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2008 Airport Passengers Maintained At 2007 Level 8 January 2009

Figures released today show that, despite the collapse of EuroManx and the current global economic crisis, the number of passengers using the Isle of Man Airport during 2008 was essentially maintained at the 2007 level. 763,200 passengers passed through the Airport last year, just 0.16% fewer than 2007.

Minister for Transport David Anderson MHK said: ‘Given the difficulties that the Airport has encountered this year, this is a remarkable achievement. Firstly, EuroManx was responsible for carrying over a third of our passenger traffic and its demise in May immediately had a huge affect upon the Airport’s traffic. Secondly, the economic downturn has hit all European, especially UK, airports with substantial decreases recorded in the latter part of 2008. Whilst this is bound to reflect upon air travel to and from the Island, we are, so far, faring better than many UK airports.’
Ann Reynolds, Airport Director said: ‘Over half of the 21 scheduled destinations operated from the Isle of Man recorded increases in passengers in 2008. As well as their new services to Geneva and Newquay, Flybe’s routes to Gatwick, Luton and Manchester all showed improvements. The Manx2 routes to Belfast International, Blackpool and Gloucester, coupled with their new route to East Midlands achieved positive results, as did Loganair’s Edinburgh service and the Blue Islands’ route to the Channel Islands.’
Not surprisingly, the major decrease was to London City which, having achieved over 66,000 passengers in 2007, managed less than 30,000 in 2008 due to the closure of EuroManx. However, this situation will be rectified this month as Aer Arann commences a three times daily service to the City Airport from 19th January. The withdrawal of the Bristol service has meant a loss of more than 10,000 passengers, but this was more than made up for by the increase of almost 12,000 passengers on the Manx2 Gloucester route. One of the factors that enabled the 2008 outturn to match that of 2007 was that the December passenger numbers were significantly better than expected, with 58,700 using the Airport, less than 7% down on December 2007. A fall of double this level had been predicted, in line with the double digit decreases that UK airports are now seeing. In particular, the Flybe Liverpool and Gatwick routes held up well, both averaging three quarters of the seats filled over the month, and both the Luton and Manchester routes were almost 70% full. Manx2’s Gloucester flights were more than 25% up and their Blackpool and Belfast International routes saw big increases on 2007.
‘During 2008, we also continued to see our network expanding with three new routes being introduced,’ added Ann. ‘The Manx2 East Midlands route added more than 5,600 passengers to our 2008 total as well as providing a much needed link. Flybe’s seasonal routes to Newquay and Geneva have been so successful that these have been expanded, with Newquay having doubled the number of flights in 2009. Flybe is also looking to start a new summer Saturday service direct to Jersey this year. We are still striving hard to retain and build upon our already comprehensive route network, and the reintroduction of a frequent service to London City by Aer Arann this month is evidence of the continued confidence that airlines have in the Island, despite the downturn.’
Mr Anderson was also pleased with the 2008 results for the Airport. ‘We are under no illusion about the challenges faced by the air transport industry as a whole, and the Isle of Man air service network in particular during these difficult times,’ he said. ‘However, it is not only reassuring to see 2008 holding up so well, but also very encouraging to be able to start 2009 so positively.’ ENDS

(Please click below to see see Monthly Air Traffic Summary for December and the full year 2008.

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