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Island airports deliver passenger growth for HIAL

18th July 2014

Photograph of Island airports deliver passenger growth for HIAL

Passenger numbers at HIAL's regional airports grew by almost 8000 during the last quarter, with the group's island airports driving growth.

Latest figures for the last quarter (April - June) show that passenger numbers at HIAL’s 11 airports grew by 7806, an increase of 2.2% on the same quarter last year.

All of HIAL’s island airports recorded growth, with Sumburgh recording an extra 9634 passengers (+13.9%), due to higher demand for scheduled services and continued growth in the energy sector, and Stornoway handling an additional 2049 passengers (+6.3%) as demand for services to the mainland increased. Barra was the fastest growing airport in the group, with a 22.1% increase in passenger numbers, representing an additional 569 passengers. Benbecula attracted an additional 717 passengers (+9.1%), while Kirkwall handled an extra 1047 passengers during the quarter (+2.2%). At Islay, passenger numbers grew by 2.9%, representing an additional 234 passengers.

An additional 1034 passengers used Inverness Airport during the period (+0.6%) as demand increased on the Amsterdam, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, the Western Isles and Northern Isles routes.

Passenger numbers at Wick John O’Groats fell during the quarter by 39.3% compared to last year, which was an exceptionally busy year as a result of a major but short term helicopter contract. A new contract has recently been agreed and should result in further growth.

At Dundee, a new Public Service Obligation service to London Stansted was launched at the end of March and, as with any new service, the initial uptake has been slow. As a result, passenger numbers at Dundee fell by 27.6%. Passenger numbers were also down slightly at Campbeltown.

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL, said: "It is very encouraging to see our smaller island airports driving growth across the group. The increased demand for island services is particularly good news for those local communities and underlines the role our airports play supporting the economic growth of these areas.

"The energy sector continues to drive growth at Sumburgh, where HIAL is investing in improved facilities, and the launch of a tender process to build two new aircraft to serve Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree is further good news for the long term future of air routes for these communities.

“Growth at Inverness was relatively modest during the quarter, but with increased capacity planned on existing Birmingham and Manchester services, both of which are proving increasingly popular as long haul connecting hubs, and new services to London City and Dublin due to begin in October, we are confident that demand at Inverness will grow."


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