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Plymouth City Airport bucks aviation trend

22nd September 2008 - 01:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Plymouth City Airport has been ranked as the second fastest growing airport in the country after official figures revealed a 31% increase in passenger numbers.


The impressive growth has been attributed to the introduction of new flights earlier this year to Glasgow, Newcastle, Dublin and Cork by Plymouth-based law fare regional airline Air Southwest.


Civil Aviation Authority figures just released for June show a 31% increase in the number of passengers using the airport, compared to the same period last that more than 9,000 people used the airport in June, a 31% increase on the same time last year. This compares with a national average drop in passenger numbers of 1%.


Mike Coombes, deputy chief executive of Air Southwest, said: " There's been a lot of doom and gloom around about air travel recently so it's good to be able to report that Plymouth is bucking the trend.


" All our new routes have been very well received. Glasgow is proving especially popular for business travellers, particularly with marine-related businesses, and for short breaks in Scotland.


" Newcastle has also seen a lot of marine and Naval-related traffic, and we're seeing a lot of customers take advantage of the city's legendary nightlife and its proximity to the Northumberland coast and national park.


" Our Cork and Dublin routes, which were historicallypreviously operated by another carrier, have also proved popular following their reintroduction and 40% of these customers are inbound visitors attracted by golf, fishing, sailing and the region's fine food, which is a welcome boost to the local economy.


" No-one would deny that these are difficult times for the aviation industry and we've had to absorb hefty hikes in fuel prices like everyone else, but unlike some operators we have several things in our favour.


" We operate smaller, fuel-efficient aircraft specifically designed for the routes we fly and that means we burn 30% less fuel on average than a jet doing the same journey. It also means our aircraft are easier to fill, so we're not flying empty planes.


" All of this helps us maintain our starting fares at just £239 one-way, and our transparent pricing policy means there are no hidden extras. Our customers appreciate that, especially in the current economic climate, and we want to build on that success."


Facilities at the airport have been recently upgraded with the addition of a new Executive Lounge for Air Southwest's business customers. Mike Coombes commented: " Business Plus is our flexible fare for business travellers, with a range of benefits on the ground and in the air. The new Executive Lounge provides a peaceful haven for our business customers, and further demonstrates our commitment to improving air travel facilities for Plymouth."


As a special "taster" offer, members of the city's Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been offered free use of the Executive Lounge until the end of December, regardless of ticket type purchased. More information is available from the Chamber offices.


Plymouth City Airport now serves 10 destinations. As well as the new routes introduced this year, Air Southwest flies to London Gatwick four times a day, seven days a week, and has regular services to Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Jersey and Bristol.


And from December 20 Air Southwest will run a new weekly service from Plymouth to the French ski resort of Grenoble.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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