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Passenger Numbers Increase At HIAL Airports

16th April 2012

Photograph of Passenger Numbers Increase At HIAL Airports

Passenger numbers at Scotland's regional airports continued to grow last month, boosted by the success of Inverness Airport's flagship Amsterdam service and growth in the oil sector.

Figures released by HIAL, which operates a network of 11 airports across Scotland, show that passenger numbers across the group rose by 4.1% to 98,109 in March.

Inverness, one of Scotland's fastest growing airports, recorded an 11.5% increase in passenger numbers as a result of heightened demand for services to Amsterdam and London Gatwick. The city's Amsterdam service now operates daily to Schipol Airport, connecting passengers to hundreds of worldwide destinations.

Increased oil sector traffic boosted passenger numbers at Sumburgh (+6.2%) and at Wick (+19.7). Tiree recorded the largest percentage increase of the month, up 34.7% against March 2011, during which the airport suffered a number of scheduled cancellations. Numbers rose slightly at Stornoway (+0.4%) and at Islay (+3.6%).

Passenger numbers at Dundee fell by 17.1% due to reduced capacity on its London City route. Numbers were also down at Kirkwall (-9%), due to the reduction in the winter schedule as well as weather related cancellations. Barra, Benbecula and Campbeltown also recorded a drop in passenger numbers.

In the 12 months to March, passenger numbers across the group rose by 8.7% to 1,258,452.

Sumburgh recorded the strongest growth, up 14.6% over the year, followed by Inverness, up 12.8%, and Stornoway, where passenger numbers have increased by 9.1%. Over the past 12 months, passenger numbers at Dundee have fallen sharply, down by 14%.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL, said: "The continuing growth in passenger numbers is good news for the regional economy and suggests that market conditions are gradually improving after a difficult period for the industry.

"We are particularly pleased with the strong growth at Inverness Airport which has been fuelled by the success of the city's new Amsterdam service. With a daily direct link to one of the world's key hub airports, Inverness and the Highlands are better connected than ever to Europe, the Gulf, Asia and beyond.

"With the return this summer of Lufthansa and Helvetic Airways, flying to Dusseldorf and Zurich, the choice for Highland passengers is set to improve further."

He added: "We are committed to growing passenger numbers across the group and we are investing heavily across our 11 airports to deliver an improved experience for our passengers and airlines."

About HIAL
HIAL operates a network of 11 airports across Scotland: Barra, Benbecula, Campeltown, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.

HIAL airports support vital social and welfare air links to otherwise remote communities across the Highlands and Islands, including provision of Scottish Air Ambulance and Search and Rescue services.

The airports also serve the economic and commercial interests of regional Scotland, supporting oil and gas helicopter operations, lighthouse maintenance and Royal Mail services.

The HIAL group connects regional Scotland to a network of more than 30 UK and international destinations, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, London, Southampton, Jersey, Amsterdam, Bergen, Dusseldorf and Zurich. Popular holiday destinations in Austria, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal are also served from Inverness.

The company employs almost 600 people across its 11 airports, and at its group headquarters in Inverness.

In 2011, the group handled more than 1.15 million passengers.

Over the past year, HIAL has invested around 14 million on new capital infrastructure including runway resurfacing, refurbishment of air traffic control facilities and terminal improvements.

March 2012 passenger totals -

Barra 652 (-6.2%)
Benbecula 2,908 (-5.0%)
Campbeltown 742 (-12.2%)
Dundee 4,882 (-17.1%)
Inverness 45,414 (+11.5%)
Islay 2,283 (+3.6%)
Kirkwall 12,130 (-9.0%)
Stornoway 11,129 (+0.4%)
Sumburgh 14,316 (+6.2%)
Tiree 764 (+34.7%)
Wick 2,889 (+19.7%)

Wick Airport


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