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Direct Flight to Tenerife 29 September 2004

On 12 October, a gleaming blue and white Astraeus Boeing 737 will take off from Isle of Man Airport, taking 115 Freedom Travel Manx holidaymakers on a direct flight to Tenerife - and making Airport history. As the new generation jet sets course for its 1753 mile journey to the Canary Isle resort off the west coast of Africa it will be embarking upon the longest ever commercial holiday flight to depart from the airport.

Flight time for this historic flight is 4 hours and 19 minutes, an airborne time that would take the aircraft two thirds of the way to New York. It has been made possible by the combination of an enterprising Isle of Man based Tour Operator, Freedom Travel, working with one of the UK's leading charter airlines, Astraeus and using the higher advanced 700 series Boeing 737. The aircraft, built in 2002, has the best performance of any aircraft in the popular 737 family and it is for this reason that the jet is able to take off from the comparatively short Isle of Man runway to commence such a long flight.

Despite the 737-700's superb performance, the 1736m runway restricts Freedom Travel from filling all of the available seats. The aircraft can carry as many as 148 passengers, but the extra fuel required for the long flight to Tenerife means that over 30 seats have to stay empty, and the aircraft will carry 11.5 tonnes of fuel for the flight. All 115 available seats have been sold, and there is a waiting list for cancellations.

Commercial Operations Manager of Astraeus, Rob Johnson, commented:

"We have operated a growing programme of holiday charter flights year-on-year on behalf of local tour operators such as Freedom Travel and are pleased to be involved in offering residents of the Island non-stop flights to European destinations and further afield." He added, "It is a shame that the full 148 seats of the aircraft could not be filled. Even just an additional 100 metres of runway would enable an improvement in the passenger numbers we could carry to destinations like Tenerife."

Jan Wozniak, Managing Director of Freedom Travel underlined the importance of this flight, saying:

"This charter to Tenerife has sold very well, proving that there is an ever increasing demand for direct holiday flights to European holiday resorts. We are planning further charters to enable Manx residents to avoid having the hassle of changing planes at UK Airports."

Airport Director, Philip Pain is delighted to see the development of these non-stop direct flights from the Airport and said:

"This, and other similar flights from the Isle of Man, confirms that the demand exists for long distance holiday charter flights, and that more seats could have been sold. We are currently undertaking a runway feasibility study to ensure that we are able to cope with the future range of air transport aircraft to meet the air travel needs of the Island."

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