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IOM Airport Traffic Figures 'Encouraging'

by Jason Gorringe,, London

12 October 2010

For the second consecutive month, Isle of Man airport passenger figures have effectively matched 2009 levels, a further indication that traffic through the airport is beginning to pick up after a lengthy spell of decline.

In fact, there was again a minute 0.07% increase in September, as 63,473 passengers passed through the airport, 43 more than in September 2009. This repeated the 45 passenger, 0.07%, increase in August figures.

Ann Reynolds, the airport’s director, whilst remaining cautious about the September results, is confident that this second slight increase is a firm indication of longer-term improvements.

She said: “I commented last month that whilst it is reassuring to meet last year’s passenger levels, I believe we are just seeing the early indications of a steady recovery. I do not expect the real impetus of increases to be seen until early next year.”

“The next few months depends upon a number of key factors, one of which is the weather, which impacted us hugely last winter. Another is the progression of overall economic growth, not just for the Isle of Man, but for the UK and Europe. The business sector has cut back hugely on their air travel over the last two years, and we need to see this market returning to give our route network the injection of traffic it needs.”

According to the figures, much of the increase in September traffic is due to competition on routes to North West England generating an additional 2,430 passengers to Liverpool - a 22% increase, resulting in a 1,700, 6.6%, rise in North West passengers as a whole.

In addition, more passengers flew between the Isle of Man and North East England, for instance the Newcastle service recorded a massive 57% increase, while Leeds saw a reduction in traffic of 11%.

Meanwhile, traffic from the South declined. Of note was a substantial decline of 24% from and to London City. Traffic figures relating to Gatwick however were up 1.3% on September 2009.

“One of the encouraging aspects of the September results has been that many of our routes have seen improvements to their load factors, that is the percentage of seats sold,” added Ann. “The Flybe routes to Gatwick, Luton and Manchester have improved, whilst operated many of their routes at around 60%. This is fundamentally important to the airlines, who have tried to tailor capacity offered on each route as far as possible to match the reduced demand we have recently been seeing.”

Despite a fall in the number of chartered aircraft landing in the Isle of Man, charter traffic, in terms of passenger volume, again saw a significant percentage improvement with the highly-successful packages operated by Freedom Travel Holidays doubling its respective passenger numbers.

Freedom has just announced that they will be offering an expanded series of holiday flights direct from the Isle of Man throughout the summer of 2011. Minister for Infrastructure, Phil Gawne, said of Freedom’s expansion: “I am delighted that Freedom Travel, a Manx-based travel company, is taking the initiative to expand their programme for 2011,” he said. “The ability for our people to be able to take family summer holidays with a choice of destinations and departures dates, without the uncertainty and hassle of transferring over a UK airport, is a real boost for our Manx quality of life.”

TAGS: Isle of Man | aviation

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