CLIMBING passenger numbers have pushed turnover at Leeds Bradford Airport to record levels.

The Yeadon hub saw passenger numbers rise by five per cent to nearly 3.5 million in the year to March 31 2016 and achieved a six per cent increase in turnover to just under £29.45 million. Losses narrowed from £8 million to £3.8 million.

The airport was used by 13 airlines flying to 64 destinations and airport bosses say the year-on-year increase was driven mainly by operators’ strong growth. Key partners included the expanding Jet2,com, Ryanair, Monarch, British Airways, which operates flights to Heathrow, Eastern Airways, Flybe, KLM, Air Lingus, easyJet and Thomson. New operators and new routes also helped drive growth.

Jet2 and Ryanair had announced expanded services for 2017 and airport chiefs are expecting passenger numbers to be even higher and its financial performance to strengthen further in the coming year.

The success of the Premier Lounge, improved car parking and higher retail business also boosted business.

In its annual accounts LBA, which was acquired by Bridgepoint Capital for £181million in 2007 when it was privatised, confirms that talks are being held with potential lenders about refinancing the business after current arrangements expire at the end of March 2017. Bosses are confident that expectations of further growth will see a deal being reached before that date.

Tony Hallwood, aviation development director, said LBA’s losses were due mainly to increased interest payments, operating costs and depreciation of assets but the underlying business was financially strong.

He said: “We are working on further improvements to the terminal building and surroundings this winter and spring to help increase capacity to meet growing demand. We had a strong performance last year and remain confident about the outlook with plans to grow further.”

LBA would work closely with local stakeholders to progress a masterplan to develop a new economic hub.