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Bumper TT boosts June Airport Passenger Figures 8 July 2011

A bumper Isle of Man TT, for air travel to and from the Island, has resulted in a better than expected increase in passengers using the Isle of Man Airport during June. 72,500 passengers passed through the Airport last month, an increase of 6.5% over June 2010, making this the best June for four years for airport passenger numbers. The 12% increase in traffic over the TT period, when compared with 2010 TT air passengers, was the primary driver for the successful June. However, the second half of the month also enjoyed a small increase, a reassuring result for Minister of Infrastructure, Phil Gawne, MHK.

"Whilst I am delighted that the Airport has benefited from a highly successful TT this year, I am particularly pleased to note that the recent underlying trend of declining air traffic was not reflected last month," he said. "We have been watching carefully traffic performance as our recent passenger numbers have struggled in the face of tough austerity measures in UK, and really, for the first time this year, we are seeing some positive signs of improvement."

It was the key North West routes that provided the major increases. The Liverpool route, jointly operated by Flybe and easyJet experienced a huge increase of nearly 3,600 passengers, over 28% up on 2010. Moreover, Flybe's Manchester service also increased - by 1,360 passengers or 12.6% - and the Manx2 Blackpool route maintained 2010 levels with 2,240 passengers. Together, this boosted North West traffic by over 5,000 passengers during the month.

Other routes also performed well with Belfast City and Southampton both up by over 50%, Gloucester by 11%, Leeds and Jersey by over 8% and Birmingham up by more than 5%. One of the major increases was for charter traffic which surged by a staggering 61%, as almost 1800 passengers flew to from the Airport on charter flights in June.

Airport Director, Ann Reynolds was particularly pleased with the result of the initiative to generate more holiday charters direct from the Island during 2011. "Only two months ago, charter passenger traffic through the Airport was just over 200 passengers for the month. Our comprehensive selection of holiday destinations for 2011 have sold outstandingly well, and the result has been that almost 8 times as many passengers have flown on our charter services during June as we had in April," she said. "This has exceeded expectations, to the point that one operator, Atlantic Holidays has, over the last few days, decided to launch an additional flight to their specialist destination, Madeira, in October this year."

Ann also added that, whilst monthly passengers had struggled to achieve forecast levels during 2011, these had been exceeded during June for the first time this year. "We were looking for an overall increase of about 3.7% last month, and I am delighted that we have exceeded that expectation by almost 3%," she explained. "It has been a very tough first half to 2011 for domestic air travel, and routes to the Isle of Man have been no exception. Whilst it is too early to predict a continuation of this improvement, this is the first indication of a possible reversal of the recent trend, and the solid performance of the second half of the month has reinforced this hope."

The June results brought the increase in passengers for the first half of this year to almost 18,200, a rise of 5.65% over the first six months of 2010. However, this figure should be viewed cautiously as the volcanic ash cloud in April and May last year decimated air travel to and from the Island.

Phil Gawne also commented that the much of the recent improvement seems to have originated primarily from business traffic which, after the period of economic downturn has shown an encouraging resurgence. "June’s figures were over 3% better than in June 2009 – an ash free year. Our airlines are telling us that, whilst the leisure traffic is still difficult to attract – primarily because the tight financial situation amongst many families – business traffic is beginning to show signs of improvement," he added. "The exception, of course, is the tremendous support that Manx people have given our improved charter programmes to the Mediterranean, where the hassle-free option of flying directly from the Isle of Man to the resort, without the worry and cost of additional flights and connections whilst keeping an eye on children and struggling with luggage, have really caught everyone's imagination. I am pleased with this response as it will certainly help us to retain and grow our direct charter operations in the future."

Please click below to access Monthly Air Traffic Summary for June 2011

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