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Norwich airport holiday passenger growth despite turbulence overseas

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 September 2015

Norwich International Airport.
 Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Norwich International Airport. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Norwich International Airport has recorded an uplift in holiday passenger numbers, despite facing heightened turbulence in tourist destinations sparked by the terrorist attack in Tunisia and the Greek financial crisis.

The transport hub saw holidaymakers flying from the airport grow 2pc year-on-year, from just under 101,000 to close to a 103,000.

The expansion came in spite of the financial blow caused by its decision to cancel its chartered flight to Tunisia at the end of June when a gunman with links to the Islamic State shot dead 38 people near the city of Sousse.

Elsewhere, Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports all enjoyed their busiest ever month in August, with record-breaking passenger numbers.

Richard Pace, general manager of Norwich International Airport, said: “Over all we are having a good year. We are seeing growth in important areas, including holiday flights and our international hub connectivity. That is against a backdrop of the terrible situation in Tunisia which has had an impact on our growth profile. Despite the terrible events, we have still been able to grow year-on-year.

He said while the events in Tunisia forced the airport to cancel its chartered flight to the country, the Greek economic crisis did not impact the performance of its service to Corfu, which was performing well.

An upsurge in demand for private chartered flights from Norwich-based SaxonAir also handed the airport a boost, growing its general aviation activity by 40pc.

The airport also saw 5pc growth in passengers using the Amsterdam hub connection, which allows travellers from Norwich to connect to long haul flights from Schiphol airport. The growth was partly fuelled by the increasing number of international students travelling to Norwich to study at the University of East Anglia, Mr Pace said.

Across the UK, some 7.33 million people passed through Heathrow in August, up 4pc on the same month last year.

Gatwick Airport saw 4.53 million passengers last month - up 3.7pc on 2014.

Manchester Airport recorded 2.6 million travellers last month, making it the busiest in the airport’s 77-year history. The year-on-year rise was 5.05pc.

The airport’s managing director, Ken O’Toole, said: “This has been a truly astounding summer and the number of people flying from the north of England has surpassed all forecasts, providing a boost for our airline, tour operators and retail partners, as well as creating jobs and boosting the local economy as a direct result.

“We continue to work hard to ensure services and capacity match the demand that continues to grow across our broad and diverse catchment area.”

• Do you have a business story for the EDP? Contact business editor Ben Woods on ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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