Record year for Highlands and Islands Airports

Record year for Highlands and Islands Airports

Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) has shrugged off challenges from the weak oil and gas sector to record its busiest year in its 30-year history.

Latest figures show that 1,451,793 travellers passed through the group’s 11 airports last year, an increase of 3.2% on 2014.

Inverness was the busiest – and fastest growing – airport with 678,683 passengers, an increase of 8% and up by more than 50,000 on the previous year.

The growth is expected to continue in 2016 as the airport gets set for one of its busiest ever years as British Airways and KLM launch new services to London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol in May.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL, said: “The last twelve months have been the busiest in HIAL’s 30 year history with record numbers of business and leisure passengers using our airports.

“This growth illustrates the enormous importance of our regional airports to Scotland’s economy. The diversity of our group is unrivalled anywhere in the UK.

“From Barra’s iconic beach landing, this year celebrating its 80th anniversary, to the busy city hub of Inverness and the economic driver that is Sumburgh, each of our airports ensures that businesses, tourism providers and communities are better connected.

“We will continue to invest in our airports, with major developments planned or underway at Inverness and Sumburgh this year, and continued efforts to improve our customer service and attract more business across the group.

“Notwithstanding the welcome arrival of British Airways and KLM at Inverness we have more work to do to attract new business and improve our financial outlook.”

The majority of its airports, including Dundee Airport and Islay, echoed the performance of Inverness ending the year on a high.

Sumburgh and Wick John O’Groats both recorded a slight fall in numbers however due to less demand for energy sector services to and from Aberdeen.

Numbers also fell at Campbeltown, Kirkwall and Stornoway.