THE number of passengers travelling by sea in May dropped by 1.1 per cent on the same month last year.
But this apparent fall has been blamed on the effect of last year’s Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, which saw more passengers having to travel by sea as some flights into the island were grounded.
Meanwhile, the airport recorded a 10 per cent increase during May, further highlighting the impact the volcanic ash cloud last year.
Almost 59,000 travellers passed through Ronaldsway, nearly 5,100 more than in May 2010.
Figures released by government’s harbours divison show there were 60,825 passengers and 17,496 vehicles through the port in May 2011, compared with 61,511 passengers and 16,801 vehicles in the same month last year. That equates to a 1.1 per cent drop in passengers but a 4.1 per cent increase in vehicles.
Over this year to date there have been 186,193 passengers and 53,089 vehicles. At the same point last year there had been 194,656 passengers and 53,313 vehicles, equating to a drop of 4.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.
The Heysham route showed a 5 per cent increase in traffic for May. It was a jump from 22,509 passengers to 23,624. But use of the Liverpool route was down by 9.3 per cent in May (35,248 passengers this year and 31,953 last year).
The Belfast route, too, showed a drop in May of 8 per cent. Dublin sailings, which didn’t run in May last year, carried 294 passengers this year.