Latest passenger numbers have continued to remain depressed at Southampton Airport but its Managing Director David Lees has told Eastleigh News the airport is weathering economic headwinds far better than other regional airports and is optimistic that new routes for 2013 will lead to growth.
A report to the Joint Airport Consultative Committee which met earlier this week revealed that passenger demand remained subdued with numbers down 7.5% year on year.
August’s figure of 175,891 is almost 14% down on the August 2007 monthly of 204,359.
In 2006 the airport master plan had predicted there would be three million passengers in 2015 growing to six million by 2030.
Eastleigh Borough Council had hoped this would create up to 9,000 new airport related jobs at Riverside Park but since 2008 passengers numbers have struggled to rise above 1.8 million as the global recession impacted on air travel worldwide.
Managing director David Lees said:
“Like many UK airports we have seen a reduction in passenger numbers this year due to the global recession. We were also impacted by the Jubilee and Olympics, when people chose to stay at home rather than travel. Southampton Airport has seen a much lower level of decline than some other regional airports, and our passenger numbers over the last few years remain relatively steady.
“In 2012 we have seen the introduction of a regular Barcelona flight, which will be taken over in 2013 by Flybe, which has also introduced a new route Nantes starting later this month. We will see some growth in 2013 with our tour operators, with Thomas Cook offering packages to Verona in 2013 for the first time from Southampton, in addition to Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza. Thomson has also announced that it will offer holidays to Majorca in 2013.
“Earlier this year KLM announced a partnership with Flybe which will mean passengers can travel to 100s of worldwide destinations, starting and ending in Southampton. We are expecting business passengers and the city’s large International Student population to take advantage of the ease of starting and ending their long haul journey at their local airport.”
The committee also heard that noise complaints were up 64% for the period May to August but were still 77% down on the same period in 2010.
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