Almost 780,000 passengers are set to use Manchester airport over the 11-day festive period – a figure described as being almost as busy as the peak of the summer season.

The projection covers the December 22-January 2 period and includes more than 22,500 passengers taking flights to Lapland on 132 extra departures this month.

A large proportion of the extra flights over the festive period will be serving airports in Finland – Ivalo, Kittila, Enontekio, Kuusamo and Rovaniemi.

The projections came as the northwest hub beat pre-pandemic 2019 traffic levels in November for the second consecutive month.

Almost 1.9 million passengers flew to or from the airport last month, compared to 1.6 million last November and 1.8 million in the same month in 2019. 

The airport reported that 99.7% of passengers queued for less than 15 minutes to get to security – with nine in 10 passengers getting to security in under five minutes.

The top destinations were Amsterdam (86,991 passengers), Dublin (86,617), Dubai (85,102), Tenerife (83,306) and Alicante (61,790).

Meanwhile, sister Manchester Airport Group airport Stansted served almost two million passengers, representing 104% of November 2019 traffic levels. Passenger numbers for both airports were up 7.5% and 13.8% year-on-year respectively.

East Midlands airport served more than 188,000 passengers across November, a figure which represented 91% of pre-pandemic traffic.

Service levels across MAG remain high in the build-up to the busy Christmas travel period, with almost all passengers passing through security in 15 minutes or less at Manchester and East Midlands, with the figure standing at 98% at Stansted.

Manchester airport managing director Chris Woodroofe said: “We serve more destinations than any airport outside London and that means we’re able to make Christmas wishes come true for thousands of people.

“We’ve worked hard this year to make sure people’s experiences of the airport are positive. 

“We’re now seeing demand for travel increasing beyond pre-pandemic levels but at the same time we’ve driven down the time people spend queuing to get to security to below 15 minutes for 99% of passengers.” 

The figures came as Heathrow reported handling 6.1 million passengers in November.