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Exeter airport had just nine passengers in May


Just nine passengers passed through Exeter airport in May according to calamitous figures which show the depths of the travel crisis gripping Britain.

Traveller numbers plunged from almost 100,000 a year earlier, airport bosses revealed in evidence to East Devon Council as they sought a bailout.

There were still 99.5pc fewer visitors in July than last year and the airport faces a £620,000 bill for business rates.

East Devon Council has passed a support package which will allow £180,000 of the bill to be paid over the next three years – the maximum allowed under EU state aid rules.

The slump has been reflected across Britain including at huge hub airports such as Heathrow, forcing airlines and related companies to lay off tens of thousands of staff in a battle to survive as a golden age for air travel came to crashing halt.

Overall, passenger numbers at UK airports could plunge by 40pc year on year, according to Airlines UK’s forecasts for the 12 months to July 2021.

Exeter suffered the double whammy when regional airline Flybe collapsed in March followed by the pandemic that grounded  planes worldwide.

It is a dramatic fall from grace after 1m passengers used the site in a 12-month period for first time in 2019.


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