Passenger figures at the Isle of Man Airport in 2017 were the highest on record.
Annual statistics published by the Department of Infrastructure also show a significant increase in the number of people using the Island’s harbours.
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK has welcomed the strong demand for air and sea services as a positive indicator for the Manx economy.
A total of 807,426 passengers passed through the Airport last year, topping the previous record set in 2005 by 772 (0.1%).
The solid performance of the Island’s main markets contributed to the 2017 figure, which represents a rise of 3,603 passengers (0.45%) compared with 2016.
The North West routes saw a new high of 397,300 passengers, with Liverpool registering an increase of 16,600 and Manchester 7,000 during the year.
The number of air travellers using the London routes increased to more than 250,000 overall, with 10,200 more passengers flying to the capital than in the previous 12 months. This figure was boosted by the start of summer flights to Luton, which will resume from the end of March, and an increase of 14,300 passengers on the Gatwick route.
Other markets, including Birmingham, Dublin and Bristol, also performed well and although some smaller regional routes were affected by the closure of CityWing, other operators stepped in to offer new destinations.
Ann Reynolds, Director of Ports, said:
‘The continued strength of the North West market is particularly encouraging and the figures demonstrate that air and sea routes can grow side by side. The airlines have added capacity and frequency on major routes to reflect demand and stimulate new business. In terms of our sea services, Liverpool moved ahead of Heysham in 2017 to become the most popular destination for ferry passengers.’
Statistics for 2017 showed that 614,456 passengers passed through the Island’s sea ports, an increase of 17,438 (2.9%) compared with 2016.
Almost 584,000 people travelled on scheduled ferry sailings, representing 94.9% of the overall figure and an increase of 3.4% on the previous year.
The Liverpool route carried almost 21,700 more passengers than Heysham, while the Dublin and Belfast sailings saw increases of 23% and 11.6% respectively.
Tim Baker MHK, DOI Member with responsibility for Ports, said:
‘Our air and sea links with the United Kingdom are absolutely vital to the economic and social wellbeing of the Isle of Man. The record-breaking performance at the Airport is very encouraging and continues the upwards trend in passenger numbers. We will continue to work with our carriers to build on these impressive figures in the years ahead.’