LIVERPOOL City Council has formally signed an investment deal with Liverpool John Lennon Airport to help it continue to grow into the future.The airport has seen an increase in passenger numbers, airlines and destinations served over the last year and now the council has become part of two joint venture companies to invest funds on the basis that it will make a commercial return.The council has acquired a stake in the airport in the form of shares and the investment will be used to further improve facilities for passengers and airlines and maximise the opportunity for the Airport and City Region to be a key gateway for the Northern Powerhouse.Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “John Lennon Airport delivers a huge economic boost for the city region, employing thousands of people directly and indirectly.“It is the gateway to the city from many destinations and it is absolutely vital that it continues to grow, create more jobs, boost economic growth and develop tourism. This opportunity to play a more active part in its future expansion and success makes it a sound investment for the city council.“This is part of our Invest to Earn strategy where we are able to make investments that deliver a return which we can then plough back into supporting council services. This funding can only be used for investments and we are not taking money away from frontline services for it.”Robert Hough, Chairman of Liverpool John Lennon Airport said: “We are delighted by the city council’s decision to invest in LJLA. This investment complements the council’s existing role in supporting the local and regional economy and allows the city to share in the financial success of the airport. They will bring strong support both financially and strategically, with interests aligned to those of Peel and the wider City Region.”The Airport is one of the City Region’s major employers, attracting inward investment and bringing significant tourism benefits, helping to boost the local economy and is an important driver of prosperity in the region.Passenger numbers at the airport in 2015 were eight percent up on 2014 – the highest since 2012 and are already over 20 percent higher for the year to date in 2016.