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Optimism Grows as Airport Records Passenger Increase 16 December 2009

The number of passengers passing through Isle of Man Airport in November increased over the same month last year. With the exception of June this year – a month mainly affected by the change in TT fortnight - this is the first monthly increase recorded for fifteen months, and reflects the continuation of a positive trend towards the recovery in passenger traffic for the Airport. Over 1,200 more passengers passed through the Airport in November, an increase of 2.4% over November 2008.

The increase has boosted the confidence of Airport Director, Ann Reynolds, in the belief that 2010 will prove to be the year when passenger growth returns to the Airport. ‘These November results are very reassuring as they not only signify our first return to positive year-on-year growth for some time, but, in keeping with recent months, the November performance remains ahead of our predictions’ she said. ‘Whilst I am under no illusion that recovery will be anything other than slow and steady, I feel optimistic that 2010 will see a significant improvement over this year.’

An important feature of the Airport’s November results is that, of the 17 routes that were operated almost 60% showed growth over November 2008. Belfast City, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Jersey, Leeds and Newcastle all of which had seen declines in recent months, experienced growth and Liverpool was up for the fourth month in succession. Particularly pleasing was the Newcastle route which took over in August and is now showing a healthy 10% growth, whilst their Belfast City, Blackpool and Gloucester routes also continue to do well. Aer Arran’s London City route, introduced in January, equaled a November record set in 2006 with 5,526 passengers. Flybe carried slightly more passengers on the Birmingham route than a year ago, despite now being the only airline operating the service, increasing their own traffic to the Midlands by 40%. Also of key importance was that links to the North West and South East regions of the UK – responsible for 70% of Isle of Man air passengers - both showed increases in traffic with over 300 more passengers flying to the North West and nearly 1,000 more to London Airports.

As airlines and tour operators have now placed their 2010 flight programmes on sale, the opportunities for the coming year for both visitors to the Island and residents taking a break are better than ever. The Freedom Holidays direct Majorca and Menorca holiday flights provide a choice of departure dates throughout the summer for the first time ever and The Regency Travel Paris breaks with Aer Arann in February are selling well. Flybe put its new service to Bristol on sale during November and has already increased their number of weekly flights to Newcastle.

‘As everyone knows it has been a very tough time for the travel industry as a whole and I am now looking forward to an exciting period of rejuvenation with these new developments,’ added Ann.

Minister of Transport, David Anderson, underlined the advantages of the wide choice of destinations from Ronaldsway. ‘Our strength remains the diversity of destinations offered from the Island and it is pleasing to note that, not only have we been able to retain this wide choice, but we are building upon it for the coming year. This is not only fundamentally important for the Island’s tourism and economic development, but provides residents with links to virtually every region of the UK - and now to popular European holiday destinations too.’

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