This week we will find out if our planning application to increase passenger numbers to 43 million a year within current flight and noise limits has been successful.

“A positive outcome will enable us to make best use of Stansted’s available airport capacity and sustainably deliver the next phase of the airport’s evolution.”