Pas­sen­ger num­bers soar at Scots air­ports

The Oban Times - - News -

HIGH­LANDS and Is­lands Air­ports Ltd (HIAL) en­joyed an­other year of record pas­sen­ger num­bers at its 11 air­ports across Scot­land in 2016.

The lat­est fig­ures show a to­tal of 1,606,168 trav­ellers used HIAL air­ports dur­ing 2016, an in­crease of 154,375 pas­sen­gers on the 2015 to­tal of 1,451,792 – a rise of 10.6 per cent.

In­ver­ness Air­port fur­ther il­lus­trated its pop­u­lar­ity and in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role to the High­land re­gion and econ­omy by wel­com­ing 796,854 pas­sen­gers in 2016, a 17.4 per cent year- on-year rise in pas­sen­ger num­bers from 2015, when it had 678,683 pas­sen­gers – an in­crease of 118,171 pas­sen­gers.

The rise is thanks in part to con­tin­ued in­ter­est in Euro­pean routes to Geneva, Zurich and Dublin, and in­creased traf­fic to UK air­ports such as Manch­ester.

Greater con­nec­tiv­ity to hub air­ports, in­clud­ing Lon­don Heathrow and Schiphol, Am­s­ter­dam, con­trib­uted to its suc­cess.

Bri­tish Air­ways and its Oneworld part­ner­ship op­er­ates the In­ver­ness-Heathrow route, with Dutch op­er­a­tor KLM and its SkyTeam part­ners op­er­at­ing the flight from In­ver­ness to Schiphol.

Ro­bust growth was ob­served at eight of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s 11 air­ports across Scot­land. Sum­burgh Air­port on the Shet­land Is­lands saw an ad­di­tional 19,186 pas­sen­gers, due to reg­u­lar sched­uled flights sup­port­ing the oil and gas sec­tor, and an in- crease in off­shore traf­fic us­ing the air­port.

Barra Air­port, which cel­e­brated its 80th an­niver­sary in sum­mer 2016, saw pas­sen­ger num­bers in­crease by nearly a fifth (19.1 per cent) for the year, while Tiree Air­port also recorded a hike of 18.6 per cent in ad­di­tional pas­sen­gers, both due to ad­di­tional ro­ta­tions to these pop­u­lar hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions.

Dundee Air­port pub­lished ex­em­plary growth fig­ures for 2016, with an ad­di­tional 15,982 pas­sen­gers opt­ing to fly from the Tay­side fa­cil­ity to des­ti­na­tions in main­land Europe and the UK – an in­crease of 69.6 per cent on 2015’s pas­sen­ger fig­ures.

An an­nounce­ment on the 2017 Lon­don route is due shortly.

Pas­sen­ger num­bers de­clined at Wick John O’Groats and Stornoway due to re­duced de­mand from en­ergy sec­tor ser­vices to and from Aberdeen.

Camp­bel­town recorded a nar­row fall in an­nual pas­sen­ger num­bers of 1.1 per cent.

Strong de­mand on the Glas­gow-Is­lay route was largely re­spon­si­ble for a 2.9 per cent in­crease in pas­sen­ger num­bers to the is­land air­port, with Kirk­wall also log­ging an iden­ti­cal year- on-year growth per­cent­age for 2016.

Ben­bec­ula Air­port also ben­e­fited from its con­nect­ing flights to and from Scot­land’s largest city, with a mod­est in­crease of 33 pas­sen­gers (0.1 per cent) recorded by the end of the year.

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