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March 2008 Air Passenger Figures 8 April 2008

For the fifth month running, the number of passengers using the Isle of Man Airport has increased over the same period last year. March 2008 saw an 8.3% increase in traffic with over 67,100 passengers passing through the terminal. This means that in the first quarter of 2008 over 11,800 more passengers used the airport, an increase so far this year of 7%.

This continuing trend has been welcomed by Isle of Man Airport Director, Ann Reynolds. “The last couple of years have been a tough period for air passenger growth for the Isle of Man, and it is very encouraging to see another month of increased activity,” she said. “Whilst we must take into account the early Easter holiday period and its inevitable impact on our March passenger figures, the fact remains that the Isle of Man Airport has looked after almost 12,000 additional passengers during the quietest period of the year. It is a promising sign for the coming summer, and with new routes and increased frequencies, I am very optimistic for the future.”

Again, the North West England routes generated over 1,700 additional passengers with both Manchester and Blackpool showing increases of 21% and 25% respectively. The Island’s Scottish routes to Glasgow and Edinburgh, operated by Loganair, also soared by over 20% and Aer Arann’s Dublin route increased by 17%. The Flybe route to Luton, which doubled in frequency to twice daily at the end of March, showed great promise with 1,750 passengers carried, boosting London traffic to over 20,000.

The services to UK regional destinations continued to demonstrate the importance of expanding the range of destinations served from the Isle of Man. The new Manx2 route to East Midlands performed better than expected, as did their Gloucester route, prompting the airline to add flights to the schedules of both destinations. Another airline which has responded with additional flights because of increased demand has been Blue Islands with their operation to the Channel Islands, which saw a 30% rise in March traffic. The new weekly Geneva ski service operated almost three quarters full – impressive for the first season.

“I am particularly pleased to again see the success of the regional links,” said Ann. “East Midlands was launched in early March and to carry 540 passengers with the flights well over half full in the first month is an excellent start. We start our 21st route – to Newquay – next month and the signs are promising that this summer service will also be successful. This, together with more flights on our Birmingham, Luton, Liverpool and Manchester trunk routes should ensure that the upward trend continues throughout 2008”.

The news of increased passenger numbers comes at a time when the Airport has launched an initiative to make airport charges more cost effective for airlines in order to encourage lower fares to and from the Island. “We are making our existing charging structure even more attractive to airlines willing to offer competitive fares on our routes,” explained Ann. “With a greater choice of routes, increased frequencies of flights, and an encouragement to offer even lower fares, we believe that we can help to make the Isle of Man a competitive destination for short breaks, as well as supporting the needs of residents,” she added.

(Please see Monthly Air Traffic Summery for March 2008 below)

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