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18th January 2013

Photograph of HIAL AIRPORTS END 2012 ON A HIGH

Scottish regional airport operator HIAL ended the year on a high with an increase in passengers in December and in 2012 as a whole.

Latest figures show that HIALs 11 airports handled 1,283,362 passengers in 2012, an increase of 3.1% on the previous year.

Sumburgh was the fastest growing airport, up 13.2% in the year, followed by Barra (+9.0%), Tiree (+6.8%), Campbeltown (+5.9%) and Wick John OGroats (+5.1%).

Islay enjoyed modest growth of 0.2%. Passenger numbers fell at Kirkwall (-0.1%), Stornoway (-1.0%), Benbecula (-1.6%) and Dundee (-11.2%).

Inverness, the groups busiest airport, ended the year with 614,302 passengers, an increase of 3.4% on 2011, with much of the growth the result of increased demand for flybes popular Amsterdam service. Recent figures suggest that around 13% of passengers are using the service to connect on to destinations across the world with flybes codeshare partner KLM.

A new marketing campaign, featuring a New York city style yellow taxi, has been launched to promote Amsterdam as a global hub for the Highlands.

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL, said: We are very pleased with our growth record in 2012, particularly given the difficult economic conditions of the past year. There has been a marked growth in oil related traffic at Sumburgh and Wick John OGroats, while Inverness has continued to benefit from the success of its Amsterdam service. We believe there is scope to expand the frequency of this service and enhance the global connections available via Amsterdam.

There is clearly more work to do to attract new services to Dundee and we have been in discussion with a number of carriers. However, given the prevailing economic conditions, it is likely to be some time before we make progress.

Meanwhile, there was a 4.4% increase in passenger numbers in December with 94,707 passengers across the group, compared to 90,674 in December 2011.

Wick John OGroats was the fastest growing airport, with a 91.1% increase in passenger numbers as a result of oil related helicopter and fixed wing traffic. Similarly, oil sector charters and refueling activity helped boost passenger numbers at Sumburgh by 41.3%.

Barra, Kirkwall and Tiree also recorded increased traffic, with passenger numbers up 10.9%, 11.8% and 5.9% respectively.

Dundee recorded a drop of 52.8% following the withdrawal of scheduled services to Belfast and Birmingham. At Inverness, passenger numbers fell by 4.3%, a combination of schedule changes and weather related cancellations.

Numbers also fell at Benbecula, Campbeltown, Islay and Stornoway.

2012 Calendar year passenger totals:
BARRA 11,432 (+9%)
BENBECULA 36,173 (-1.6%)
CAMPBELTOWN 10,389 (+5.9%)
DUNDEE 55,531 (-11.2%)
INVERNESS 614,302 (+3.4%)
ISLAY 27,253 (+0.2)
KIRKWALL 160,527 (-0.1%)
STORNOWAY 129,016 (-1.0%)
SUMBURGH 199,583 (+13.2%)
TIREE 9,583 (+6.8%)
WICK JOHN OGROATS 29,573 (+5.1%)

December passenger totals
BARRA 608 (+10.9%)
BENBECULA 2,672 (-4.6%)
CAMPBELTOWN 560 (-17.5%)
DUNDEE 2,042 (-52.8%)
INVERNESS 42,251 (-4.3%)
ISLAY 1,306 (-12.4%)
KIRKWALL 11,552 (+11.8%)
STORNOWAY 9,677 (-3.5%)
SUMBURGH 18,887 (+41.3%)
TIREE 615 (+5.9%)
WICK JOHN OGROATS 4,537 (91.1%)

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

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 and Zurich. Popular holiday destinations in Portugal, France and Italy are also served from Inverness (summer 2013).

The company employs more than 500 people across its 11 airports, and at its group headquarters in Inverness.


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