Slight Fall in Passenger Figures 12 November 2008
Passenger figures for Isle of Man Airport again saw a slight fall in October as the current economic downturn continues to affect air travel globally. October numbers were down 4.4% as 63,000 passengers passed through the airport terminal, a fall of 2,900 passengers over October 2007.
The fall in air passengers to and from the Isle of Man is broadly in line with the recently reported decline in passenger traffic at UK regional airports. In September passenger numbers across 18 British airports declined by 4.5%, the first drop in UK passenger traffic recorded for 20 years. Indications are that it is primarily leisure traffic that has experienced the greatest reduction. The decline for both the UK and the Island is expected to accelerate over the coming winter period.
However, the decline in air passengers for October was again less than forecast, as Ann Reynolds, Isle of Man Airport Director, explained. With a combination of the economic climate and the ceasing of Euromanx earlier this year, we were expecting a reduction last month of nearly 5,000 passengers over October 2007 - a 7.3% fall, she said. To have a reduction of less than 3,000, given all the adverse circumstances, indicates that the Islands air traffic is remaining relatively buoyant, especially in the business sector.
Routes experiencing the major declines included Liverpool, Belfast City, Southampton and Glasgow and the Bristol route, which ceased in January this year, also accounted for an 800 passenger shortfall. Nevertheless it remained the London City route, now reduced from four services daily to just one, that was responsible for a deficit of almost 5,000 passengers. It is interesting to note, however, that total traffic to London was less than 1% down, indicating that many passengers formerly flying to London City have had to transfer to the Gatwick and Luton routes, said Ann. We also remain very hopeful that the hard work we have put into encouraging the restoration of the frequent London City service will soon pay off.
Air services that performed well in October were Gatwick, with Flybe flying almost 13,600 passengers filling over 75% of the seats throughout the month, and the Edinburgh, Belfast International, Blackpool and Newcastle routes. The Luton route, reintroduced at the end of October 2007, generated 3,400 additional passengers, partly offsetting the loss of London City traffic.
Minister of Transport, David Anderson MHK, emphasised that the focus of the Departments efforts is to work with existing Isle of Man airlines through what will clearly be a very difficult period. We are conscious of the need to maintain existing routes and continue to support our air carriers to try to ensure that the Islands air service network remains strong over the coming months, he said. Whilst we have to be realistic about the affect of the current tough economic climate upon air travel to and from the Island, I remain optimistic about the longer term future.
(Please see Monthly Air Traffic Summary for October 2008 attached below)
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