Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

'Disappointing' Isle of Man Airport passenger figures

Image caption The airport predicts 2010 passenger numbers to be 4% lower than 2009

The director of Isle of Man Airport has told of her "disappointment" after passenger numbers fell again in July.

Ann Reynolds said that 63,500 passengers used Ronaldsway in July, but that was 1,300 less than in July last year - a fall of 2%.

The drop follows falls in June, May and April, which have been attributed to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud and the recession.

Ms Reynolds said all airports had experienced "slow return to growth".

'Impossible task'

She said: "With the recession, the winter weather and the ash cloud behind us, we were frankly forecasting the recovery in passengers using the airport to be quicker than has proven to be the case.

"We had predicted a small increase for July as we expected that confidence would gradually return to the air travel industry and, whilst things are going in the right direction, we are not there yet.

"We are not alone with this and other airports are finding the return to growth also to be slower than expected."

She admitted that the 30,000 passengers lost during the first seven months of the year had "left an almost impossible task" to achieve 2009 passenger levels for 2010.

"We started the year with high hopes that a moderate 5% to 6% increase in passenger traffic could be generated during 2010," she said.

"We have periodically revised our forecasts and, in the light of the latest evidence of a slow recovery over the latter part of the 2010, we are now looking at a decrease this year of about 4%."

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