Soaring traffic leads to £900,000 Inverness Airport expansion

Soaring traffic leads to £900,000 Inverness Airport expansion

Soaring international traffic has led to a £900,000 expansion of Inverness Airport as the Highland terminal gears up for what could be its busiest ever year.

As British Airways starts flying to London Heathrow and KLM to Amsterdam Schiphol, owner HIAL is set to expand and upgrade its terminal building.

Inverness Airport is the fastest growing of the 11 strong HIAL group with passenger numbers up by 8% during 2015.

With growth forecast to continue in 2016, airport managers say the investment will provide more space for passengers to shop, eat and relax.

The extension will provide seating capacity for an additional 150 passengers and four new retail and catering units, including a duty free store and coffee shop.

Graeme Bell, Inverness Airport general manager, said: “Inverness Airport has enjoyed a sustained period of growth during 2015 and our forecasts show that 2016 could well be our busiest year ever.

“This is a direct result of our success in securing new services such as Amsterdam and London Heathrow, and our efforts to grow existing hub routes such as London Gatwick and Manchester.

“We are delighted that Inverness Airport is continuing to grow but acutely aware that the terminal is already congested at peak times.

“This investment will help ensure that passengers have more space to relax in a much larger departure lounge offering new catering and shopping facilities.”

The new international arrivals hall is a response to rapid growth in international traffic at Inverness. Over the past five years, the airport has attracted new services to Amsterdam, Dublin, Geneva and Zurich, boosting the number of international passengers from 4,205 in 2010 to 37,450 in 2015, an eightfold increase.

Bell added: “International traffic has grown significantly at Inverness in recent years and the construction of a new dedicated international arrivals hall illustrates our ambition to expand our international route network further.

“We will work closely with our airline partners to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum during the redevelopment of the terminal.”

Kier Construction has been appointed to construct the new international arrivals hall and expand the existing departure lounge.