Malta International Airport hosted 208,896 passengers in February, an increase of 8.1 per cent over the same month last year, according to results published on the Malta Stock Exchange.

In its announcement, MIA said February’s results were due to an increase in aircraft movements increasing seat capacity increase by 3.1 per cent over last year.

February also saw a significant increase in seat load factor, the percentage of filled seats on each flight, to 75.9 per cent (72.5 per cent in same month last year).

“This is another reminder that the passenger growth we are seeing in Malta is steady, consistent and year round,” CEO Alan Borg said.

He added that winter traffic so far, from November 2014 to February 2015, had grown by over 43,000 passengers, an increase of 5.1 per cent over the same period last year.

The airport’s winter season officially ends on March 28.

Nearly half of last month’s growth came from traffic to and from Italy, with an increase of 7,046 passengers and a

17 per cent uplift from 2014. This was mostly due to increased capacity on the Catania route and an overall seat load factor increase across most Italian destinations.

The French and Turkish markets also grew considerably compared to last year, with an increase of 35.6 per cent and 55.8 per cent respectively.

Traffic from Turkey is on an upward trend, which should continue to grow, based on Turkish Airlines’ recent announcement that frequency to Malta International Airport will increase from the current five flights a week to 13 later on this year.

Growth was also registered in the UK and German markets (3.9 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively).

The maximum take-off weight also increased by 3.3 per cent and cargo and mail also grew by 4.1 per cent.