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Buoyant TT traffic helps to reduce expected airport passenger shortfall

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The 4% increase in passengers during the TT period helped to reduce the expected Isle of Man Airport passenger shortfall for June. Passenger numbers had been forecast to be down by as much as 6.6% as the lack of the Southampton route, together with an initial single daily frequency for the London City service and a reduction in flights to Luton, meant that over 5,400 fewer passengers used the three routes alone. However, in total passengers passing through the airport in June reached 70,578, a fall of just 1,925, or 2.7%.

As well as the boost that came from a successful TT, other key routes performed well during June. The Flybe service to Gatwick saw an increase of almost 1,900 passengers, a 16% increase, their Manchester route was up by almost 500 or 4%, Birmingham by 4% and Bristol by 34%. The new London Oxford daily flight exceeded expectations in its first full month, carrying almost 700 passengers and Loganair’s new weekly service to Norwich proved highly popular with the 252 passengers filling almost 80% of the seats available.

Airport Director, Ann Reynolds, sees the relatively small reduction in passengers as a positive outcome for the month.

'I will have to admit to having some concern about expectations for June Airport performance, despite the excellent TT traffic levels,'

she said.

'Firstly, even with the newly introduced Oxford, Norwich and initial single daily British Airways London City services, we were almost 10,000 seats short of June 2011 capacity to South-East England, and this was during the month where seats were desperately needed. Secondly, June 2011 was our best June for four years with a 6.5% increase, making it a tough target to match this year. So a 2.7% reduction is an outturn which is not only better than expected, but provides some optimism for the future.'

North West routes also again saw an overall increase with over 31,200 passengers using the Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool routes, some 500 more than in June 2011 and the best month for the North West for six years. However it was Manchester and Blackpool that set the pace with increases, whilst Liverpool virtually matched the 2011 level.

Charter traffic also showed a marked improvement of 31%, primarily due to the slightly later scheduling into June of the flights to the Mediterranean, more of which last year departed in late May. Added to this was the fact that many of the 11 flights during the month to the 6 destinations departed full, underlining the popularity that the rapidly expanded direct holiday programme from the Island to a choice of sun spots has enjoyed recently.

From 28 June, the British Airways CityFlyer London City route that commenced in May with a single daily flight, settled into the three flights daily business service, adding a further 1,000 seats and 13 extra return flights weekly between the Isle of Man and London.

Departmental Member for Ports, David Callister MLC, recognises the importance of the restoration of this key route for the Island’s business community.

'The ability for the Island to again enjoy a direct link to London’s business and financial centre served by London City Airport is vital and I am delighted that the triple daily service is back in operation,'

he said.

'By the end of this year the Island will have its best ever choice of services to London with the BA London City route complemented by Flybe’s four daily Gatwick and five weekly Luton routes, the new daily London Oxford service with together with, from October, a new easyJet operation to Gatwick. A truly remarkable choice of flights, aiming at all market levels, linking the Island with the South East.'

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