The success of The Tangerines, otherwise known as Blackpool F.C., has had a positive effect on the local aviation industry, according to Noel Hayes, chairperson at Isle of Man airline, Manx2.
Mr Hayes claims that the team’s promotion to the English Premier League has been “welcomed by hundreds” of football fans on the island, many of which regularly make the trip between the Isle of Man Airport in Ronaldsway, and the Bloomfield Road Stadium in Blackpool. So great is demand for flights from the island to the northwest of England, that Manx2 has opened up a new home at Blackpool Airport, its first ever base outside the Isle of Man and Ireland.
Manx2 has been a guest at Blackpool since 2006, when it launched a “shuttle service” between the holiday resort and its homeland. The airline initially put on two daily flights, but that number has increased to four a day (and three on a Saturday) in recent years, as the route’s popularity soared.
Despite the carrier's ongoing presence at the Lancashire hub, Manx2’s recent expansion marks the first time that the commuter airline has based crew and aircraft, a single L-410 Turbolet built by Czech company, LET, at Blackpool on a permanent basis. “We have attracted many visitors from the northwest region who choose to use Blackpool as a convenient gateway to the Isle of Man,” Noel Hayes explained. The chairman also noted the popularity of a route to Belfast from Ronaldsway, which is attracting customers from both sides of the Irish Sea.
However, the coming winter could upset Manx2’s plans for its Blackpool-Isle of Man route. The airline was forced to ground all eight of its aircraft on Thursday last week, after “storm force” winds ripped through the island, uprooting trees and creating enormous waves.