Top spot in the UK airports league for percentage growth, has been achieved by Exeter International Airport, with its first quarter passenger figures showing an amazing increase of 69% compared to the same period last year. On average, over 25,000 more people per month used the airport and the total quarterly figure topped 190,000.
In the three months from 1 April 2004, charter flights had an overall increase of 9% and passengers on the weekly Toronto flights were up 50% on those of last year. Another top destination has been Dalaman, with an extra 2,500 holidaymakers on the Turkish route during the same period, representing an increase of 85%. On scheduled services, the Isles of Scilly route with Skybus saw an extra 15% on the numbers for last year but the new flybe routes were undoubtedly the main reason for the huge increase on the scheduled routes.
The flybe routes to Alicante, Faro and Malaga together with the domestic destinations of Belfast, the Channel Islands, Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow have been responsible for nearly 100,000 passengers during the period. Mike Rutter, the Sales and Marketing Director, for flybe said: “We are extremely pleased with the performance of our routes out of Exeter International Airport. Established routes to Jersey, Guernsey and Dublin continue to grow month on month, while the new routes, together with bookings for the latest Newcastle service starting in the autumn, have had huge support which is great for us and great for people in the South West.”
The Executive Committee of Devon County Council, the owners of the airport for the past thirty years, recently decided to sell a majority stake in the airport to secure long-term investment and meet the requirement for a new passenger terminal. Councillor Richard Westlake, the Chairman of the airport’s board of directors, said: “These excellent figures show the airport to be in a very healthy state ahead of the negotiations for new ownership.Exeter continues its role as the premier airport for the whole of the South West and the region will benefit from the inbound tourism.”
Geoff Myers, Managing Director of Exeter International Airport, said: “These figures are even better than we had predicted. In percentage terms, the airport is the best performer in the UK for growth and our staff have adapted wonderfully to the challenges of increased passenger numbers.”