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Start of Luton Route heralds Passenger Recovery 16 November 2007

Sunday, 28 October saw the first departure from the Isle of Man Airport of the revived Luton air service, re-introduced by Flybe, and indications are that the restoration of this vital air link could herald a reversal of recent passenger trends at Isle of Man Airport. Figures for October released this week show that whilst total passenger numbers were down by just 1,779 for the month, the shortfall on Luton for the month was almost 4,000 passengers. 190 passengers flew on the first two return Luton flights at the end of October, and in October 2006, nearly 4,200 passengers used the service.

Advance bookings for Luton are promising and, whilst it will take a significant period for passenger numbers to approach previous levels, early indications are that 1,500 passengers a month could be generated over the winter period and, with a daily operation, this could rise to over 3,000 monthly by the middle of next summer.

Ann Reynolds, Airport Director, has been encouraged by the early performance of the route. “We have been very much aware of the impact that the lack of Luton has had upon our overall passenger figures this year,” she said. “We estimate that the resultant shortfall could be as much as 40,000 passengers this year, even taking into account those who have had to transfer onto other London services. It was wonderful to re-launch the route, and particularly exciting to see the first flight departing from Isle of Man with every seat filled.”

Other routes have also shown promise during October. Dublin, operated by Aer Arann, has seen steadily improving passenger loads in recent months and in October, over 400 additional passengers used the route, an increase of over 13%. The Flybe route to Gatwick generated over 2,200 more passengers than in October 2006, up over 22%, and their Southampton service was up 84% with 1,660 passengers using the south coast link. EuroManx carried 26% more passengers between the Island and Manchester, contributing to a greatly improved Manchester route performance overall, in comparison with recent months.

Manx2 who now fly to five destinations from the Island, again had an outstanding month with their route to Gloucester (M5) as almost 1,300 passengers took advantage of the new south west double daily link. In addition, the combination of Manx2 and EuroManx provided a high frequency of flights to Belfast, and generated over 3,700 passengers to both International and City Airports, an increase of 650 over October 2006. “Whilst there is still some way to go to reverse recent downward trends, I am cautiously optimistic that we should see improvements in passenger numbers in coming months,” added Ann. “I have been particularly pleased with the performance of the smaller regional routes so far this year and I am hopeful that we will see volumes to our primary markets in the north west and London begin to recover. We have tried to focus on broadening the range of destinations offered from Ronaldsway and have successfully encouraged three new routes over recent months, but it is essential to strengthen our primary destinations and we are working closely with our airlines to achieve improved route performances.”

(Please see Monthly Air Traffic Summery for October 2007 on page 3 below)

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