The managing director of Aberdeen International Airport has said she is cautiously optimistic after the terminal saw the smallest drop in passenger numbers in many months.
The number of people travelling through the airport in November was 4.1% down on the same month last year at 237,893.
International and domestic traffic was down 6.8% and 1.6% respectively, with helicopter traffic down 8.5%.
Airport managing director Carol Benzie said: “Whilst we did experience a year-on-year decrease in passenger numbers in November as a result of the continued North Sea oil downturn, it was the smallest drop we’ve experienced in many months, which gives me cautious optimism that we may see numbers begin to improve in the New Year, particularly with the exciting new routes and services we are due to launch.
“Both airBaltic and Ryanair are due to return in 2017 with new flights to our passengers’ most requested destinations, and Loganair announced just last week that it will launch a link between Aberdeen and the stunning Faroe Islands next summer.”
Eleswhere, passenger numbers at Scotland’s major airports soared in November.
Edinburgh Airport revealed 860,966 passengers travelled through the hub last month, which they said was the busiest November for a Scottish Airport.
The growth of international passenger numbers has been credited for the success, with a near 20% increase compared to the same month last year.
Glasgow Airport chiefs reported their busiest November in 50 years with a 7.7% increase in travellers, with a total of 666,338 passengers.
International traffic was up 14.9% on last year, while domestic traffic rose 2.2% following strong demand for London services, including Tartan Army fans travelling to Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, welcomed the figures, but called for the abolition of air passenger duty (APD).
He said: “November’s passenger figures are worth celebrating. In what is traditionally one of the quiet months in aviation, we have witnessed a 20% increase in passengers on international flights.
“There can be no room for complacency and Edinburgh Airport supports calls to abolish long-haul air passenger duty.
“We warmly welcome the recognition that international connectivity is a key driver for Scotland’s economy.”
Amanda McMillan, managing director at Glasgow Airport, said: “November was yet another record-breaking month and it has put us on course to close out what has been an extraordinary year for Glasgow Airport by carrying more than nine million passengers for the first time in our history.”
Low-cost carrier airBaltic will operate three flights a week between Aberdeen and the Latvian capital Riga from May to September 2017.
Ryanair has announced that it will also return to Aberdeen in February with year-round twice-weekly flights to Alicante, Malaga and Faro, three of the most requested routes in a leisure survey carried out by the airport earlier this year.