The number of passengers using Highlands and Islands Airports’ (Hial) terminals has soared to a new annual record, according to figures released by the Scottish Government-owned company today.
At 1,780,521, the total for the year to the end of March was up 7.4%, compared with the previous 12 months, despite the impact of February’s Beast from the East blizzards on UK air travel.
Nine of Hial’s 11 airports saw “robust” growth, with Sumburgh, in Shetland, the star performer, recording a 17.9% increase in passengers to 419,448, followed by Barra, in the Outer Hebrides, where numbers were up 9.3% at 14,810. At Inverness, the total rose 5.7% to 875,873.
Wick’s figures fell by 16.8% to 19,797 as the Caithness terminal continued to feel the effects of reduced demand from the energy sector for services to and from Aberdeen, while the number of people using Dundee Airport dropped 43.4% to 21,909 following the loss of its Amsterdam route.
Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said: “The past year has been another of significant growth in passenger figures across the Hial group. This highlights the customer demand for our air services and the continued support and connectivity they provide for communities.”
Passenger numbers would have been higher had it not been for February’s severe weather, he added.
Figures for Hial’s other airports show an annual increase at Kirkwall, in Orkney, of 9.1% to 195,982, while, in the Inner Hebrides, there were rises of 8.4% at Islay, and 8% at Tiree, taking their totals to 35,057 and 13,201 respectively.
Stornoway’s total was up 6.9% at 139,951 and Benbecula’s rose 4.6% to 35,360. Campbeltown saw growth of 3.7% to 9,133.