Published: 18/06/2012 10:37 - Updated: 18/06/2012 10:39

Passenger numbers on rise at Inverness Airport

Passenger numbers are continuing to increase at the region's main airport
Passenger numbers are continuing to increase at the region's main airport

Passenger numbers at the region’s airports are continuing to rise, boosted by growing demand for international flights.

Passenger data published today by regional airport operator HIAL – which operates a network of 11 airports across Scotland – show passenger numbers rose by 7.8% in May to 114,366.

The busiest airport in the group, Inverness, reported an 8.4% rise in passenger numbers, with 55,519 passengers through the terminal last month.

Numbers were boosted by the continuing success of the city’s Amsterdam service and additional Gatwick flights.

Seasonal flights to Dusseldorf and Zurich also took off last month and are expected to boost international traffic through the summer.

Meanwhile, a new code share agreement between flybe and KLM announced last month means that Inverness passengers can now fly to around 150 worldwide destinations via Amsterdam.

At Sumburgh, passenger numbers rose by 17.9%, boosted by increasing oil sector traffic, the launch of seasonal flights to Bergen in Norway, and strong growth on the Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow routes.

Passenger numbers were also up at Kirkwall, with growth on the Aberdeen and Edinburgh routes resulting in a 3.5% increase. At Wick, additional oil sector movements generated a 9% rise in numbers.

At Dundee, passenger numbers fell by 11.3% due to reduced capacity on the London City route, and a reduction in passengers on the Belfast and Birmingham routes.

The reduction at Dundee was offset slightly by the earlier start this year of the Jersey charter route. At Benbecula, passenger numbers were down marginally, by 0.6%.

Mr Inglis Lyon, managing director for HIAL, said: "The continuing success of our international services at Sumburgh and Inverness is good news for local business and leisure passengers, and the launch last month of a new code share agreement between flybe and KLM means that the Highland passengers now enjoys seamless global connections.

"A growing international network is also good news for the regional economy, creating new opportunities for businesses and tourism providers across our network.

"The domestic market is also continuing to perform strongly, with growing demand for flights to Scotland’s main cities and London Gatwick, which has become an increasingly attractive alternative to congested Heathrow."

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