During 2021, in response to concerns over the Island’s connectivity by air following the disruption to aviation more generally throughout the COVID pandemic, the Department for Enterprise (DfE) was directed by the Council of Ministers to seek an independent review of Isle of Man Air Services. Following a competitive procurement process, Steer were appointed to undertake the review and report back to Government.
The purpose of the review was to inform the development of a future long-term strategy which would seek to secure air services which meet the economic and social needs of the Island.
Since the review report was received, work has continued across Government led by the Department of Infrastructure (DoI) with support from other Departments including DfE. This has included the establishment of a Strategic Air Group (SAG) which monitors the core strategic routes and makes recommendations to the DoI Minister as required. Additionally, an open market approach to airlines has been undertaken to assess both interest and ability to provide services on the Island’s core routes, focussing initially on the North West and London regions.
The report was held back from publication pending completion of this initial market testing process, however, the version of the report now being published was issued to all airlines participating in the process.
Progress continues to be made through close dialogue with airlines, with a number of key routes being secured, together with an increase in regional connectivity being delivered, throughout 2023. The long-term securing of frequent and resilient air services, which provide choice and flexibility for business and leisure travellers, remains a priority for Government in line with the ambitions of the Island Plan and Economic Strategy.