TEESSIDE International Airport has seen its best passenger numbers in 14 years on its Amsterdam route, latest figures show.

The figures from regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) saw the best monthly passenger numbers since 2005 on the KLM route, which connects Teesside with 165 international destinations via Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.

Ten per cent more passengers - 11,291 - flew on the route in September than during the same period last year.

And terminal passengers increased to 14,372, up 15 per cent on the same period the year before.

The airport was brought back into public ownership by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen earlier this year after striking a deal with previous owners Peel Holdings. The airport is now operated by private sector partner Stobart Aviation.

The company said the data showed that momentum was gathering behind the airport as it grows passenger numbers and attracts new routes.

Currently, KLM operates three flights a day between Teesside International and Amsterdam Schiphol,.

Kate Willard, Director of Partnership Development at Stobart Group, said: “KLM and Teesside Airport have a long-standing, successful partnership and we are delighted to see more and more people use the airport, showing the business and local community is backing Teesside International.

“Thanks to KLM, local people and businesses can get worldwide from Teesside, with the award-winning Amsterdam Schiphol airport connecting us to more than 160 global destinations, multiple times a day. We know how important this relationship is and we look forward to working ever closer with KLM to offer passengers the best connectivity we possibly can.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It has not even been 12 months since I bought our airport but we are already making significant progress with our 10-year rescue plan. Today’s announcement that we have some of the best passenger numbers the airport has seen in almost 15 years is proof that the plan is working.

“Before I was elected, there was a real risk of this airport closing, but now we are seeing double digit growth in passenger numbers for the KLM service to Amsterdam, and the most passengers in a single month for the airline for more than 14 years. There is still more work to do, but these figures show we are on the right track.

“This announcement also goes to show just how popular the airport’s Amsterdam route is with passengers, and emphasises, as we saw last month with a number of pupils from Redcar flying to Ghana via Amsterdam, that you really can go Worldwide from Teesside.

“In the space of just a few months, we’ve announced the first flights to Spain in seven years, more summer flights to Bulgaria next year, and there are more exciting plans in the pipeline that everyone is working very hard to make happen.

“Despite all the scare stories and negativity when I first made this promise to the people of the Tees Valley, this is further evidence that Teesside International Airport can be a success and return to its glory days.”