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Isle Of Man Passenger Numbers Holding Up Well 5 August 2008

Despite the combined effects of higher fuel prices hitting air travel demand, and the closure of Euromanx in May, Isle of Man July air passenger numbers have held up well. More than 67,000 passengers passed through the Airport during the month, a small increase of 0.6% over July 2007. This means that for the year so far, passenger numbers have increased by 3.6% when compared with the first seven months of 2007.

Whilst the figures are encouraging, a number of the passengers flying in July were re-booked EuroManx passengers, which has helped to improve the July outturn. The loss of EuroManx has already had an impact upon overall numbers, particularly to London City, which suffered a reduction of almost 80% with more than 4,600 fewer passengers flying on the route. At the same time, traffic to the North West of England showed an increase of almost 800 passengers, with Manchester up by 9.3% and Manx2’s Blackpool route increasing by 10.5%.

Ann Reynolds, Airport Director of Isle of Man Airport, was generally pleased with the July results. “We were predicting a 1.5% decrease in passengers for July and it is reassuring that we have managed to exceed the July 2007 total,” she said. “I believe that this indicates that the Isle of Man is able to sustain a strong and robust air passenger market, despite the UK and global downturn in air traffic. It is also comforting to see that the important North West market is slightly up and, although the loss of EuroManx on the London City route has hit us hard, London traffic is about the same as July 2007 with the success of the Luton service. “Concerted efforts continue to be made by the Airport to restore the important morning and evening return flights to London City. VLM is maintaining its schedule on the route, but an Isle of Man day return facility to the City Airport is badly missed. We are in no doubt about the economic importance of an Isle of Man originating London City route to the business community. Whilst there is firm interest from airlines to operate this route, there are a number of real difficulties to be overcome, including the availability of the key slots needed at London City. We are in close liaison with the business community, interested airlines and London City Airport in our effort to reinstate these valuable flights.”

Many of the small routes continue to do well despite the economic downturn. In particular, the Blue Islands service to Jersey and Guernsey carried more than 1,000 passengers for the first time, increasing by 54% compared with July last year. Gloucester, with Manx2, also recorded the highest monthly result so far with 1,567 passengers using the route.

Flybe, which now carries more than 70% of the Island’s air traffic, had a good month, with the Luton route having more than two-thirds of the seats filled and Gatwick three-quarters full. Its Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton flights were also well booked, with over 60% of seats occupied.

“I am delighted that Flybe is recording such promising results on its Isle of Man routes at a time when, nationally, seat sales are declining,” added Ann. “It is vitally important that the Isle of Man market continues to go from strength to strength for Flybe so that it has the confidence to build on its existing route network from the Island in the future.”

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

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