14:50

Best Airport performance in six years

Passenger numbers up by almost 7%

Passenger numbers up by almost 7%

Exeter Airport is celebrating its best performance in six years with passenger numbers up by almost 7% to more than 800,000.

Figures just released show that the airport handled 816,379 passengers in 2015, compared to 763,902 the year before, an increase of 6.9%. The last time the airport had more than 800,000 passengers was in 2009.

Exeter Airport managing director Matt Roach said: “This is our third year of sustained growth and reflects the first full year of the daily London City service, the return of flights to Newcastle, and increased frequency to Manchester.

“Investment in airport facilities including fast track security and our executive lounge has enhanced the passenger experience, and we continue to work directly with the business community through our Exeter Connects initiative to stimulate business travel.

“Looking ahead, this year will see the introduction of year-round flights to Alicante and Malaga thanks to a deal between airport owners Regional & City Airports and Flybe, plus the introduction of a new Flybe service to Norwich.

“Exeter Airport plays a crucial role in the region’s economy and following the recent announcement of the East Devon Enterprise Zone we look forward to playing our part in its success.”

Since June 2013, Exeter Airport has been owned by Regional & City Airports (RCA), the airport division of Rigby Group plc, which also owns Norwich International Airport and Coventry Airport.

In October last year RCA announced a partnership deal with Flybe to safeguard and extend Exeter’s sunshine routes using an Embraer 195 aircraft. This will include year-round flights to Alicante and Malaga in Spain from March.

And only last week Flybe confirmed the launch of new direct flights from Exeter to Norwich, also in March, saving hours on the equivalent journey by road or rail. The route is being supported by the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.

Exeter Airport supports some 3,000 local jobs and contributes an estimated £150m GVA to the local economy, not least through the skilled workforce based on site and the related supply chain.