Southampton has been named Europe’s number one regional airport.

It received the accolade from the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) at the organisation’s general assembly in Madrid beating the likes of London City, Bern Airport, Leeds Bradford, Budapest and Rotterdam.

The announcement is the latest good news for the expanding airport which recently announced that 2016 had been its best ever summer with almost 430,000 passengers passing through its terminal in July and August, an increase of 14.6 percent on the same period last year.

Managing director for the airport, Dave Lees, said: “We are over the moon. It is a true testament to all the hard work that the team here at Southampton has put in over the past year.

“We would like to thank the ERA for this wonderful award and all the passengers who continue to travel through the airport, this award could not have been achieved without you.”

Simon McNamara, ERA director general, said: “Southampton Airport, the winner of this year’s award, has demonstrated extraordinary involvement with the local community, linking up with schools, introducing a new assistance desk and a seating area for passengers with reduced mobility and reducing its carbon footprint by 13 per cent, while at the same time growing and expanding in a highly competitive market. What a great achievement – huge congratulations to Managing Director David Lees and the whole team at Southampton Airport.”

So far this year four new airlines have started flying from Southampton, including KLM with worldwide flights via its hub in Amsterdam, bmi regional which launched a new service to Munich and Aer Lingus which launched direct flights to Cork.

It was also the first airport in the UK to offer scheduled flights with European based airline, Volotea.

Flybe alone announced five new routes from Southampton Airport this year including Biarritz, Lyon, Toulon, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Munich bringing the total number of routes served by Flybe from Southampton to 34.

The award for the airport underlines Southampton’s important as an international transport hub after the port was named the UK’s Best Departure Port for the eighth year running In the Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Picks Award.

Chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Stewart Dunn, said airport was an "essential ingredient" to the area's prosperity.

"We welcome this news for the airport which strives to give the business traveller and tourist passenger excellent service."

Airport fact file In 2015 the airport saw 1.8 million passenger pass through the terminal It contributed more than £100m to the local economy in 2015 The airport employs 200 staff and indirectly support more 1,000 jobs across the south It is currently home to eight airlines, over 10 tour operators and serves 39 European destinations