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August 2008 Air Passenger Figures 9 September 2008

August passenger figures just released from Isle of Man Airport again show a slight increase in passenger numbers over August 2007. The rise of nearly 600 passengers, or just less than 1%, is encouraging, given the current downward global trends in air transport and the substantial impact that the closure of Euromanx in May had upon the numbers of airline seats available from the Island.

August is traditionally a peak month for air travel to and from the Isle of Man and with more than 69,200 passengers passing through the Airport, this was the second busiest month so far this year. Not surprisingly, the route showing the greatest reduction in passengers was London City, which before May was flown four times daily by EuroManx and VLM and is now operated just once daily by VLM. As a result, more than 4,500 fewer passengers were carried on the route during the month. However, the Luton route, reinstated last October, exceeded expectations with almost 5,000 passengers in August.

Ann Reynolds, Airport Director, confirmed that the Airport was continuing to strive to restore the improved frequency needed for the London City route. “Following discussions with many of the Isle of Man businesses that have relied upon the London City route, we are continuing to work hard to restore a double daily frequency at the very least,” she said. “We are conscious of the huge value that a day return service to London City has for the Island, especially the finance sector, and the loss of the EuroManx flights on the route has hit the monthly passenger numbers for the Airport hard.”

On the Island’s North West routes, traffic was down on the Liverpool route, but much of this reduction was offset by both Manchester and Blackpool recording increased passenger numbers, despite reduced seat capacity with the closure of Euromanx. Once again the smaller regional routes were generally strong, with Continues:- Manx2’s routes to Belfast, Blackpool, East Midlands, Leeds and Gloucester all showing growth, the latter recording the highest number of monthly passengers, at almost 1,600, since the route began a year ago. Loganair’s Edinburgh service continued to do very well with a 22% growth and the Channel Islands’ link was up by 6%. The recently introduced Flybe summer service to Newquay generated 550 passengers and was well over 70% full in August.

“I am very reassured by, not just the good performance of these important services, but by the solid overall position of the Airport in August,” added Ann. “This is underlined by the fact that many of the routes had load factors of more than 60% - that is, they were well over 60% full - with Flybe’s Gatwick, Newquay and Southampton routes all with load factors of more than 70%. Manx2, Loganair and Aer Arann also recorded high load factors in August and this is very reassuring in terms of our route stability.”

However, Ann continued to express caution with regard to the forthcoming winter period. “The whole of the aviation industry is predicting a substantial downturn during this coming winter,” she said. “Whilst Isle of Man routes will doubtless also experience lean times, we are working closely with airlines to try to minimise the impact on the frequency of Isle of Man air services due to high fuel prices and the economic slowdown.”

(Please see Monthly Air Traffic Summary for August 2008 attached).

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