Airport’s business is hotting up to pre-recession level

TAKING OFF From left, on the runway at Southampton Airport, Portsmouth City Council's head of development Stephen Baily, the council's strategic director for regeneration Kathy Wadsworth, Southampton Airport's managing director Dave Lees and council chief executive David Williams
TAKING OFF From left, on the runway at Southampton Airport, Portsmouth City Council's head of development Stephen Baily, the council's strategic director for regeneration Kathy Wadsworth, Southampton Airport's managing director Dave Lees and council chief executive David Williams
Chirk Aqueduct and railway viaduct.

Travel: Peace and quiet reigns in border country where battles once raged

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IT may have been hot at home, but the number of passengers flying out of Hampshire’s only airport to find more exotic places to lie on the beach has reached a five-year high.

Southampton Airport has seen more than half a million passengers pass through its departures and arrivals gates in just the three months of May, June and July this year.

The airport says the summer figure is the largest since the credit crunch began to really bite in 2008, and tourists cut down on plane travel because of tightening purse strings and rising air traffic taxes.

Dave Lees, the airport’s managing director, recently welcomed city leaders from Portsmouth to the airport to forge closer ties to the city and its tourist attractions and promote the area.

He said: ‘We are one of the best connected airports, and our size means people can come and go quickly without any hold-ups.

‘We might be called Southampton Airport, but we’re only really 20 minutes away from Portsmouth so it makes sense to work together with the city to help increase tourists.’

He added: ‘We’ve seen some very positive trends recently as passenger numbers steadily rise.

‘A combination of increased flights to some of our popular sun routes, some competitive pricing and offers from our airlines and tour operators, and the long, cold winter may all have contributed to the increase in holidays.’

Summer sun routes to Spain, Portugal and Majorca have seen the biggest increases in passenger numbers, with flights to Jersey and Alderney also increasing. City breaks to Scotland and mainland Europe continue to be popular, the airport said.