The number of passengers flying in and out of Isle of Man airport rose by more than 15% last year.

But the total is still far short of levels since before the Covid pandemic.

A total of 649,342 passengers passed through Ronaldsway in 2023, up 15.44% on the 562,490 seen in 2022.

This compares with 865,617 in 2019, the last full year before Covid hit.

During the pandemic, air passenger numbers slumped as a result of the three lockdowns and other travel restrictions, reaching just 166,501 in 2020 and 187,383 in 2021.

Many routes saw increased traffic last year.

Budget airline easyJet saw passenger numbers rise by 17.8% to 122,470 on its Liverpool route, by 6.6% to 159,721 on its Gatwick route and by 31.4% to 69,183 on its Manchester route. Its new-for-2023 Belfast International route saw 8,824 passengers but numbers on its Bristol route fell 12.1% to 27,081.

Overall, easyJet had a 70.8% share of all passenger traffic last year, with a total of 398,430 passengers, up 13.8%.

Loganair’s share was 32.4% with 181,996 passengers.

The Scottish airline saw increases on its London City, Edinburgh and Manchester services, up 7.2%, 15.4% and 31.4% respectively, but its Liverpool service dipped slightly by 2.8%.

Emerald’s Dublin route saw an impressive 53.2% increase from 25,287 to 38,738 but its Belfast City service dropped by 9.3% from 22,012 to 19,975.