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Passengers call for government action over disruption to Gatwick flights

A campaigner says public confidence in the route is low, while a regular flyer says she's too embarrassed to recommend the Island to friends

Government needs to tackle the delays and cancellations affecting evening Gatwick flights to and from the Isle of Man if it wants to attract new residents to the Island.

That's from a campaigner seeking greater transparency on the disruption passengers face when using the route.

Tony Quine submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking details of delays and the cost of keeping the airport open late, but was told Ronaldsway doesn't hold punctuality data, while the late opening figures couldn't be released because they're commercially sensitive.

Having instead been directed to data from the Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Quine calculated that the Gatwick departure from the Island arrives at the London airport on time on just 12% of its flights.

His FoI did confirm easyJet was invoiced for an extension to Ronaldsway's operating hours 38 times in June and July.

Mr Quine has told Manx Radio public confidence in the route is really low, and that he's concerned government isn't taking action.

He believes the issues could be damaging government's hopes of growing the population:

You can hear Mr Quine's interview in full with Manx Radio's Christian Jones on the Manx Newscast.

Meanwhile, a Manx homeowner says disruption to flights means she's 'too embarrassed' to recommend visiting the Island to her friends.

Linda Neale lives off Island but owns a house here, and regularly travels here to visit family.

She was recently impacted by cancellations on the Gatwick route twice in five days, resulting in her having to book last minute with another airline.

She thinks government needs to do more to tackle the issue:

Last week, easyJet apologised to customers after reducing the number of flights on its Manchester and Belfast routes over the winter.

In November and December, the Manchester route will operate four days a week, while there are no plans for Belfast flights between 17 November and 22 December.

Manx Radio was contacted by Rosie, a Manx resident concerned about the cuts to the Belfast service. She told Manx Radio: "I've lived on the Island for almost 40 years and have always thought that when it comes to travel, people from Ireland have always been treated as second class, it's a disgrace and the MHKs don't seem to care."

In response to these concerns, easyJet said: "Like all airlines, we continually review our schedule and make some changes in advance to ensure we are best serving the routes our customers want to fly and, following a recent review, we have adjusted the frequencies between the Isle of Man and Belfast this winter. 

 "All impacted customers booked to travel have been notified and provided with options to rebook for free or receive a refund. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Manx Radio has invited the Isle of Man Government to respond to the issues raised by these passengers.

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