Liverpool John Lennon Airport has vowed to win over the one million Merseysiders who prefer to fly from Manchester Airport every year.
The plan is part of an overall strategy that aims to restore passenger growth at the airport, which lost one million flyers in 2013.
Chief Executive Matthew Thomas said: “About one million people a year fly to charter destinations from Manchester that could fly from here. We would like those passengers to fly from Liverpool. We now need to get more destinations served from Liverpool.”
The loss in customers comes after rival Manchester Airport started targeting airlines EasyJet and Ryanair, which have traditionally been Liverpool’s biggest customers.
Mr Thomas said: “Once Manchester introduced low-cost traffic, then of course people from the other side of Manchester would use the closer airport.”
Despite these figures, market research conducted by the airport shows that Merseysiders would prefer to fly from Liverpool rather than Manchester to support the Liverpool economy.
Mr Thomas explained: “90% of people living in Liverpool would prefer to fly from Liverpool than Manchester. There is a strong preference.”
Robin Tudor, a representative for the airport, told JMU Journalism: “Much is about the package holiday market, and here at Liverpool we have almost no package holidays with the large tour operators. Passengers tell us that they would much prefer to travel on holiday from Liverpool but can’t, as these flights only operate from Manchester.
“As a consequence we are targeting these tour operators to try to get them to run holiday flights from Liverpool to give the region’s holidaymakers a choice in future.”
In addition to these plans, the airport has been in urgent talks with its bankers after figures revealed annual losses of more than £7million in the year up to March 2013.