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Highlands and Islands Airports sees rise in passenger totals

A Heathrow bound British Airways Aircraft at Inverness airport.
A Heathrow bound British Airways Aircraft at Inverness airport.

Holidaymakers and increasing North Sea oil activity helped total passenger numbers at Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) rise 3.4% to 140,312 in June, compared to the same month last year.

The biggest jump in travellers was at Tiree, with a 24% increase to 1,305 over the period, followed by another Hebridean terminal, Benbecula, with 15% more fliers at 3,299, Civil Aviation Authority monthly figures show.

The number of passengers using Shetland’s main airport, at Sumburgh, was up 10% to 21,872, which Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said reflected the ongoing growth of the offshore sector.

Inverness – the busiest of the 11 terminals operated by Scottish Government-owned Hial – saw a year-on-year increase of 2% to 76,097. Monthly numbers were down 14% to 835 at Campbeltown, 10% to 1,810 at Dundee and 4% to 1,606 at Wick.

Mr Lyon said: “Passenger figures across the Hial group are continuing to grow year on year, highlighting the customer demand for our air services and the continued support and connectivity they provide for communities throughout the region.

“The summer season is our busiest time and new routes to Bergen, plus additional rotations to Heathrow, Luton and Amsterdam, have had a significant impact on airport traffic at Inverness. Oil and gas sector growth also continues at Sumburgh, contributing to this rise in passenger numbers over the last 12 months.

“As we move into the second half of 2018 we will continue to invest in our airports to further improve services and continue to drive growth across the group.”

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