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April 2008 Air Passenger Figures 7 May 2008

Against a global background of economic slowdown and reduced air travel, the Isle of Man Airport has recorded an 11.3% rise in passenger numbers in April 2008 compared with the same month last year.

The UK airline industry as a whole has experienced a difficult April, which has been attributed to the credit squeeze and the timing of the Easter and spring holidays. Whilst some of the IOM routes have suffered, the overall trend for Isle of Man air travel continues to be positive. This is primarily due to the rapid growth of routes between the Island and Northwest England with all three – Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool seeing increases. Liverpool was up by 26% to over 14,000 passengers and Manchester passengers rose to over 12,500, an increase of 25%. Overall, over 28,000 passengers flew between the Island and Northwest England during April.

Airport Director, Ann Reynolds comments “We have seen a steady increase in the number of passengers using the Isle of Man Airport over the past six months and we are hopeful that this trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future. So far this year, passenger numbers have risen by over 19,000 – an 8.5% increase – and this is a remarkable achievement given the industry trends and the economic environment.”

The 2008 summer season for air travel was launched in April and this prompted a substantial boost to the number of scheduled service flights to and from the Island. There are now eight daily flights to Liverpool provided by both EuroManx and Flybe, and the Manx2 route to Blackpool has been enhanced by their ‘Freedom to Fly’ initiative which now offers 21 weekly departures. The Luton and Birmingham routes operated by Flybe, have increased from once to twice daily to each destination, whilst Eastern Airways continues to offer their three daily flights to Birmingham. The successful Gloucester route also has two extra weekly flights and Manx2 has added a Saturday flight to the recently launched East Midlands service.

“April saw a massive 25% rise in the number of scheduled flights when compared with April 2007,” added Ann. “The major increases in capacity have been to our primary destinations in London, the Midlands and the Northwest and we are conscious that at a time when air travel nationally and internationally is relatively flat, we should be cautious about the provision of too much capacity. However, the enthusiastic response to the more frequent flight options to and from the Northwest has underlined the popularity of the Isle of Man and the highly competitive fares on these routes have stimulated demand.”

Ann also noted that the increase in London traffic, despite the re-introduction of the Luton service, has been only slight. “There is a strong indication that business traffic to London and the South East has been hit by the economic slowdown, with both the Gatwick and London City services experiencing decreases of around 17%,” she said. “We will be keeping a careful watch on this important sector of our network which has recently seen strong, steady growth.”

(Please see Monthly Air Traffic Summery for April 2008 attached)

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